Renault 5 Electric will be truly affordable thanks to LFP batteries

Renault 5 Electric
Renault 5 Electric

It’s not the first time that Luca de Meo, current CEO of Renault, talked about the importance of cobalt-free LFP batteries to make electric cars truly affordable.

At the Renaulution conference, Luca de Meo already suggested that in the near future, electric cars from Renault will be available with two batteries chemistries (LFP and NCM). Now, in an interview to Automotive News Europe, he reaffirmed the importance of this battery chemistry to have profitable and affordable electric cars.

 

It’s very likely that in a year or two, many electric car models will be available with a cheap cobalt-free LFP battery as standard and with an optional more expensive NCM battery for more range.

 

Anyway, the much-awaited Renault 5 Electric will have 5 doors, a similar size to the ZOE and sold for less than 20.000 euros. Unfortunately, it’ll only arrive in 2024 to replace the Twingo Electric and the ZOE.

 

Now I’m curious, if Renault will sit on its hands and wait for 2024 to start taking advantage of LFP batteries, or if it’ll introduce this cobalt-free battery chemistry to its current electric cars soon.

 

I really think that the Renault ZOE should already be sold with a LFP battery as standard and with an optional more expensive NCM battery for more range. This way, Renault could drop ZOE’s starting price to below 20.000 euros and prevent the success of the imminent “invasion” of affordable Chinese electric cars in Europe.

While Xpeng and BYD are currently focused on building alternatives to Tesla electric cars, ORA is already producing the ES11 (Good Cat), which is a great B-segment electric car and a good alternative to the ZOE – or the future Renault 5 Electric. ORA expects to arrive in Europe during this year and the ES11 (Good Cat) is definitely very tempting…

 

 

What do you think Renault will do? Wait for the Renault 5 Electric to start using cobalt-free batteries, or introduce them to the ZOE already this year?

 

 

More info:

https://europe.autonews.com/automakers/renault-looks-cheaper-battery-tech-retro-ev

https://forococheselectricos.com/2021/02/el-renault-5-electric-tendra-un-precio-inferior-a-los-20-000-euros-gracias-al-uso-de-baterias-lfp.html

https://en.media.groupe.renault.com/news/the-renault-5-prototype-the-wink-is-in-the-headlines-2e13-989c5.html

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

32 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bob
7 months ago

Super exciting that Renault is embracing LFP to this extent and I’m not sure how I missed that point during their Renaulution thing. I would have to imagine that they won’t spent the effort to redesign the Zoe given that they appear to be killing off the platform when the 5 comes out, and the Zoe keeps selling well as is. But if they could get LFP pouch cells at competitive cost and energy density? Maybe then we’d see a lower cost 35 or 40 kWh version.

Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Absolute shame that A123 collapsed when it did – image where the LFP chemistry might be if they had been able to power through and keep innovating this whole time. It’s impossible to know without better specs on both, but the newest Guoxuan cell looks to be about the same format at the LGX E78? The LG cell is a decent amount heavier though, so I’m not particularly sure they’re a match. At a 1:1 swap the Zoe would be around 33.75 kWh gross on the Guoxuan cells; if the format is a bit off but energy density could be maintained at iso-mass you’d be looking at ~43.75 kWh gross. Which would obviously be fine, they sold plenty of 40kWh Zoe’s through the years.

Agem
7 months ago
Reply to  Bob

Love the R5 EV, shame its a 5 door………….i had a R% GT Turbo in the 1980’s….ROCKET SHIP 🙂

Lets hope the ALphine version is 3 door 🙂

Maximilian Holland
7 months ago
Reply to  Bob

A123’s technologies did not disappear – they were bought by Wanxiang

Bob
7 months ago

Oh for sure, but they certainly seemed like they took their foot off the gas on R&D. Also, selfishly being from the US, I wish A123 could have stayed a US company. Cue the sad trombones though, right?

Barry
7 months ago

LFP is better, for sure, if you can get a decent range for said car. Pedro, do you have any news about the LFP Model 3 BMS performance? I understand the voltage curve for LFP is very flat, making it difficult to predict range. Or is this dependent on the specific LFP chemistry? Seems odd that Tesla couldn’t find a way to make range prediction work, but it is just a rumor….

Pajda
7 months ago
Reply to  Barry

Thats actually good point. Tesla TM3 MIC with LFP cells from CATL even if it works properly does not have superb performance. Particularly in fast charging speed and cold temperature behavior. It seems that High Energy density LFP cells have the same problem as NCA/NMC cells 10 years ago. They are cheap but with limited performance. I think that other Chinese manufacturers also does not push LFP cells hard in the term of fast charging.

Freddy
7 months ago
Reply to  Pajda

They would be good in Portugal:
-We have mild weather;
-We almost only have 50kw chargers (except for Superchargers from Tesla) here…

😛 Now if only we had the German price (39,900 EUR there, while “rich” Portuguese pay 50.900 EUR!!)

Rok
7 months ago

At Renaulution event De Meo said car is coming out in 2023. Did they delay it for one year? I do not have access to the article.

Rok
7 months ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Thanks. I assume by then, LFP chemistry should have much higher density and at a pack level could already surpass today’s NCM811 cell density. I assume 55kWh battery, as current Zoe’s, the 5 should achieve 400+km WLTP with lower weight and smaller pack. Especially, if we take into consideration that some LFP cell producers should have 260Wh/kg technology out already this year.

nono538
7 months ago
Reply to  Rok

Start of Production scheduled in 03/2024. But I assume it will be very challenging to cope with it.

Bim
7 months ago

I like your optimism about a manufacturer actually selling a car for whats its worth. But im not as optimistic, i believe the old fosilmakers will continue to resist and keep prices inflated for as long as they can. The only thing would be if the Chinese cars come in or someone jumps the ship and starts undercutting prices. I do hope i am wrong tho as i am a long time EV driver and supporter.

Freddy
7 months ago
Reply to  Bim

I believe like the Tesla with the TM3 (and vw with ID3), the base model R5 will take long time to get to us at 20KEUR…. Hope I am mistaken… Saving up some Euros (and bitcoins just in case eheheh)

Last edited 7 months ago by Freddy
Marcel
7 months ago

This is exciting news. Yes hopefully Renault switches to the LFP batteries and releases the 5 Electric ahead of schedule.

It’s still amazing to me that legacy automakers are still behind this curve and don’t seem to see it coming. In Canada, we have a generally progressive and environmental news outlet called the National Observer, and they recently published an op-ed article by someone from an organization representing auto manufacturers, saying that if Canada wants to transition, we’ll need to look to Norway for examples of how to do incentives, etc.

I don’t think he mentioned the high emissions taxes on ICE vehicles that Norway has, and he got some other key facts wrong: that it wouldn’t be until 2030 until batteries broke the $100/kwh barrier, and that EVs needed to have a range equivalent to petrol cars. No mention of home charging or Tesla, for that matter, either. I suspect the legacy manufacturers are how fishing for extra big subsidies to get them through this transition, and still trying to make it sound like the transition is still a decade away.

Because LFP batteries have already broken that $100/kwh barrier, and Tesla’s nickle based 4680 cells might break that when they get their new factories going in 2022. I imagine that the Chinese and Korean manufacturers won’t be too far behind.

I think I’m going to write to the National Observer about that article, if I can find the time.

Maximilian Holland
7 months ago

Thanks for this update Pedro. I think all manufacturers should be offering an entry model with LFP. Diversity in battery chemistries (and the supply minerals) has many benefits.

Stephane Cnockaert
7 months ago

A low-cost Dacia Logan PHEV that’s basing on the Renault Clio CMF-B platform is more desirable than some overdesigned BEV. Look how Mercedes-Benz managed to industrialize the Mercedes Class A 250e and Mercedes Class B 250e. The trick #1 consists in shortening the exhaust system length. They call this a “Front-end exhaust system”. The trick #2 consists in installing under the rear seating a generous high-voltage battery pack able to deliver a generous sustained power. The trick #3 consists in installing the fuel tank between the rear wheels.
Actually, what Mercedes-Benz managed to industrialize in December 2020, is a kind of overengineered Renault Eolab prototype dating back from December 2014, reviewed by AutoMotoMagazine (easy to find on YouTube).
Let us now industrialize the Dacia Logan PHEV that’s basing on the Renault Clio CMF-B platform.
One possibility is to rely on the naturally aspirated Renault 3-cyl 1.0 liter 60 HP engine, coupled to the Renault E-Tech transmission featuring no clutch, 4 gears in petrol mode and 2 gears in electric mode.
Another possibility is to rely on the turbocharged Renault 3-cyl 1.0 liter 90 HP engine, coupled to the experimental Shaeffler DHST6/2 transmission featuring 1 clutch, 6 gears in petrol mode and 2 gears in electric mode. Such transmission appears to materialize into a VW Golf PHEV prototype shown in Berlin in December 2019, badged CONTI-VITESCO.
For keeping the mass as low as possible, a 12 kW high-voltage battery shall be mounted. It must consist in premium hi-power cells costing 160 euros per kWh. The PHEV extra-cost is thus 1,920 (premium hi-power cells) + 400 (cells enclosure with BMS) + 400 (cells temperature management) + 2,400 (E-Tech transmission replacing the 5-speed manual transmission) + 800 (power electronics and cabling) = 5,920 euros.
Given their 134 Wh per kg energy density, the bare hi-power cells mass is going to be 90 kg. The cells mecha protection and BMS (20 kg) and the cells temperature management (15 kg) determine a 125 kg PHEV battery pack mass. This is 25 kg less than the Mercedes Class A 250e battery pack that’s storing 15.6 kWh, that’s weighing 150 kg.
The Dacia Logan PHEV mass penalty (compared to the basic petrol version) is thus 125 kg (battery pack) + 25 kg (E-Tech transmission added mass) + 25 kg (power electronics, cabling, etc) = 175 kg.
The 12 VDC electric circuit being replaced by a 48 VDC electric circuit, the 48 VDC electric airco compressor added cost and mass gets more than compensated by the suppression of the 12 VDC alternator and 12 VDC petrol engine starter.
The 12 VDC battery gets replaced by a 20 Ah 48 VDC 960 Wh Li-ion battery capable of delivering a sustained 4.8 kW power, made of 14 high-power 20 Ah “type 4680” cells in series.
Such 48 VDC approach allows easily mounting better petrol engines as option, this time equipped with a turbocharger embedding a 48 VDC electric machine.
Such 48 VDC approach allows mounting a 48 VDC 1.2 kW electric heater in the cabin. The petrol engine gets started as soon as the user is asking for cabin heating. After 5 minutes (this is only 100 Wh), the 1.2 kW electric heating gets gradually replaced by the heat that’s produced by the petrol engine. This way, cabin heating (a vital feature) remains possible in case of a high-voltage battery failure.
The high-voltage electric machine that’s serving as petrol engine starter, must cope with a high-voltage battery failure having as consequence that the high-voltage rail gets downgraded to 48 VDC.
The high-voltage electric machine that’s serving as traction motor, must cope with a high-voltage battery failure having as consequence that the high-voltage rail gets downgraded to 48 VDC.
This way, despite a high-voltage battery failure, the car can slowly take-up on the 48 VDC electricity, slowly attain a 15 km/h speed, start its petrol engine, and engage the 1st petrol gear, then 2nd, then 3rd, and 4th. This way, the car can quasi-normal run on petrol, despite a high-voltage battery failure.
What about the selling price ? Say that a comfortably equipped Dacia Logan sells for 10,500 euros all tax inclusive. Consider a 5,920 euros + 21% tax = 7,165 euros all tax inclusive PHEV supplement.
A Dacia Logan PHEV equipped with the naturally aspirated petrol engine and Renault E-Tech transmission can thus sell for 17,665 euros all tax inclusive.
A much more dynamic Dacia Logan PHEV equipped with the naturally aspirated petrol engine and Shaeffler DHST6/2 transmission could sell for 2,325 euros more, meaning 19,990 euros all tax inclusive.
The 12 kWh battery that’s asked to only cycle 9 kWh will provide a 45 km range in pure electric mode. Such battery that’s capable of delivering 48 kW (sustained) and 60 kW (peak) will allow the car to correctly insert in modern traffic in electric mode, till 50 km/h thanks to its “short” 1st electric gear.
Governments may subsidize the people that are willing to prove that they are mostly driving such cars in electric mode, and mostly recharging electricity at home or at the office. A typical subside or tax rebate would be 370 euros per year. This way, after 8 years, the total subside represents 50% of the baseline PHEV supplement (ex-tax). Considering that 832,000 cars like this (400 cars per day, 5 days a week, during 8 years) could sell in 8 years in France or Brazil, the amount of subsidies France or Brazil need to distribute is 2.5 billion euro spread over 8 years. This is “only” 313 million euro per year. And there is no need anymore for paying millions for installing 250 kW “fast” chargers everywhere. Have a nice day.

Stephane Cnockaert
7 months ago

Please allow me to correct the following typos :
Actually, what Mercedes-Benz managed to industrialize in December  ̶2̶0̶2̶0̶ 2019 …
For keeping the mass as low as possible, a  ̶1̶2̶ ̶k̶W̶ 12 kWh high-voltage battery …

Marcos Henz
7 months ago

(Brazil) I certainly would consider buying such solution… No gas during my commutes, and freedom for longer trips. A hybrid like that would fill my needs until batteries are dirt cheap and chargers everywhere.

Last edited 7 months ago by Marcos Henz
nono538
7 months ago

Sooner or later, all Dacia models will be electrified, don’t worry. It’s just a matter of time, as EU7 regulations will not let any room for pure Combustion engine. Duster PHEV or at least 48V will come around 2024-2025.

Leo B
7 months ago

This is a very long post to say you want a plugin hybrid.

Now, as a PHEV-owner (Opel Ampera, the EU version of Chevy Volt) let me tell you my experience.
-I bought the car because it was the most electric car I could afford, not because I wanted a PHEV. So on affordability we agree, EV-prices should come down as soon as possible.
-After some years of use, every time the internal combustion engine springs to life, I’m filled with a deep sense of disappointment.
-I will replace the PHEV for a BEV in the near future for both environmental and practical reasons. Let’s focus on the latter.
-My apartment building has 11kW-chargers. With a mainstream BEV (Model 3/e-Niro/ID3/Zoe) I would need to charge once every 4 days or so (overnight when I’m asleep). That is so much more convenient than charging twice a day.
-On the occasional long trip you do not charge a PHEV during stops, because it doesn’t have fast charging and the added range would be minimal. So long trips are especially ‘harmful’ with a PHEV, because of low electric mileage.

So in conclusion, the drag of a few extra minutes lost on long trips do not weigh up against the convenience of far less charging instances during daily use and the option to use fast chargers. Long trips will be zero emission (from the car) as well. Plus no more oil changes, plug changes, distribution belt changes, etc.

The main thing is not the car, but the infrastructure. Once 7, 11 or 22 kW AC chargers are commonplace in the public area (especially residential), all daily commutes can be charged easily. You only need fast chargers for long trips, or very occasional convenience. When this infrastructure is in place, short-range BEV’s with smaller batteries (and thus more affordable) become a practical solution for most people. To me it seems the most efficient government policy would be “a charger for every parking space”.

Paul Kageler
7 months ago

The BYD Hans with the LFP Blade battery keeps moving up the sales charts in China and is a premium EV with good range, great acceleration, and a very reasonable cost for the size & performance. Not sure if the chemistry is LFP or has manganese (LMFP). Will likely be sold into Australia – New Zealand and maybe Europe later in 2021. Lots of real world experience globally with Blade LFP battery in buses including the longer range model. BYD buses are sold into all regions including cold climates. A question I have is does any one have knowledge about the lithium metal polymer (LMP) battery used in the very cheap Wuling Hongguang Mini made by SAIC-GM Wuling? Top seller in China now based on numbers sold. I found some literature stating a 100wh/kg energy density and the French company Blue-Solution (a subsidiary of Bollore) sales it but no information from China. The Chinese LMP battery must be low cost to replace LFP.

Leo B
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul Kageler

The Wuling is equipped with low-cost LFP batteries from several Chinese suppliers.

Bollore/BlueSolutions makes a LFP battery with solid polymer electrolyte since about 2010. It was used in the Bollore Bluecar car-sharing program in Paris, early 2010’s. Nowadays the battery is used by Bollore’s Bluebus and also Mercedes-Benz offers it in some of its buses. The battery is also offered for grid storage solutions.

Rodri
7 months ago

It is wise to have more than one battery provider, so I think, before 2024, in the next (and last) Zoe refresh there is a good chance to add a new LFP battery. The Ora competition is most welcomed. Pedro do you know if the battery problems LG is having with the Kona and Bolt affect the Zoe? Thanks.

Stefan
6 months ago

Regardless of your wishes, we don’t know their capacity at Flins, they retooled in 2019 to double capacity, and we don’t know the demand for Zoe. If demand is covered for the model’s remaining years, they might choose to not invest more for an LFP line because that would create unsatisfiable demand.

What I’m really concerned, having gone here in Finland through 2 months of -20 C with Zoe 50, is how LFP works in the cold. It was difficult enough to manage as is, and the only thing I heard about LFP and cold is that Tesla 3 MIC SOC and charge retention is completely haywire in the cold. And modern day “journalism” doesn’t really investigate useful stuff like this, so I don’t know if it was anti Tesla FUD or a real concern of non-cobalt batteries in the cold. Do you have any insight in this regard?

Last edited 6 months ago by Stefan
Alex T.
5 months ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Just a quick update to the LFP Model 3 MIC SR+: The Update to 2021.4.10 in late february solved the problems with the battery management system and the wrong displayed range.
The MIC SR+ works now as designed and I’m really happy with it. Supercharger speed peak is 166kW and is over 100kW till 52%: 0-50% in 12 minutes, 0-80% in 25 minutes – it actually charges faster now compared to the MIUS SR+ 2021. 🙂