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Groupe Renault and EEM Create the First ‘Smart Island' Ecosystem Off the Coast of Portugal

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【Summary】Groupe Renault, the world's largest automaker and parent company of Nissan, along with utility company EEM Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, SA, which produces, transports and distributes electricity on the two inhabited Portuguese islands of Madeira archipelago (Madeira and Porto Santo), today announced the launch of a smart electric ecosystem on the island of Porto Santo.

Eric Walz    Feb 21, 2018 4:19 PM PT
Groupe Renault and EEM Create the First ‘Smart Island' Ecosystem Off the Coast of Portugal
author: Eric Walz   

Groupe Renault, the world's largest automaker and parent company of Nissan Motor Company, and utility company EEM Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, SA, which produces, transports and distributes electricity on the two inhabited Portuguese islands of Madeira archipelago (Madeira and Porto Santo), today announced the launch of a smart electric ecosystem on the island of Porto Santo.

The government of the Autonomous Region of Madeira will roll out an innovative program in Porto Santo, known as Sustainable Porto Santo - Smart Fossil Free Island, to facilitate the energy transition. EEM, which is in charge of the program's energy and electric mobility, has chosen Groupe Renault as its partner for electric mobility solutions. The island is already home to numerous solar and wind farms.

This world-first smart island will use electric vehicles, second-life batteries, smart charging and V2G (vehicle to grid) communication to boost the island's energy independence and stimulate the production of renewable energy. Groupe Renault, EEM and their partners have been working since the beginning of the year on this project, which is expected to last 18 months.

A Second-Life for EV Batteries

As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to enter the market in increasing numbers, their batteries can be utilized for other purposes when not powering the vehicle. The batteries used in EVs typically last about 8-10 years when used for propulsion, yet these batteries still have significant capacity remaining for alternative uses.

Finding secondary uses for the EV batteries reduces their up-front cost and provides benefits to consumers and utilities, such as demand charge management, renewable energy integration and regulation energy management.

This project is an illustration of how Renault is working in private and public sector partnerships to help create sustainable mobility solutions in line with Renault's strategy to become a major player in the world of electric vehicle ecosystems and a supplier of smart mobility solutions for the cities of tomorrow.

"We are delighted to be teaming up with EEM and Madeira Regional Government today to establish this unprecedented smart electric ecosystem which demonstrates to what extent the electric revolution is changing our everyday lives beyond just transport. Our aim is to build a model that can be carried over to other islands, eco-districts and cities, while consistently striving to achieve large-scale rollout of electric mobility solutions that are affordable for all," said Eric Feunteun, Electric Vehicles and New Business Programme Director.

For the design of this ecosystem, Groupe Renault's input will focus on both its electric vehicles, which are a benchmark in Europe, and proven technological solutions.

The project comprises three complementary phases. For the first phase, 20 volunteers in Porto Santo will drive 14 Renault ZOEs and 6 Kangoo Z.E. electric vans around for their everyday use. These vehicles will be able to benefit from smart charging from 40 connected public and private EV charging locations set up by EEM and Renault on the island.

By the end of 2018, the test fleet will step up their interaction with the grid by providing it with electricity during peak hours. In addition to being smart charged, the electric vehicles will also serve as temporary energy storage units.

For the third phase, second-life batteries from Renault electric vehicles will be used to store the fluctuating supply of energy produced by Porto Santo's numerous solar and wind farms. The electricity is stored as soon as it is produced and this energy is recovered by the grid when needed to meet local demand. Some of these batteries come from Madeira Island. For the first time, Groupe Renault demonstrates real life repurposing of second-life EV batteries in a local ecosystem.

Close Collaboration with Industry Partners

Groupe Renault is extending beyond its role as a vehicle manufacturer to become a player in the smart electric and energy ecosystems, with the help of its industry partners. For the Porto Santo project, Groupe Renault has joined up with players from the energy sector including Bouygues Energies & Services, The Mobility House and ABB.

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About the Smart Electric Ecosystem

Smart charging adjusts battery charging rates based on users' needs and the availability of electricity via the grid. Batteries are charged when supply exceeds demand, notably during renewable energy production peaks. Charging ceases when demand for electricity outstrips supply by the grid, thereby optimizing the supply of local renewable energy.

In the case of V2G charging, electric vehicles provide electricity to the grid during peak hours. In this way, not only do they benefit from the advantages of smart charging, but they will also serve as a means to store energy temporarily, similar to the concept of the Tesla Powerwall.

Once the EV batteries are no longer a viable power source for electric vehicles, these batteries are still capable of storing a significant amount of energy. Renault is able to harness this energy in less demanding environments, notably for the purposes of stationary energy storage. By giving batteries a second lease of life, Renault is today able to cover the full spectrum of energy storage needs, from individual homes to office buildings, to the charging of electric vehicles.


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