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France’s first smart island

This smart electric ecosystem is founded on three core activities: the sharing of electric vehicles, the stationary storage of solar energy and smart charging

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Belle-Île-en-Mer off the southern Brittany coast will have its own electric ecosystem
Belle-Île-en-Mer off the southern Brittany coast will have its own electric ecosystem

Groupe Renault, Morbihan Energie, Les Cars Bleus and Enedis have joined forces to create FlexMob’île, an innovative programme aimed at facilitating the energy transition on the French island of Belle-Île-en-Mer off the coast of southern Brittany.


This smart electric ecosystem is founded on three core activities: the sharing of electric vehicles, the stationary storage of solar energy and smart charging.


Smart islands programme


This initiative follows in the footsteps of the innovative Smart Fossil Free Island programme which has been operational since last February on the Portuguese island of Porto Santo in the Madeira archipelago.


For the next 24 months, Groupe Renault and its public and private partners will be developing a smart electric ecosystem that has been conceived to reduce the island’s carbon footprint and increase its energy independence.


“Our goal is the same as with Porto Santo,” said Gilles Normand, SVP, group electric vehicle division. “That is to say the implementation of global solutions that meet local needs using both tried-and-tested and more recent technologies. It will be possible to carry over the Belle-Île-en-Mer system not just to other islands but also to cities and suburban areas."

 

From 2019, Belle-Île-en-Mer residents and visitors to the island will have access to a fleet of electric cars by means of a self-service hire programme featuring Renault ZOE and Kangoo ZE. These vehicles will be powered thanks to a network of charging stations located close to the island’s main attractions.

“It will be possible to carry over the Belle-Île-en-Mer system not just to other islands but also to cities and suburban areas"

This new car-sharing service will take advantage of surplus energy produced by solar panels installed on the roofs of the island’s main public buildings. "The smart charging system will let us activate electric car charging whenever a building produces more energy than it actually needs," explained Normand.


For instance, solar panels on the school’s rooftop provide heat and lighting for classrooms during the week, while the energy produced at weekends or during school holidays will be used to charge the cars.


Boosting the local economy

 

By promoting the use of locally-produced renewable energy, FlexMob’île will offer the island’s economic stakeholders enhanced flexibility while at the same time promising substantial savings.

 

For example, Groupe Renault plans to provide second-life electric car batteries for the island’s largest holiday residences facility. These batteries will be used to store energy produced during the day by solar panels for use in the evening, chiefly to heat the bungalows. This should allow the centre to extend its season which until now has been restricted by central heating costs.

 

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