Renault has launched an affordable electric car, ZOE, at the Geneva Motor Show. It will go on sale in the UK – and other European markets – later this year.
ZOE features six world firsts and 60 patents in its ground breaking technology.
Designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, ZOE packs the industry’s most advanced technology, including no fewer than six ‘world premiere’ features designed to deliver user-friendliness, range and connectivity.
No decision has been made as to whether ZOE will be launched in New Zealand as any infra structure for electric vehicles is only in its infancy.
ZOE comes in the wake of the status-enhancing Fluence Z.E. saloon, Kangoo Van Z.E. (both launched in 2011) and the innovative urban runabout Twizy to make Zero Emission mobility a reality for ordinary motorists – one of the pledges of Renault’s ‘Drive the Change’ signature.
Through its ‘Renault 2016 – Drive the Change’ plan, and thanks to its growing range of electric vehicles, along with work on its internal combustion engines, Renault has made a commitment to reduce its global carbon footprint by 10 per cent by 2013, and by a further 10 per cent between 2013 and 2016. The fruit of this strategy can now be seen on the street.
Renault’s new design strategy is now visible with ZOE’s new front-end styling signature.
“ZOE will be the spearhead of the Renault Z.E. range and the version on show at Geneva represents the model’s final design. In addition to its compact size, attractive styling and affordable price tag, it showcases Renault’s technological excellence when it comes to electric vehicles. ZOE also heralds the beginning of a new era of electric mobility for all and confirms our commitment to electric vehicles. It marks an important step for Renault which has a 110-year history of making major innovations a concrete reality for ordinary motorists.” Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Renault
Zoe will be the first mass-market electric vehicle with a range of more than 200 kms. It is equipped as standard with ‘Range OptimiZEr, a system designed to improve real-world range under all driving conditions. For example, in suburban use the owner will achieve between 100 and 150 kms.
Zoe is the first electric vehicle capable of being charged at any level of power from 3 kWs to 43 kWs – in between 30 minutes and nine hours – thanks to the Chameleon charger.
It is the first electric vehicle to enable the massive roll-out of fast-charging stations, which are easier and up to four times cheaper for local governments and it is the first Renault vehicle to be presented with Renault R-Link, a multimedia system featuring a seven-inch touch screen tablet, navigation and connected services.
Zoe’s price is comparable to that of a diesel-engined city car in markets where tax incentives are available, as low as UK13,650 sterling with tax incentives. Even in countries where tax incentives are not currently available, prices for ZOE are still attractive. In Switzerland, ZOE’s catalogue price is 22,800 Swiss francs with no Government support for electric or hybrid vehicles.
In the UK, monthly battery hire costs from $NZ140 (14,500 kms/36 month contract), inclusive of comprehensive breakdown assistance (which covers flat batteries).
More than 60 patents have been filed for ZOE’s design. Range, interactivity and occupant wellbeing are at the core of its innovations.
In terms of autonomy, Renault has developed the ‘Range OptimiZEr’, which combines three major innovations (new-generation regenerative braking, a heat pump and MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyres).
New-generation regenerative braking recovers practically all of the energy otherwise wasted during braking, without any significant impact on ZOE’s on-road dynamics. The car offers a smooth drive with no jarring electric motor braking. The system works in two ways:
- The kinetic energy produced under deceleration and braking is recovered by the motor so that it can be converted into electricity to charge the battery. This feature is also fitted to Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Z.E.
- When the driver presses the brake pedal, the system intelligently distributes the braking effort between applying the brake pads and the electric motor brake with a view to maximising the use of the electric motor brake and charging of the battery.
The heat pump provides excellent thermal comfort without detracting from the vehicle’s range. This system, which operates in the same way as reverse-cycle air-conditioning, consumes very little electricity. It produces warm or cool air by simply reversing the cycle of operation. The heat pump generates approximately 2kW of cooling or 3kW of heat with just 1kW of electricity. The cabin temperature is also more constant since it is not affected by the heat given off by the motor.
The MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyre is a Michelin innovation co-developed with Renault as a world premiere for ZOE. The tyre features enhanced energy efficiency to maximise vehicle range. Its rubber compound, tread design and sidewalls have been engineered to withstand ZOE’s high torque and address the specific demands of electric vehicles, yet it still delivers the same safety and handling performance as all other Michelin tyres. Available in 15- and 16-inch versions, this tyre is fitted to all ZOE models as core equipment.
ZOE is the only electric vehicle to feature the Chameleon charger. Patented by Renault, this charger is compatible with all power levels up to 43kW. Charging batteries at a charging station can take between 30 minutes and nine hours. For example, ZOE can be charged in an hour at 22kW. This intermediate power level extends battery life and puts less pressure on the power grid than the fast-charging of batteries at 43kW.
The Chameleon charger allows fast-charging at charging stations at quarter of the cost.
ZOE is the first Renault vehicle to feature R-Link, Renault’s brand-new integrated, connected multimedia system. To enable drivers to control its functions without taking their eyes off the road, R-Link features a large seven-inch display, steering wheel-mounted controls and voice recognition. It also delivers integrated connectivity with motoring services and applications available from the R-Link Store. When released, R-Link Store will offer more than 50 applications adapted for life on the move thanks to an active partnership with application developers. These apps will be downloadable directly inside the car or via owners’ My Renault account.
R-Link also includes a host of new functions dedicated to electric driving and range management: tracking of energy consumption, display of energy flows and pre-programming of battery charging. The navigation system offers bespoke services such as a display of the vehicle’s operating radius based on the range remaining in the battery, suggestions for the most energy-efficient itineraries and the location of nearby battery charging stations (depending on country), as well as their real-time availability. R-Link also lets drivers view their eco-driving performance and improve their technique with ‘eco-scoring’ and tips (general and personalised).
Driving ZOE is a unique experience which gives new meaning to the term ‘driving pleasure’. The synchronous electric motor with rotor coil has a power output of 65kW and instantly delivers maximum torque of 220Nm. Acceleration and pull-away are responsive from low speeds. Driving is more relaxing thanks to the silent ride and smooth, gearshift-free acceleration.
For stress-free driving in built-up areas, ZOE is fitted with ‘Z.E. Voice’, an alarm which warns pedestrians that the vehicle is approaching. ‘Z.E. Voice’ can be heard from 1 to 18 mph and was the subject of special design work to create a bespoke sound identity for ZOE. The driver can choose between three different sounds, while it is possible to turn off the warning system by simply pressing a button.
Programmable pre-conditioning heats or cools ZOE’s cabin when the vehicle is charging. There are two benefits for the system. Firstly, when the driver gets into the car the cabin is just the right temperature and secondly, it removes the need to use up battery charge.
An activated charcoal cabin air filter traps most bad smells and pollutants. It also filters substances just a few microns in size, such as pollen and soot.
Like all electric vehicles, ZOE emits no CO2, NOx, CO or fine particles. It also signals the loss of unpleasant smells and ‘engine’ noise during road use. Well-to-wheel CO2 emissions depend on the energy-generation mix of each country. Emissions total 62 g/km of CO2 in Europe, versus 89 g/km for the new Toyota Prius. They are even lower in France at just 12 g/km of CO2.
ZOE complies with the very latest criteria required to qualify for the Renault eco² signature. It is manufactured at Renault’s ISO 14001-certified factory at Flins, France.
As required by Renault’s eco-friendly hallmark, its CO2 emissions are less than 120g/km. ZOE is 85 per cent recyclable, while nine per cent of the plastic it contains is sourced from recycling.
Length (mm) 4,084
Overall width (mm) 1,730
Height (unladen) (mm) 1,568
Wheelbase (mm) 2,588
Boot capacity (litres) 338
Number of seats 5
Front / rear overhang (mm) 836 / 661
Front / rear track (mm) 1,506 / 1,489
Type – Synchronous with rotor coil
Power 65 kWs
Maximum torque 220 Nm
Transmission – Reducer gear
Type – Lithium-ion
Capacity 22 kWs
Range (NEDC) 200 kms
Top speed 135 km/h
Type – Single or three phase supply up to 43kW
Charge time – 3kW (16A single phase wall box) = 9 hours
22kW (32A three-phase charging station) = 1 hour
43kW (63A three-phase charging station) = 30 minutes