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Renault ZOE

Renault ZOE is the only electric vehicle to feature the Chameleon charger

The all-electric Renault ZOE had its first public appearance at the Geneva Motor Show, and it will be priced at only £13,650 after the UK Plug-in Car Grant deduction. It will go on sale this autumn.

The ZOE has six key features:

The first mass-market electric vehicle with a
price from just £13,650.

The first mass-market electric vehicle with a
range of more than 130 miles (NEDC).

The first vehicle to be 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 62 and 93 miles.

The first electric vehicle capable of being
charged at any level of power – in between 30 minutes and nine hours – thanks to the Chameleon charger .

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.

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.

Tax incentives for Plug-in Cars

Renault’s idea is that the ZOE will cost the same as a comparable diesel-engined city car in markets where tax incentives are available. For example:

In the UK (Government
Plug-in Car Grant subsidy is available for up to 25% of the car’s purchase price up to a maximum of £5,000), prices for ZOE after the grant deduction will start from just £13,650

? In France, tax-paid prices start from €15,750 (with tax incentive of €5,000 deducted)

Even in countries where tax incentives are not currently available, prices for ZOE are still particularly attractive . In Switzerland, for example, the ZOE’s catalogue price is CHF 22,800, which is equivalent to approximately £15,750 at current exchange rates.

In the UK, monthly battery hire costs from £70 (9,000 miles/36 month contract), inclusive of comprehensive breakdown assistance (which covers flat batteries).

Customers can now pre-order the ZOE in 11 countries at Customers who reserve ZOE will be offered a test drive and will be contacted on a priority basis as soon as the car goes on sale later in 2012.

More than 60 patents have been filed for ZOE’s design, with range, interactivity and occupant wellbeing are at the core of its innovations.

ZOE’s Design & Innovations

Renault has developed the ‘Range OptimiZEr’, which combines three major innovations (new-generation regenerative braking, a heat pump and MICHELIN Energy TM E-V tyres). Due to this, the range of ZOE is the highest of the electric vehicles in mass production. In the NEDC cycle, ZOE is homologated with a range of 130 miles. In real conditions, for example, in suburban use, the owner will generally achieve around 60 miles in cold weather and 90 miles in temperate conditions.

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 Energy TM E-V tyre is a Michelin innovation co-developed with Renault as a world premiere for the 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.

The Chameleon charger

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.

Fast-charging stations are currently equipped with high-power chargers. Now that the Chameleon charger is fitted to the vehicle, there is no longer any need for chargers at charging stations . New fast-charging stations will be opened which are easier and more cost-effective. They will cost less than £2,700, a quarter of the cost of existing fast-charging stations. Charging stations of this type are being previewed on the Renault stand at the Geneva Motor Show.

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).

Renault ZOE and mobile phones/ Computers & other gadgets

ZOE drivers will be able to use their mobile phone or computer to:

? access range-related information using the ‘My Z.E. Connect’ package, available on ZOE from the entry-level version.

? monitor their vehicle via the ‘My Z.E. Interactive Connect’ Pack which includes:

– remote operation (on/off) of battery charging if the vehicle is connected to a charging station.

– remote programming of charging (from a PC only) with the option of taking advantage of preferential rates from electricity suppliers

– immediate or delayed activation of the cabin pre-cooling/heating system.

Zoe’s synchronous electric motor with rotor coil has a power output of 65kW (equivalent to 89hp) 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 the 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.

One of the ZOE versions – ‘Zen’ – includes a relaxing or stimulating scent diffuser, a dual-mode purifying and relaxing air ionizer, a toxicity sensor, and TeflonŽ upholstery protection.

Zero Emissions

Like all electric vehicles, ZOE emits no CO
, NOx, CO or fine particles
. It also signals the loss of unpleasant smells and ‘engine’ noise during road use. Well-to-wheel CO 2 emissions depend on the energy-generation mix of each country. Emissions total 62 g/km of CO 2 in Europe, versus 89 g/km for the new Toyota Prius. They are even lower in France at just 12 g/km of CO 2 .

From 2013, ZOE’s local content rate will be 55 per cent following the introduction of the Renault electric motor which will be produced at the company’s Cléon plant. This high rate helps to reduce the carbon footprint of logistics .

ZOE complies with the very latest criteria required to qualify for the Renault eco˛ signature:

? It is manufactured at Renault’s ISO 14001-certified factory at Flins, France

? As required by Renault’s eco-friendly hallmark, its CO 2 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.

Read our Renault ZOE review >>