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Lacroix starts building bidirectional chargers for Renault

The Mobilize PowerBox is manufactured in four different versions: three function in the classic unidirectional way and one in a bidirectional way. Renault wants to introduce bidirectional charging on the vehicle side with its announced electric 5 Series. The initial production capacity for the Mobilize PowerBox will be 65,000 units per year. According to an accompanying press release, the aim is to introduce the charging station for all of the Renault Group’s electric vehicles.

According to Renault subsidiary Mobilize, the new AC charging solution suits all single-phase or three-phase electrical installations. It can be installed indoors and outdoors, on the wall or free-standing. It delivers up to 22 kW of power and features dynamic energy management.

Technology partner IoTecha Corp. and the “Software République,” an innovation ecosystem consisting of Orange, Renault, STMicroelectronics and Thales, were involved in developing the charger. Production at electronics specialist Lacroix can be “adapted or even duplicated to meet the growing expectations of the market,” according to the statement. This is in line with the Renault Group’s goal of strengthening the electronics sector in France.

The individual versions of the PowerBox are divided into Uno, Uno Plus, Uno Pro and Verso. The first is aimed at private individuals, the next at businesses or neighbourhoods looking for a charging solution for a closed group of people. The Uno Pro is a publicly accessible charging station that can be installed at employees’ homes and has a MID (Measurement Instruments Directive) meter for electricity billing.

Finally, the Verso version is the bidirectional charging solution capable of feeding electricity from the traction battery back into the domestic or the public grid. “Thanks to alternating current technology, Mobilize PowerBox VERSO allows as many people as possible to access the bidirectional charging of their vehicle, thereby helping maximize the impact of smart energy management. This two-way charging station will be available for the launch of the electric Renault 5,” Mobilize announces.

All versions benefit from automatic updates and remote diagnostics (FOTA, Firmware over the Air) via the Internet. They are supplied with a type 2 socket or, outside France, with a 6.5-metre cable. The Uno Pro and Verso versions also have a 4G connection.

As mentioned, the all-electric Renault 5 will be the first Renault vehicle with a bidirectional charger. The associated V2G service will be available from the launch of the Renault 5 in France and Germany in 2024 and in the UK in 2025. Other V2G-capable models will follow the 5 Series.

To accompany the market launch of the Renault 5, the Renault mobility brand plans to launch the Mobilize V2G service, including a smartphone app that can be used to programme bidirectional charging. Criteria such as a desired battery level and/or the time the vehicle will next be used can be recorded there.

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