Scale Model Zoe

Zoe Scale Model (Image: T. Larkum)
Zoe Scale Model (Image: T. Larkum)

A surprise Christmas present arrived this week, slightly late for Christmas – a scale model of the production version of the Zoe, courtesy of Renault. It came out of the blue, without warning. It is quite different from the Zoe Concept available to buy from the ZE shop.

It came with a message:

“On behalf of the whole Renault ZOE team, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” Stephen Norman, Director Global Marketing and Communications

It’s a nicely made model, in a clear plastic presentation case. It arrived well packaged.

Zoe Christmas Present (Image: T. Larkum)
Zoe Christmas Present (Image: T. Larkum)

However, personally, I would rather have had news of when my ordered Zoe might arrive. Keeping the customer updated is to me the most important job of marketing and communications.

Happy Christmas and Joyeux Noël!

Happy Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Fröhliche Weihnachten and Feliz Navidad!
Happy Christmas, Joyeux Noël (Joyeux Zoel!), Fröhliche Weihnachten and Feliz Navidad!

A Happy Christmas, Joyeux Noël (Joyeux Zoel!), Fröhliche Weihnachten and Feliz Navidad to all prospective Zoe owners!

And Seasons Greetings especially to all visitors to this site, for contributing and making it a success. We recently passed the milestone of 20,000 visitors – a major achievement for a new site. We will continue to improve and expand the site, and to cover everything Zoe.

If you’re new here, please call in to the Forum and say hello.

The Joy of Solar 1: Installation

Step 2: Scaffolding (Image: T. Larkum)
Step 2: Scaffolding (Image: T. Larkum)

Whether or not you are considering buying an electric car, if you have the opportunity I would unequivocally recommend having solar panels installed. We had solar fitted in 2010, even before it had dawned on me how bad the situation had got with global warming. I did it then for the money, and for a measure of energy independence. However, it is a decision I have never regretted; in fact it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

The Roof Before Cleaning and Installation (Image: T. Larkum)
The Roof Before Cleaning and Installation (Image: T. Larkum)

The timing was lucky – the UK government was in the process of introducing a Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) for solar and other ‘microgeneration’ technologies. Some solar suppliers were undertaking advertising and marketing campaigns, and I began to get interested when I saw a display outside our local DIY warehouse. I contacted this company and after various dealings with them (including a fairly ‘hard sell’ home visit) I decided to have nothing further to do with them. However, my interest in solar had begun and I began to research it, and applied for quotes from various companies, followed by home visits from a short list of suppliers. From those I chose one, and when the installation went ahead they did a very good job.

Step 1 is a site survey. This looks at the roof type, condition, location and direction. It includes measuring its length, width, the height of the ridge, and the height of the gutter edge, so as to determine it solar capacity – i.e. how much area it covers and at what angle to the sun.

Step 2 is the scaffolding. This is arranged by the solar supplier but put up some days in advance by a dedicated scaffolding company. Step 2a is optional – once the scaffolding was in place I used it to check over and then clean the roof. I did the cleaning with a garden hose on a high pressure spray, taking care not to get the water under the tiles and into the loft. I was able fairly quickly to remove 20+ years of accumulated moss and dirt – and, of course, with the panels in place, I may never need to repeat the process.

Step 3: Installation (Image: T. Larkum)
Step 3: Installation (Image: T. Larkum)

Step 3 is the ‘big day’ when the supplier turns up with the panels and installs them. They go onto a metal frame. Tiles are lifted at intervals so that metal brackets can be fitted to the roof trestles. These brackets are then joined together to support the panels. The only glitch for us was that there was an open soil stack protruding through the roof that would get in the way of the panels being arranged perfectly. This was replaced by a valved one inside the loft space at no extra charge.

The Finished System (Image: T. Larkum)
The Finished System (Image: T. Larkum)

Step 4 is the wiring up of the system. The inverter was not available as soon as it was needed so this step ran into a second day for us.

Once the system is up and running, and checked over, that’s it. To get the government Feed-In-Tariff you read the generation meter every quarter and notify your electricity supplier of the reading. Shortly afterwards you get the money into your bank account. Meanwhile you are enjoying free energy, and are helping to save the planet – can’t be bad!

Next see The Joy of Solar 2: Internals

New Delay for Renault Zoe

Zoe Launch is Receding (Image: Renault)
Zoe Launch is Receding (Image: Renault)

It is reported in Les Echos that the launch of the Zoe has slipped again. This week the Renault group is quoted as saying that the launch will be:

“mass market in spring 2013” in France, which will be later expanded to other countries in Europe “during the second half of the year”

However, when Renault opened bookings of the vehicle last March at the Geneva Motor Show, it first talked about:

“the fall of 2012” before discussing “the end of 2012” then “early 2013”

The reason for the discrepancy is given as the difficult development of the R-Link multimedia system. According to a source close to Renault, ‘the group did not take the right technical options to be economic and is now paying for it with a less than optimal solution’.

Scale Model Zoe Concept

Zoe Concept Scale Model
Zoe Concept Scale Model (Image: Renault)

While it looks like the Zoe will not become available until the first quarter of 2013 in France, and maybe not until the second quarter in the UK, Renault have announced the availability of a scale model of the Zoe Concept car.

It looks like this is currently the only way to own a Zoe in 2012! It is made of ‘Zamac’, comes in 1/43 scale, and is available from the Renault ZE shop.