“But in the event that the user notices some other problem with the batteries, or the diagnostics show up during an inspection at a car service, in the vast majority of cases the high-voltage battery from a “pure” electric car or plug-in hybrid vehicle can be repaired and used again,” they explained representatives of the Renault Dabrowscy dealership in the Polish city of Zabrze.
You can see what such a workshop and battery look like in our photo gallery.
It is there that they are currently working to repair the high-voltage batteries that were installed in Renalt and Dacia electric cars during production. So, for example, from the electric version of the Kangoo model, from the Zoe, Mégane E-tech Electric cars or the plug-in hybrids of the older generation of Mégane and Captur cars, which are used by customers in a number of European countries. Specifically, these are the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Poland, as well as Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania. Dismantled batteries are brought to Zabrze from the last two mentioned countries, and complete cars from the others.
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They have been doing repairs here for a year, with 10 batteries repaired in 2020, 22 last year and 22 so far this year, I learned during my visit to this workplace.
Battery repair takes place in specialized air-conditioned rooms. “This is to exclude deviations of the monitored quantities during measurements during the individual repair phases,” they explained to us during a visit to this workplace.
The car battery will survive…
When repairing a battery, two specialized technicians must always be in the room, but only one works directly on the battery. The second one, which, like the first one, is equipped with protective equipment, checks it and is ready to intervene in case of any problem.
Most often, during repairs, one of the high-voltage battery modules is replaced (for example, in the Mégan e-Tech Electric, there are a total of eight in the version with a capacity of 40 kWh, in the one with a capacity of 60 kWh, then 12. But it is also possible that the technician has to repair a problem with the control electronics possibly part of the cabling.
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At the moment, given the relatively low frequency of problems with the batteries of current electric cars, this centralized method of repairs pays off for Renault. However, for customers, this means a rather long wait for a repaired car. Ideally, the electric car is returned to him after seven to ten days, but it can also be three weeks.
The repair does not reduce the warranty period of the battery in any way. This is limited to a period of 8 years and 160,000 kilometers for modern electric Renaults. During this entire time, the capacity of the initial state must not drop below 70 percent. Should this happen, the battery is repaired or replaced with a new one free of charge.
When the battery in the vehicle reaches its end of life, it has a second life cycle. They are used in electricity storage, for example even in those with a really large capacity “Advanced Battery Storage”. The installed capacity of this energy storage system is 4.9 MWh in Douai, France, and even 15 MWh in Flins. However, there are already other systems under construction that will reach a capacity of up to 60 MWh.
And after the final reduction of their capacity, recycling awaits under the space for this purpose as well. “To use, it must first be discharged and dismantled. Subsequently, the cathode active materials are immersed in an organic battery, then filtered and dried. The next step is ultrasonic crushing, and finally leaching. In this way, more than 96% cobalt and more than 98% lithium can be recovered ,” explain Renault group experts.