To achieve this, we are creating the first Re-Factory in Flins. Having designed models that have marked our history, the factory takes another turn to become a site entirely dedicated to the circular economy. A first in Europe. With the Re-Factory, we want to reinvent ourselves to develop accessible, sustainable, carbon-free mobility solutions for everyone. Ready to follow us in this never-ending adventure?
The Re-Factory is Europe's first circular economy factory dedicated to mobility. An industrial and commercial ecosystem created by Groupe Renault, open to start-ups and partnerships. Its objective is to encourage initiatives, develop innovation in the service of the circular economy, and to aim for a negative carbon balance by 2030, in line with our European ambition of zero impact by 2050. A sustainable and responsible reconversion, both environmentally and socially, which will build on the many assets of the site and our collaborators.
This transformation plan will be deployed gradually between 2021 and 2024. The site will be organised around 4 activity centres, each with its own field of expertise: Re-Trofit, Re-Energy, Re-Cycle and Re-Start.
It's a fact. The second-hand market is booming, driven by the awakening of an ecological awareness and new modes of consumption, which favour use over possession. To further pursue this path, we wish to bring together the areas of expertise required to extend the lifespan of vehicles and their uses. Our challenge: to succeed in preserving resources through efficient management of the flow of reuse of parts and materials on the same site.
Another observation: environmental regulations are becoming stricter in cities. Re-Trofit wishes to capitalise on the Group's industrial structure and expertise to develop an attractive offer for the conversion of combustion motor vehicles to other, less carbon-intensive energies. This approach is aimed primarily at professional customers, including commercial vehicles.
The division would like to extend its services to vehicle fleets and shared mobility players, such as the ZITY electric car-sharing service.
To support these solutions, we will set up a test and prototyping centre to enrich the design of future products and facilitate the improvement of vehicles during their life cycle.
Thanks to 3D printers already present on the site, the centre will also offer an additive manufacturing service for parts that have become unavailable, for example, for garages, private individuals or collectors of vintage cars.
At the heart of the transformation of the automotive industry are electric vehicle batteries. And above all, the challenge of their life cycle, which is crucial for the environment. Hence the ambition of this cluster to strengthen the collection of batteries, to prepare them for their second life, and to develop portable or mobile storage systems. Not forgetting to develop maintenance and recharging services dedicated to new energies.
The Flins factory is a reference in this field. It is there that, from 2011, industrial techniques for repairing electric vehicle batteries were created, before being distributed in 17 countries.
At the end of its first life in the vehicle and well before recycling, the battery provides an indispensable solution for renewable and intermittent energies: electricity storage.
New operating opportunities such as stationary storage make it possible to perpetuate this service. In this case, the battery makes it possible to integrate electricity from solar or wind power, on the scale of a house, a building, or even an industrial site. Several of the Group's experiments illustrate this approach:
In Porto Santo, stationary storage is ensured thanks to second-life Renault ZOE batteries, thus reducing the island's dependence on fossil fuels, while promoting renewable energies;
Two very large-scale energy storage projects (Advanced Battery Storage in France and Germany, and SmartHubs in the UK) have been initiated to reduce the gap between electricity consumption and production, and increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix;
Reconditioned batteries have begun a second life on board cruise ships on the Seine in Paris (electrification of the Paris Yacht Marina fleet) and soon on board sailing cargo ships for transoceanic journeys (Neoline project).
Batteries at the end of their life are systematically recycled. With the support of our subsidiary Indra, since 2013 we have developed a long-standing partnership with Veolia for the recycling of batteries, from which metals are recovered after dismantling. To accelerate the development of this sector, we have encouraged Veolia to forge closer ties with Solvay. A fruitful collaboration, as they have set up a circular economy consortium. Its objective: to mobilise the best mechanical and chemical technologies and skills, and to transform metals into high-purity raw materials that can be used directly in the production of new batteries.
Good news. In line with regulations, the automotive industry in Europe has high rates of recycling and recovery of End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs), as well as a high proportion of recycled materials in its new products, compared to other sectors. But we can always do better, can't we? The Group already incorporates an average of 30% recycled materials in its vehicles produced in Europe, and we want to go further. We want to continue to increase the recycled materials integrated into the production of new vehicles, while reducing procurement costs and the impact on resources.
The transformation of the site includes the installation of a dismantling line starting 2024, to capture additional volumes and increase our capacity to source parts and materials in short loops. The ambition? To be one of the leading dismantling sites in France, and to develop expertise in the dismantling of electric vehicles, with an average of 10,000 vehicles per year.
We rely on an ecosystem of subsidiaries and partners around recycling and recovery, which we intend to strengthen. Some examples? Our subsidiary Gaïa, already established in Flins, whose mission is to qualify and recover vehicles, parts and materials via recycling, repair and reuse channels. Or the transfer of the activity of the Choisy-le-Roi plant, which has been dedicated to remanufacturing for 70 years.
The ambition of this centre focuses on enhancing and developing skills, while accelerating research and innovation in the circular economy. Thus, Re-Start will host an incubator for start-ups and partners, as well as a university and training centre, to reinforce the specialisation of the professions present within the Re-Factory. The project will also study inclusion, to promote access to employment.
Re-Factory Flins will integrate an incubator open to its employees and external partners (start-ups, academic partners, large groups, local authorities...) to develop or co-develop innovative projects. It will include a space for "in vivo" experimentation on industrial installations, in collaboration with experts from different fields (vehicle architecture, materials, electric vehicles, energy, recycling, lean manufacturing...). It will also house the Advanced Manufacturing centre of excellence for vehicle prototyping and experimentation, focusing on Industry 4.0 topics such as 3D printing or predictive maintenance.
In order to support employees in this transformation plan, the project plans to develop knowledge and skills in three areas:
Created in 2010 in Flins, this international vocational training centre has until now specialised in industrial techniques. It will be entrusted with the development of new modules to meet training needs within the Re-Factory, the Group and outside the company.
On the scale of the automobile sector and industry, Re-Factory also intends to contribute to the creation of academic training, such as the creation of a Certificate of Trades and Qualifications (CTQ). In order to share know-how more widely and design training courses that meet the needs of the industry of the future.
In the field of applied research, partnerships will be set up with consortia of schools and universities to boost innovation in the circular economy. By promoting concrete experimentation and direct immersion in an industrial field, the Group wishes to encourage research in the scientific field and in the human and social sciences.
Since its beginnings,
Groupe Renault is committed to making cars that last a long time.