FRESH THINK­ING: Car bat­ter­ies in your kitchen Old packs from elec­tric cars get a new lease of life

CAR (UK) - - Tech -

A wash­ing ma­chine in

CAR? Next to it is some­thing called a Pow­er­vault, which is a bat­tery pack from a Zoe or other Re­nault EV. Once it’s in­ished its use­ful life in the high-stress en­vi­ron­ment of a car (gen­er­ally 8­10 years), it can still hold a use­ful amount of charge in do­mes­tic (or in­dus­trial) us­age for a fur­ther 10 years. What’s the use of hav­ing a bat­tery squat­ting in­doors? It makes sense if you have so­lar pan­els on your roof. Elec­tric­ity from the sun can get stored and then used when needed. Also, de­pend­ing on the deal you have with your util­ity provider, it can be set up to au­to­mat­i­cally ill up with cheap o†-peak elec­tric­ity from the grid, to be used later in­stead of full-price power. Who’s be­hind it? Re­nault – maker of one in four elec­tric ve­hi­cles sold in Europe – is work­ing with Pow­er­vault, whose mis­sion is to help homeowners take more con­trol over their elec­tric­ity us­age and ex­pen­di­ture.

How? It’s cur­rently at the trial stage, with 50 old Re­nault bat­ter­ies be­ing it­ted in the homes of M&S En­ergy cus­tomers who have suit­able so­lar pan­els. De­pend­ing on how the cur­rent 12-month trial goes, it could lead to the scheme go­ing main­stream.

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