Renault announced that it is acquiring a 25% stake in a Dutch start-up and EV charging specialists Jedlix. Having been partners since 2015, the acquisition will strengthen collaborative efforts between the two firms, including the launch of a smart charging app for mobile devices.

The Z.E Smart Charge App will launch in the Netherlands towards the end of the year, before being rolled out to other European countries in 2018. Users of the app indicate what charge level they need, and what time they’ll be using their EV.

The app manages the charge in a “smart charging mode” that seeks to source electricity when supply exceeds demand – to lower costs – and during periods where surplus renewable energy is entering the grid.

Renault’s senior vice president of EVs Gilles Normand said: “A pioneer in the electric vehicle market, Renault has confirmed its leadership position by developing innovative partnerships. With Jedlix, we will provide new services to make charging – and thus the use of electric vehicles – even more easy and affordable.”

Smart service

Jedlix already offers a similar service for Tesla users, including an option for home charging, but the acquisition by Renault will see the start-up deliver a tailored app for Renault ZOE users.

Users of the app will be rewarded if they are flexible with charging. Every month, users receive financial rewards based on app usage which could be the equivalent of a complete charge.

Jedlix, originally launched by the Eneco Group, has partnered with Renault, BMW and Tesla and has tailored the app for both home charging and public infrastructure use.

“Our partnership with Groupe Renault will help us to create the best possible smart charging service and to offer its benefits to a large and diverse customer base throughout Europe,” Jedlix’s managing director Ruben Benders said.

Last week, Renault launched its Drive the Future strategy, which outlined how the manufacturer would tap into the EV and autonomous driving (AD) markets to help deliver annual revenues of more than €70bn by 2022.

Renault is also venturing into the energy storage market, after partnering with energy equipment suppliers Powervault and retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S).

Matt Mace

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