The all-electric Renault 5 will be a giant power bank on wheels | Top Gear
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Thursday 28th September

The all-electric Renault 5 will be a giant power bank on wheels

New bi-directional charging capability will help with the vacuuming, too

Published: 13 Jun 2023

The new Renault 5 is arriving next year with a bi-directional on-board charger. Essentially, that’ll turn the 5 into one giant power bank.

It's the kind of practical vehicle-to-grid tech we've seen on Ford's F-150 and the Rivian R1T before now.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Bi-directional charging technology enables the flow of electricity to go both ways. That means you can draw energy from the grid to recharge the car’s battery. Or send it back. Or use it to run the vacuum cleaner when you tackle those dusty floor mats.

And by pulling juice down when it's cheap and sending it back when it's expensive, you can pocket the profit. At least, in theory.

Mobilize – Renault’s electric-tech focussed subsidiary – has built a whole ecosystem around the 5’s two-way charging feature. Firstly, there’s a fancy new socket, aligning with the usual 220V supply from any three-pin plug and away from the car's 12V legacy.

Then there’s the shiny new wallbox, the aptly named Mobilize Powerbox. That does everything a usual home charger does, and then some. Finally, an energy contract for your home completes the deal.

Advertisement - Page continues below

By enabling customers to sell their energy, Mobilize reckons it can save Renault 5 drivers on household bills. Based on an average supply, the brand thinks some drivers could slash their charging costs by as much as 50 per cent. 

The catch? While you can buy the Renault 5 without the fancy wallbox and/or different energy contract, you won’t be able to use the bi-directional charging facilities. You need all three elements in place to do so.

Mobilize has partnered with The Mobility House as an energy supplier and intends to provide carbon neutral power to charge your car. If you already have a bi-directional charger (you early adopter, you), it won’t be compatible with the 5. How annoying.

Top Gear

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

The Powerbox is likely to be included as part of the standard package when you buy the car. Drivers also get control of the feed back to the Grid via a smartphone app.

Eric Blanchard, chief of electric systems projects at Renault, dismissed any concerns about battery degradation due to repeated charging and discharging, and confirmed the feature would roll-out to the Megane E-Tech Electric and Scenic in due course.

More from Top Gear

See more on Renault

Promoted Content

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

Get your first 5 issues for £5