A French start-up has unveiled a novel use for second-life lithium-ion batteries from a Renault car— converting an ICE van into a full electric vehicle.
Carwatt’s prototype was showcased in Paris as an example of ways to use batteries from EV cars, although the firm told BEST it is more likely to use old battery packs for energy storage systems than vehicles.
The company, founded this year, develops on-board and stationary applications for second-life EV batteries.
Working with Renault and partners the Paris City Council, BPI France, the Ales Exole des Mines Engineering School and the Bobigny Business Campus, Carwatt is exploring new applications for second-life lithium batteries.
While batteries with 75% remaining of their initial capacity would not be suitable for new EVs, they could be installed in used vehicles, Renault’s Maya Vautier told BEST, and could still have potential in other applications like power storage.
Renault is the latest original equipment manufacturer to explore the second life market for lithium-ion batteries reaching the end of their life in cars.
So far this year OEMs General Motors, Daimler, Nissan and Tesla have all unveiled various applications for second-use EV batteries, such as residential ESSs to power homes.
The need for a secondary use for EV battery packs is a fast-growing priority with the global market for automotive lithium-ion batteries set to almost quadruple by 2024 to $30.6 billion, if a forecast by Navigant Research is to be believed.