Renault Zoe 2012.automotiveIT

The Zoe will be launched in late 2012. It joins  Renault’s other EV’s, the Kangoo Z.E., Fluence Z.E. and Twizy (Photo: Renault)

Renault will join forces with Qualcomm in a London trial of the US company's wireless electric vehicle charging technology.

The two companies said the purpose of the trial will be to see whether Qualcomm's Halo technology is commercially viable and can be used in electric vehicles built by Renault and other carmakers.

The French automotive group is rolling out a growing range of EVs and last month repeated that it wants to build up expertise in the entire EV value chain ”“ from technical architecture to motors and batteries.

Anthony Thomson, Qualcomm's vice president of business development and marketing, said the cooperation between the US mobile technology and Renault gives a boost to its efforts to promote wireless charging for the industry.

"Renault’s participation in the WEVC London trial aligns with Qualcomm’s drive to make charging of electric vehicles simple and effortless," he said in a press release.

Renault said the trial complements its own efforts to find out whether inductive charging provides the requisite level of performance and safety.

Jacques Hebrard, a Renault vice president, warned that the new technology will need a coordinated approach. "The deployment of wireless inductive charging requires inter-operability between cars and ground systems within common European and, hopefully, worldwide standards,” he said.

A new European battery plant

Separately, Renault last month announced a new phase in its cooperation with battery maker LG Chem and France's Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) to develop next-generation batteries.

The carmaker said under a new agreement set to be finalized early next year, LG Chem will lead the construction of a new European battery plant in France. The plant wouldstart making current-generation batteries from 2015 and new batteries from early 2017.

Under a 2010 agreement, Renault and the CEA are developing new technologies for lithium-ion batteries. The involvement of LG Chem aims to use the large Korean chemicals group's battery expertise for the development of next-generation batteries. Renault said that "in view of today's economic situation," it was keen to have a blue-chip partner able to invest in a European battery factor.

A decision on the exact location of the new plant hasn't been made yet, Renault said. The facility must  be able to expand to produce electrodes at a later date. The site also needs to serve all European markets and should, thus, be in a location with good transport connections.

Renault and its Japanese alliance partner Nissan plan to invest €4 billion in electric vehicles before 2015. They want to sell 1,500,000 EVs globally before 2016.