Renault is considering re-introducing battery swapping for electric cars, CEO Luca de Meo said.
Renault pioneered battery swapping with Israeli company Better Place in 2008 and sold the electric Fluence sedan with removable batteries.
However, the automaker pulled out after Better Place filed for bankruptcy in 2013.
“There is a potential upside by trying to find a safe reliable solution [to battery swapping],” De Meo told viewers of the Financial Times Future of the Car conference this week.
“It’s not decided but I see it as an interesting opportunity.”
De Meo said, however, that Renault is not investigating battery swapping as a way to boost range. Instead, it is looking at making the batteries removable to use in other applications.
“From a business point of view there is a [good reason] to separate the battery from the car, especially if you are handling the second and third life of the battery,” the CEO said. “We have done the math and asked engineers to find a solution to go back to the original idea that was pioneered by Renault.”
Alliance partner Nissan has trialed using second-life batteries from EVs in energy storage.
A three-megawatt storage system using the equivalent of 148 Leaf batteries, both new and used, is running at Amsterdam’s ArenA soccer stadium aimed at providing a more reliable and efficient energy supply and usage.
Renault has previously offered customers the ability to finance the cost of the battery separately from the car’s sticker price through battery leasing, with models such as the Zoe small electric car, although it has retreated from that strategy in recent years.