Renault joins London Marathon runners on epic life journey

Renault joins London Marathon runners on epic life journey (Image: Renault)

Renault joins London Marathon runners on epic life journey (Image: Renault)

The thousands of star runners who went that extra mile for charity in the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon yesterday have the same drive as Official Car Provider Renault.

Long-running supporters of the greatest marathon in the world, the French brand is renowned for its passion for design and life and was once again proud to be supporting the event which has risen over £600 million for good causes since launching in 1981.

A people-centric car company, Renault’s identity is fully expressed in a strategy based on the cycle of life. This vision connects the brand to its customers by following them throughout life: when they fall in love, head off on a journey, start a family, work, play, and reach wisdom.

Top class athletes are drawn to the fast course annually, but it is the brave fundraisers who all dig deep for their own gruelling 26.2-mile journey around London’s iconic streets who are considered by many as the real heroes on a day, with the action screened in nearly 200 separate countries.

From super heroes to zombies, the FA Cup to furry animals, fancy dress runners each with their own story and motivation behind running pulled out all the stops this year when it came to looking the part for the race which starts in Blackheath, Greenwich, and finishes in The Mall, Westminster.

They were led all the way, with no harmful emissions or pollutants from its tailpipe, through crowds of more than half a million lining the English capital’s streets, by a car which takes its appearance very seriously too: the 100% electric Renault ZOE.

The flagship stunner in the French brand’s plug-in 100% electric range, the supermini created quite a buzz passing famous landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral and Houses of Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Race Director used Renault’s compact crossover Captur, the ultimate urban adventurer, to tackle the cut and thrust, combining the best of three worlds: the expressive styling and driving position of an SUV, the cabin space and modular interior of an MPV and the driving pleasure of a hatchback.

ZOE and Captur are all part of Renault’s multi-award-winning small car line-up that reflect the brand’s new corporate identity and overall style, and proud to be on display in the capital.

Also joining the party, two converted Renault Master vans were used by the media, fitted with official roof-mounted digital race clocks keeping a check on the front runners. Renault also supplied 16 Grand Scenics for transporting VIPs and as lead vehicles to keep the race flowing seamlessly.

For more information on the complete Renault range and its vision, visit

£500,000 grant allows nurses to switch to electric cars

Renault ZOE (Image: Cornwall Foundation Trust)

Renault ZOE (Image: Cornwall Foundation Trust)

A grant of over £500,000 has been awarded to Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) by the NHS Energy Efficiency Initiative to help implement its eco-friendly green travel plans.

The Trust’s success was announced today (8 November 2013) by Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter.

CFT has used the grant to take forward three integrated projects which will see the Trust’s annual mileage reduce by over 725,000 miles a year and save over £300,000– the equivalent of 12 nurses.

Julie Dawson, CFT’s Chief Operating Officer and Carbon Lead said,

“We are delighted our green travel plans have been given a huge boost by the NHS Energy Efficiency Initiative.

“Many of the Trust’s services are provided by staff working in the community – for example health visitors and community psychiatric nurses – who through the course of their duties undertake over 5 million miles a year – the equivalent of travelling around the world more than 200 times.

“Cornwall’s geography and rurality makes it difficult for us to totally remove the need to travel but we are keen to ensure the impact is reduced and all journeys are as cost efficient as possible.”

The Trust has used the £525,000 to purchase 15 fully electric cars, install the infrastructure to support these including charging points and booking system to help staff identify the most cost effective fleet vehicle for their journey; and support investment in IT.

The 15 electric vehicles will complement the Trust’s existing 100-strong fleet and if successful will pave the way for more of the fleet to be switched to electric as it continues to take forward plans to reduce its carbon footprint.

The Renault Zoe, electric cars will be located at Trust premises in Liskeard, Bodmin, Redruth and Penzance. The cars have been supplied by Dales Cornwall, Redruth in the largest single Renault fleet contract the dealership has completed in recent years. In addition to the fuel savings generated by the switch to electric vehicles, a solar farm will be installed on the Trust’s premises in Bodmin and Liskeard. This will offset the additional electricity costs. It is forecast that the solar farm will create in excess of £10,000 worth of electricity each year.

The cost of travelling 100 miles in an electric vehicle is £28, almost half the cost of using one of the Trust’s traditional fleet vehicles.

Upgrades are also being made to the Trust’s telephone and IT systems to allow staff to maximise the benefits of telephone and confidential video-conferencing from their desks thereby increasing efficiency and reducing energy waste. The IT upgrade will be completed by 1 April 2014.

The Trust’s electric fleet and solar farm will be visited by Baroness Kramer – Minister of State for Transport in December.

CFT is the only NHS Trust in the south west to be awarded funds by the NHS Energy Efficiency Initiative.

Hat-tip to niggle.

How and When Will Electric Cars Replace Fossil-Fuelled Cars? Part 1

Figure 1: Diffusion of Innovations Curves (Image: Wikipedia)

Figure 1: Diffusion of Innovations Curves (Image: Wikipedia)

Electric cars are here, now, and selling in increasing numbers. They are getting better and cheaper each year to the extent that they are typically only slightly more expensive to buy than a fossil-fuelled car, and yet they are much cheaper to run. EVs are quieter, smoother and have zero emissions, and increasingly have the performance and range to match fossil-fuelled car.

It is natural, therefore, for the question to arise as to whether, or when, electric cars will replace fossil-fuelled cars. A quick Google search will show up many opinions on this subject. EV drivers are often very optimistic and believe EVs will take over in just a few years (say, by 2020). In contrast, conservative organisations don’t just take an opposing view, they often seem to ignore recent developments and seem to be able to argue that EVs will never compete with conventional cars or sell in significant numbers, even though they are already doing so.

An interesting example of this doublethink is the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s ‘Annual Energy Outlook’ report for 2014. It is due to be released soon, but an early version of the report was released at the end of 2013. It includes the headline prediction that in the US Just One Car Out of 100 Will Be Electric in 2040. This despite the fact that US plug-in sales have already increased from 0.14% in 2011 and 0.37% in 2012 to 0.62% in 2013 (source: Wikipedia).

It seems that most analyses of future EV market share simply represent the opinion of the author. However, I believe it is actually possible to make a data-driven projection of future market share based on known market share data so far. Further, the adoption and growth in market share of innovative technologies (computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc.) is already well studied and I believe EVs will follow the same path.

Specifically I posit that EVs will follow the standard diffusion of innovations approach, which is a theory that explains how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. A key element is that adoption begins with a small subset of buyers, the Innovators, then passes through other categories of consume to achieve full adoption (the other categories are Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards).

The rate of change of market share follows a ‘bell curve’ with adoption being very slow at the start, then increasing significantly, then levelling off at 50% market share, before falling away as it takes over the remaining market – this is the blue curve shown in Figure 1. It is interesting to note that within the rate of adoption there is a point at which an innovation reaches critical mass – this is a point in time when the number of individual adopters ensures that continued adoption of the innovation is self-sustaining.

If we consider the percentage of market share over time then this follows an S-curve, with very low market share expected at the start. This starts to accelerate as the majority groups adopt the innovation, then it slows down again as the market approaches saturation – this is the yellow curve shown in Figure 1.

The adoption of electric cars is currently still in the almost flat starting part of this curve. In the next part I will show how we can apply the data we have on EV market share so far to this adoption curve to predict future adoption rates and market share for EVs, and calculate the likely timescale until EVs dominate the car market.

Victory for Renault ZOE on the 2014 ‘Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN’

ZOE Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN (Image: Renault)

ZOE Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN (Image: Renault)

The prestigious Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN saw ZOE overcome horrendous weather conditions to celebrate its international competition debut with an emphatic outright win and victory on all four regularity tests.

- 1st overall, Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN,

- 1st, regularity prize,

- 1st, energy consumption prize,

- 1st, autotest,

- 1st, Teams’ challenge.

The Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN (Zero Emission, No Noise) is the “greenest” segment of the Monte-Carlo New Energies Rally; the event is open only to electric vehicles. The fifth rally was held between 21st and 23rd March  in Monaco and featured three special stages ranging from 29 miles and 55 miles in length. These stages were divided into a total of four regularity tests.  The roads visited by the event included the breath-taking, twisty runs from La Turbie to Peille and from Sainte Agnès to La Turbie, high above the Mediterranean coast. Participants had to contend with a combination of torrential rain and fog on the busiest day (Saturday, 22nd March) which featured two special stages divided into three regularity tests.

Action concluded with an autotest on the harbour-side in Monaco.

Almost two years after ZOE established a new 24-hour electric vehicle distance world record (1,011 miles) in June 2012, last weekend saw the all-electric spermini’s first attempt at the Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN provide further eloquent evidence of its technical and dynamic qualities by securing every one of the five trophies that were up for grabs:












Z.E. ZOE TEAM fielded a line-up of three Renault ZOEs which were in the hands of crews from different backgrounds:

  • A ‘competition’ crew featuring Greg Jonkerlinck and his co-driver Yves Munier who came first overall after winning all four regularity tests
  • A ‘media’ crew comprising Christophe Bourgeois who claimed fourth place on two of the four regularity tests, as well as ninth place ahead of a number of top competitors on the autotest which was contested by 96 other vehicles. A ‘privateer’ crew, with a ZOE shared by Frédéric Allari and his co-driver Nathalie Rouvier whose strong performance on the regularity tests saw them finish an excellent fifth overall.

Renault ZOE is packed with technology designed to enhance both travelling enjoyment and energy efficiency. Renault has registered no fewer than 60 patents to provide ZOE drivers with the very best of electric mobility, whether for everyday use and for competing purposes.  ZOE’s official NEDC range is best-in-class at 130 miles, with a real-world range of around 90 miles in temperate conditions or 60 in cold weather


All three ZOE drivers on the Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN were swift to praise the model’s strengths in six key areas:

  • User friendliness: ease of familiarisation, easy to drive, no gearbox, etc.,
  • Efficient handling: ZOE is a purpose-designed electric car with optimised weight distribution thanks to the positioning of the battery beneath the floor.
  • Responsive performance: maximum torque (220Nm) is instantly available, an invaluable asset when accelerating out of a tight hairpin bend, for example.
  • Range optimisation: facilitated by the connected R-Link multimedia system.
  • Range: thanks to ZOE’s Range Optimizer, there was always sufficient range for the drivers to focus solely on their driving, since range never fell beneath 42 percent, even on the long 55 mile stage.
  • Fast charge: the ability to connect to a 22kW power supply could have been decisive in the case of a short battery-charging halt.


  • 18 entries
  • 7 nationalities represented
  • 9 makes
  • 5 trophies, all won by ZOE runners
  • Almost 120 miles of special stages
  • 8 hours’ travelling time


The Kyoto protocol is an international treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and functions in addition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, with member countries convening once a year since 1995.

It was in 1995 that the President of the Automobile Club de Monaco decided to organise the Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo Electrique. Four events were organised until 1999. However, despite its success, it was not staged in 2000. It was necessary to wait until 2005 for a rally organised exclusively for new-generation vehicles to be held again.

The Rallye Automobile de Monte Carlo des Energies Nouvelles is a round of a bespoke world championship sanctioned by the FIA (Fédération Internationale Automobile). The series features 12 rounds in Europe, Asia, North America and Africa.

Three Renault ZOE races in ZENN Rally

Three Renault ZOE races in ZENN Rally (Image: Renault)

Three Renault ZOE races in ZENN Rally (Image: Renault)

Three Renault ZOE are racing in the fifth Monte-Carlo ZENN Rally. The electric model is putting its cutting-edge technology and performance to the test in osmosis with the natural surroundings.
The fifth ZENN Rally (ZENN being short for Zero Emission, No Noise) is holding from March 21 to 23, 2014 in Monaco. The “greenest” segment of the 15th Monte-Carlo New Energies Rally, the event is open only to electric vehicles.

Three ZOEs, 100% electric sedan, are competing in the innovative race over a historic route. Three teams are on board, together making up the “ZE ZOE Team”:

  • A “racing” team, fully trained on regularity events
  • A “press” team, for an insider’s view of the race
  • A “private individuals” team of rally and ZOE enthusiasts

The rally features several regularity events, including the famous “La Turbie-Peille”. The closing event will start in the mountains in Sainte-Agnès – Europe’s highest coastal village – and finish at the port of Monaco with a manoeuvrability contest.

The rally also includes exhibitions and special events for the public based on the theme of tomorrow’s vehicles and sustainable development.

Join the Z.E. ZOE Team on Monday March 24, 2014 and share in the magic of this new breed of rally.

To find out more about the ZENN Rally, click here

The Pain of Public Charging 8

ZOE Charging off Highgate Road (Image: T. Larkum)

ZOE Charging off Highgate Road (Image: T. Larkum)

Last week I went to London with friends to see an evening concert by the prog-rock ‘supergroup’ Transatlantic. The others were up for an adventure so I proposed going in the ZOE – though nearly regretted it due to problems with planning charging for the return journey. I spent a lot of time planning routes and charging locations but couldn’t get past the problem that according to the Electric Highway website many of the fast chargers were broken.

I called the Ecotricity helpline and had a conversation that was rather like last time, except much shorter:

  • “Can you confirm that all the fast chargers between Northampton and London are offline?”
  • “One moment… Yes, that’s right.”
  • “Can you suggest options?”
  • “The medium charger at Newport Pagnell and the fast charger at IKEA Wembley are working.”

Given that IKEA was off the route, I was starting to get worried that the trip would be a disaster. Among the many hours of research on charging possibilities around the Highgate/Kentish Town area, I discovered the following wonderful nuggets of information:

  1. There are two slow charger bays at the Royal Free Hospital – but they are in short term parking so there is a charge of “£1.50 for 20 minutes. No return within 2 hours”.
  2. There is a slow charger in the Waitrose car park next to Edgware tube station – but a barrier comes down a 9.30pm and isn’t opened again until the next morning.
  3. There are supposedly medium chargers recently installed at High Barnet and other end-of-line tube stations, according to online news releases. However, they don’t show on the station websites or on charge point maps like Zap-Map so I didn’t trust that they were operating yet.
  4. There are lots of private car parking spaces with chargers on the ParkAtMyHouse website – but they virtually all have the older Type 1 connector, not compatible with the ZOE. Plus the site doesn’t have a way to search for spaces with charge points – you have to check every one individually – so it’s largely useless.

Anyway, I decided to take a chance and headed out. I had found a public charge point in a side road near the venue, and if that didn’t work out we could return via the medium charger at South Mimms services – a bit of a detour, but acceptable as a backup. Nonetheless, I drove in Eco mode at about 58mph, and we topped off at the Newport Pagnell medium charger, to eke out the range as much as possible.

In fact it worked out fine. Apart from getting to the parking spot just as an ICE was taking it (fortunately they took the hint and pulled out again), we arrived and plugged in without a problem. On returning to the car after the concert it was fully charged (in fact, I expected that as I had been monitoring it on and off during the concert on my smartphone) and we drove back to Northampton happy.

We had a couple of issues on the way back – the bottom end of the M1 was closed for road works, and we travelled much of the way in fog – but I was still confident enough to drive home at 70mph, and got back with about 3 miles of range to spare.

Where previously I relied on fast chargers only, and avoided slow public chargers, this time I had succeeded at a long trip by doing the opposite – avoiding fast chargers and relying on a single slow public charger.

North Yorkshire to Worthing – 340 miles in a day

22kW Charge at Woodall (Image: Timbo)

22kW Charge at Woodall (Image: Timbo)

So, following the success of my day trip to Nottingham, I decided that it was time for a much longer expedition – from North Yorks to Worthing – again in a day. Although some 340 miles this looked entirely feasible given the number of fast chargers all the way there.

North Yorkshire to Worthing by ZOE Route (Image: Timbo)

North Yorkshire to Worthing by ZOE Route (Image: Timbo)

I planned my route to use the M1 for much of the trip, but with a small diversion in Oxfordshire to collect another passenger then M40, M25 and finally M23/A23. I also stuck with my ‘tried and tested’ approach of aiming to have plenty of contingency (c20-30 miles of range) as I arrived at each of my chosen fast charge points. This meant that approx. 6 fast charges would be needed, and I planned to stop at Wetherby, Woodall, Leicester Forest East, Cherwell (M40/A43), Hounslow (M4) and Pease Pottage (Crawley, A23). That way if there was a problem, I’d have enough to jump back in the car and head to the next fast charger, rather than back-tracking or heading for a slower 7kw charger nearby.

43kW Fast Charge at Tibshelf (Image: Timbo)

43kW Fast Charge at Tibshelf (Image: Timbo)

I left home at 0805 on Feb 16th, and all went to plan at the first stop at Wetherby where I charged from 35% to 83% between 0900 to 0923. An hour later at Woodall (M1 South) I couldn’t get the fast charger to work, so plugged into the 22kW to charge from 20% to 46% before leaving at 1045 to get a  ‘proper’ charge at Tibshelf (32% to 93% between 1103 and 1126).  Then it was on to Leicester FE (36% to 99% between 1212 and 1244); Cherwell (28% to 96% from 1356 to 1422) and Hounslow (36% to 99% between 1557 and 1625). Finally, for the last charge of the day I filled up at Crawley (39% to 94% from 1728 to 1750). All charge points were part of the Electric Highway (Ecotricity).

I arrived at Worthing at 1835, after some 10.5 hours in the car (6h47 driving time) and 339.7 miles on the ‘clock’ and some 86kWh consumed. I tracked my trip using Glympse  and tweeted progress, which I was surprised to see was picked up by the Speak EV forum folks .

43kW Fast Charge at Cherwell (Image: Timbo)

43kW Fast Charge at Cherwell (Image: Timbo)

The trip home a couple of days later was pretty similar, and just as smooth.  I left at 0825, followed much the same route (except that I stuck with the M1 as I didn’t need to detour to Oxfordshire), and arrived home at 1835 – just over 10 hours later.  I even had another problem fast charger – this time at Leicester Forest East (N), but was able to press on to Derby (M1 jn 23A). The stats for my return journey were 327.5 miles, 70kWh (4.62mpkWh), with a total driving time of 7hr 17 min.

So I think I can safely say now that, even with the odd fast charger not working correctly, there appears to be sufficient redundancy being built into the Electric Highway for southbound  journeys from the north east of England.  Last weekend, I went north of the border and really missed the Ecotricity fast chargers, but that’s a story for another day…

Chargemaster Unveils Multiple UK Tariffs for Electric Car Charging

POLAR and Source London public charging point (Image:

POLAR and Source London public charging point (Image:



As it promised a few weeks back, UK firm Chargemaster has just quietly unveiled details of how much it will charge electric vehicle owners to use its Polar EV charging network from April 1.  With two different monthly tariffs plus a more expensive Pay-As-You-Go option, Chargemaster says existing Polar customers — who currently pay £10 per year for unlimited charging and whose memberships will automatically expire on March 31 — will have to choose to let their membership expire or to sign up for one of the new services.

With charges for a Type 2 public charging station costing up to £2.50 per hour, and rapid charging costing £8.50 for half an hour however, many EV owners are already fearful that the fees outlined by Chargemaster are too expensive, too soon.

Here at Transport Evolved, we’ve spent some time drilling down to figure out exactly what’s included in each tariff, as well as what we think it will mean for current and future EV drivers.

Polar Economy Plus

Chargemaster says the Economy Plus tariff will cost drivers £12 per month if paid by direct debit, and include twenty ‘charging credits’ which can be used on the network over the course of each month.

  • An hour of charging at a Polar Network 13 amp (UK domestic outlet) point will cost one credit. That’s a theoretical power draw of just under 3 kilowatts per hour, but since most production electric cars we know restrict 13-amp charging to 10 amps, that’s nearer to 2.3 kilowatts, or between 5 and 10 miles per hour.
  • An hour of charging at a Polar Network type 2 (7 pin Mennekes) point will cost two credits. Because the Type 2 charging standard does cover a range of power levels, that could equate to a power level of anywhere from 3.3 kilowatts or 7 kilowatts single phase all the way up to 22 kilowatts three phase. In our experience however, most Polar points are either 3.3 kilowatts or 7 kilowatts, translating to a usable range increase of between 10 and 20 miles per hour, depending on the car you have.
  • A half hour of charging at a Rapid DC or rapid AC unit will cost ten credits. On many EVs, this will be enough to theoretically charge from empty to 80 percent full, but in our experience 30 minutes will normally charge from 20 percent to 80 percent full in that time. A fully depleted battery pack will require nearer 45 minutes.

Once you’ve used up your ‘credits’ Chargemaster says you’ll still be able to charge, but it will levy an additional £0.95 per hour (or part) for 13 amp domestic charging points, £1.90 per hour (or part) for Type 2 charging stations, and £6 per 30 minutes (or part) for rapid charging.

It’s worth noting too that this particular tariff seems very similar to BMW’s own ‘mobility’ package for BMW i3 owners, which offers ‘free’ charging access for subscribers to its service. It’s also worth noting that Chargemaster is the chosen provider for this service.

Continue Reading here.

The New Polar Tariff is here.


Cross-Country EV Charging Network Completed Weeks Ahead of Schedule

Chargemaster's David Martell with Councillor of Milton Keynes

Chargemaster’s David Martell with Councillor of Milton Keynes, in front of a Renault ZOE and some other EVs

A network of 14 electric vehicle (EV) rapid chargers, forming Milton Keynes CrossLink and supplied and operated by Chargemaster Plc, has been completed four weeks before the planned launch date. The rapid chargers are some of the first ‘tri-standard’ units in the UK and will allow EV drivers to charge their cars in approximately 20 minutes, enabling cross-country motoring through Cambridge, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Buckingham and Oxford.

CrossLink is a Milton Keynes Council initiative and the charging units are sited at strategic locations connecting Cambridge and Bedford in the East with Milton Keynes and Cheltenham, Oxford and Buckingham with Milton Keynes to the South West. The units, supplied by local company, Chargemaster Plc, will provide rapid charging to a whole range of the latest electric vehicles.

The ‘tri-standard’ charging points are designed to work with all the latest electric cars including the new BMW i3 and VW e-up!, the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Citroen C Zero, Peugeot Ion, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Tesla Model S, the first UK models of which arrive next month.

The network of charging points has been partly funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) under a government scheme supporting the growth of ultra low emission vehicles and the respective charging network.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said:

“These charge points are the first of their kind in England, able to rapidly recharge a wide range of plug-in vehicles. The government is committed to making the UK a leading market for ultra low emission vehicles and putting in place versatile and accessible infrastructure like this is an important part of making this happen.”

Milton Keynes CrossLink is one of the first from this round of OLEV funding to be completed, and is one of a number of key initiatives being implemented by Milton Keynes Council to make the city a low-carbon and emission-free centre. The network, which does not rely on any financial contribution from the rate payer, enables electric vehicle owners and operators to recharge their cars several times faster than conventional chargers and allows easy access to the Milton Keynes regional shopping centre and recreation facilities.

Virtually every car manufacturer is now bringing plug-in cars to market and it is widely expected that by 2020, one in ten cars sold will be electric. This new network of rapid charging stations will help drivers using these cars to make a significant reduction to air pollution and carbon emissions.

Councillor Keith McLean, Milton Keynes Council Cabinet member for Transport said:

“This is excellent news for local electric vehicle drivers and is another vital step to lowering our collective carbon footprint in line with the Council’s low carbon strategy.  We have enjoyed a very constructive relationship with Chargemaster Plc, a local company, for the last four years and we are pleased to be able to extend this partnership.

“The fact that Chargemaster be fully responsible for extending the network each year and for all the operating costs of the units rather than the council means that we can make valuable savings to the council budget. The city will get all the benefits of having a comprehensive network of charging points”.

David Martell, Chief Executive of Chargemaster Plc, added:

“I’m very proud of our installation teams and partners, who have worked tirelessly over the last 6 months to get this project completed and operational ahead of schedule. It has been a pleasure to work with Milton Keynes Council, which has a ‘can do’ attitude and positive approach to helping motorists make the most of their electric vehicles on a day-to-day basis.”

List of CrossLink rapid charger sites:

  • MK Bus Station, Elder Gate, Milton Keynes
  • Avebury Boulevard, Juntion with Lower 12th Street, Milton Keynes
  • Outside Xscape, Avebury Boulevard, Milton Keynes
  • Northfield Drive, Northfield, Milton Keynes
  • Silverstone Circuit Innovation Centre, Silverstone, Northants
  • Silverstone Circuit Wing, Silverstone, Northants
  • Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Gloucester
  • W. Ganderton, Swan Garage, 20 Bridge Street, Buckingham MK18 1AF
  • Oxford Belfry Hotel, Milton Common, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 2JW
  • Elms BMW, 4 Sheepfold Ln, Cambridge CB23 6EF
  • Cambridge Belfry Hotel, Back Ln, Great Cambourne, Cambridge CB23 6BW
  • Elms BMW, Clifton Parc, Caxton Rd, Bedford MK41 0GL

Original source: Chargemaster via TheGreenCarWebsite

Renault “could upgrade owners’ electric vehicles”

Renault ZOE (Image: Renault)

Renault ZOE (Image: Renault)

  •  Batteries could be swapped to boost range
  •  Also requires new control systems
  •  Customer demand and cost are key

Renault could offer upgrades to battery packs on some of its latest electric cars, the company’s EV boss has revealed.

The French manufacturer continues to push ahead with ambitious plans to dominate the electric vehicle market with the Twizy and Zoe, plus the fleet-focused Kangoo EV. However, with new battery technology likely to boost the range of cars within the next 18 months to two years, Renault has factored in the technical ability to swap the batteries and upgrade the control systems of the EVs it has already sold. This process could, in theory, be easier because Renault leases the batteries to owners instead of selling them outright.

The firm’s EV boss Beatrice Foucher told What Car?,

“The technical possibility [to upgrade the batteries] exists. I have asked the engineers to make sure this is the case. It’s not a simple upgrade, because you have increased energy density in the batteries and then the car’s electronics and control systems need to be upgraded to take that into account. However, it’s certainly achievable.

“What is more important is whether the customer demand is there,’
‘It could be that when we get down to the costs involved, buyers decide that they will trade in their 200km-range EV to get an all-new version with a 300km of range. Then we have the other car, which could be suitable for someone who knows they only need 200km – or who wants a cheaper entry point to the technology. There are all sorts of possibilities.”

Foucher does not believe that ‘range anxiety’ will be a problem for long enough to consider introducing a range extender (where a small petrol motor can supply charge to prevent a battery becoming completely depleted) to the line-up. BMW is introducing a range-extender i3 alongside its fully electric version, but Foucher said:

“We see what BMW is doing and it’s interesting, but I don’t think we will do it. Perhaps it makes it easier for people to switch to EVs for a short while, but this situation will pass quite quickly; the answer is greater range on the car and also a better infrastructure for charging, and these things are coming fast.”

News and comment on the Renault ZOE (the world's most advanced mass market car), other electric cars, climate change, and related subjects. A car that's quiet, lively, cheap to run and non-polluting…£14k. Driving straight past petrol stations without a second glance…Priceless.