Renault ZE (Zero Emission)
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has a clear goal of leading the world in the production of zero emission electric vehicles having signed a number of agreements that will lead to the mass marketing of the vehicles from 2011 onwards. The Renault ZE (Zero Emission) Concepts include the Twizy Z.E, the Kangoo Z.E, the ZOE Z.E and the Fluence Z.E. This range of cars is likely to form this first mass-market introduction of electric cars.
History of the Renault ZE range
The first Renault ZE was based on the Renault Kangoo bebop design. The Kangoo was first introduced in 1997 as a panel van and leisure activity vehicle with an updated second generation model released in 2008.
The Renault ZE Kangoo Concept meanwhile is seen as a fun design that adapts to the spirit of electric car driving. Special attention has been paid to optimising energy management because the energy consumption of functions such as lighting, heating and climate control is taken into account when estimating an electric car’s range. It uses lithium-ion batteries to extend this range.
It is equipped with a 70kW electric motor that delivers torque at 226Nm meaning that it is particularly responsive and flexible. It is expected that the Renault ZE Concept may be used as part of the Project Better Place trials.
The line-up of Renault electric cars was extended to four models when at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault announced three more concepts. By November 2009, Renault announced that the production for the Twizy Z.E. Concept-based city car was to be based at its Valladolid plant in Spain, with an electric supermini to be produced at the Flins plant near Paris.
Environmental credentials of the Renault ZE range
All electric cars are zero emission vehicles, but as critics are keen to point out their true emissions are displaced as the electricity to power the vehicles is currently reliant on non-renewable sources for its energy. Only when the National Grid uses completely renewable sources such as wind and solar power, can the Renault ZE and other electric cars truly be described as “zero emission”.
Nevertheless, the Renault ZE range produces no emissions of its own when driving and the designers have taken extra steps to limit the amount of energy it uses.
For example, the cars will feature solar panels positioned on the roof that power a temperature regulation system. As cooling the inside of a vehicle can use a great deal of energy, this use of a renewable energy source reduces the need to switch on a climate control system when entering a vehicle. Furthermore, the Renault ZE concepts have no drag producing exterior mirrors – instead these have been replaced with streamlined, low-energy cameras that are also powered by the roof-mounted solar panels for excellent all-around visibility. The Renault ZE concepts also includes low-drag full-disc aluminium alloy wheels to further improve its aerodynamic performance.
Renault electric vehicle highlights are:
* Twizy Z.E. Concept: pearlescent white ultra-compact and nimble 1+1 zero-emission city car, with 15kW motor (20hp) and footprint barely larger than a scooter. Top speed of 47 mph with acceleration comparable to 125cc motorbike. Features honeycomb-shaped diodes which can communicate with the vehicle’s surroundings
* Zoe Z.E. Concept: compact four-seat supermini for short daily journeys in arban areas. Scissor doors at the front and butterfly doors at the rear, with polyurethane gel for front and rear of car to underline its hi-tech feel and protect components against small knocks in urban areas. Features 70kW motor for 100 mile range, 21” alloy wheels and retractable rear spoiler for greater aerodynamic efficiency. Comes complete with personalisable avatar for driving information, mood lighting and futuristic 'hydrate, detox and active scent' climate control functions
* Fluence Z.E. Concept: electric version of all-new, elegant five-seat Fluence saloon with range of 100 miles for family driving. Boasts low-rolling resistance Michelin tyres and new Samsung Jet phone
* Kangoo Z.E. Concept: previews electric van for fleet and commercial use with 70kW electric motor, solar roof panels and heated steering wheel
Renault ZE statistics
Here are some crucial statistics about the Renault ZE range (statistics vary according to the model selected):
- Charge time: Up to eight hours. A 'quick charge' takes 20 minutes or a 'quickdrop' system would take three minutes at a rapid battery exchange station.
- CO2 emissions: None.
- Engine: 70kW motor powered by lithium-ion batteries.
- Range: 100 miles
- Top speed: up to 85mph.
- Torque: up to 226Nm.
Future of the Renault ZE
The Renault ZE range is expected to hit the roads from 2011. For more updates check out the latest news section of TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk.
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