Renault ZOE – the electric supermini for everyday use

THURSDAY 21ST MARCH 2013

RENAULT ZOE – THE ELECTRIC SUPERMINI FOR EVERYDAY USE

Zoe - The Electric Supermini for Everyday Use
Zoe – The Electric Supermini for Everyday Use

Renault ZOE heralds the start of a new era, one in which electric mobility becomes available to everybody. It marks a major step forwards for the automotive industry and also for Renault. Throughout its 115 years of history, the brand has shown its ability to innovate and to bring technology within everybody’s reach. ZOE is the emblem of Renault’s strategic plan – Drive the Change 2016 – and the spearhead of the Renault Z.E. range. It combines all Renault’s electrical expertise in a compact and attractive design with an affordable price.

Revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Renault ZOE goes on sale in the UK in June 2013.

THE BEGINNINGS OF ZOE DESIGN

  1. INNOVATIONS TO BRING ZERO EMISSION CARS WITHIN EVERYBODY’S REACH
  2. ZOE TAKES CARE OF PASSENGER COMFORT
  3. AN ENJOYABLE AND RELAXING DRIVE
  4. ZERO COMPROMISES ON QUALITY AND SAFETY
  5. ZOE MARKS A NEW STAGE IN RENAULT’S ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENTS
  6. A BRIEF PRACTICAL GUIDE TO ELECTRIC CARS

1. THE BEGINNINGS OF ZOE DESIGN

Designed from the start as an all-electric vehicle, Renault ZOE is a supermini of clean, flowing lines. The distinctive front end expresses the new brand identity with its friendly, appealing looks. The blue effect of the logo, headlamps and dark-tinted windows identify ZOE as an electric car. Reflecting the concept of purity, the cabin aims to create a relaxing, zen feel with materials that are soft to the touch.

A design adventure dating back to the end of 2008

At the end of January 2008 at the Davos Forum, Carlos Ghosn announced the ambition of the Renault brand to market a range of four electric vehicles. The flagship model was project X10, a supermini designed as an all-electric vehicle, intended for mass marketing. This far-reaching mission was placed in the hands of the pre-project teams, who confirmed its technical and economic feasibility on 16th December 2008. This marked the starting point of the design process, organized on a competition basis. The brief presented on 21st January 2009 stated that the design should be “friendly and reassuring for an innovative, responsible all-electric vehicle”.

ZOE, a car with a difference

The first creative proposals adopted an extremely radical approach. Designers saw the new electrical era as a great opportunity to reinvent the car. Nevertheless, little by little, studies gradually converged towards a more rational approach. The transition from internal combustion to electric power would already mark a major break in customer habits, so it was important for the styling of ZOE not to be too perplexing. The aim was to design a car with a difference, but reflecting the formal cues of automotive design in its lines and proportions, so that it would be immediately accepted.

“To convey the car’s relations with the environment, designers sought inspiration in the forces of nature and the elements. The car had to be expressed in moving rather than static form, driven by clean, natural energy. The inspiration boards in the design offices showed pictures of intense, stormy skies, raging seas or the pure lines of winter landscapes.” Agneta Dahlgren-Hermine – ZOE Design Project Manager

Lines expressing purity and emotion

The winning drawing was by Jean Sémériva. Two key words guided his digital penwork: purity and emotion. Purity, in the lines that seem to run the length of the car’s body, and emotion, in its agile, dynamic allure. The car had a reassuring and dynamic look with its compact, sculpted forms, 2,588 mm wheelbase and raised waistline.

“We wanted to design a car in motion and made for motion.Where one line stops, another begins. The design of ZOE was addressed as a whole, like a drop of water. It has no corners or cut-off points.” Jean Sémériva, exterior designer of Renault ZOE. 

A car that is visibly electric

ZOE is immediately identifiable as an electric vehicle, with the blue effect of the Renault logo and headlamps and the blue dark-tinted windows across the range. Unusually on a production car, the rear lights are transparent with blue concentric edging. They turn red only on braking and when the lights are switched on at night. This makes the overall body colour appear more uniform.

Friendly, appealing looks

When Laurens Van Den Acker arrived in 2009, he made major design changes, modifying the front end to reflect the new brand identity. As a result, ZOE features slender dual-halogen headlights and a larger logo, contrasting with the black grille. The wide smiling air intake with two dimples on either side for the daytime running lights, give ZOE a friendly, appealing look. On July 28th 2009 in the presentation room at the Technocentre in Guyancourt, Jean Sémériva, presented his work to management team, receiving a highly enthusiastic reaction. His design carries his signature: a thumbprint in relief on the exterior handle of the rear doors, concealed in the rear pillar. Customer tests began in March 2010. The prototype presented at this time closely matched the model that would be brought to market at end of 2012. Again, the reaction was highly enthusiastic.

A relaxing, zen interior ambience

The interior design of ZOE is the work of Dominique Marzolf whose first sketches also expressed the theme of purity. The dashboard is carved from a single block, in clean, taut lines. The same approach is visible in the fascia strip, which resembles the blade of a wind turbine. This component uses a material that is new to the automotive industry, soft to the touch and inspired by the world of home design. The pure, relaxing ambience is underlined by the use of pastel colour schemes in the cabin – on the Life and Zen versions – and by the presence of advanced technology. The 7” screen of the Renault R-Link console appears to float in front of the dashboard, while the TFT (Thin Film Transistor) screen on the control panel hints at ZOE’s high-tech content. The seats feature built-in headrests, with pale textile upholstery (on the Dynamique Zen version) treated with Teflon® stain protection for easy cleaning. The identity of ZOE as a zero-emission vehicle is shown by the initials Z.E. on the gear knob and on the driver’s seat headrest. A pictogram resembling a printed circuit can be seen on the roof lining and on the dashboard.

 

The official presentation: Geneva 2012

The design of ZOE was completely finalized in July 2010. The reveal was organized in two stages. First, the presentation of the ZOE preview show car, also designed by Jean Sémériva, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The show car, which went on to share 90% of its design content with the production model, was a huge and immediate success with customers and in-house staff. the ultimate stage in the design process: the world preview of ZOE in its definitive form at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The resemblance between ZOE and the ZOE preview show car was applauded by both the public and the press, who gave the car a warm welcome.

 

2. INNOVATIONS TO BRING ZERO EMISSION CARS WITHIN EVERYBODY’S REACH

With ZOE, Renault makes Zero Emission mobility available to the greatest number. ZOE is the first car to be designed as an all-electric model and sold at the affordable price from £13,995 (after incentive, battery rental from £70 per month for 7,500 miles per year over three years) and ideal for day-to-day use. Embodying Renault’s electrical expertise, it features cutting-edge electric technology. With more than sixty patents filed as part of its design, ZOE boasts six world firsts in the fields of range, easy use, and connectivity.

 

Six world firsts on Renault ZOE:

  1. The first production electric vehicle with prices starting from £13,995 (after incentive, battery rental from £70 per month for 7,500 miles per year over three years
  2. The first production electric vehicle with a range homologated at over 130 miles (NEDC standardised cycle).
  3. Able to cover between 62 and 93 miles depending on driving style and weather conditions, ZOE has the longest range in its category. An achievement owed to its Range OptimiZEr system, which boosts range in all driving conditions.
  4. The first electric vehicle that can be charged in between 30 minutes and nine hours depending on the power of the charging station (between 3 et 43 kW), from just one socket, thanks to the Chameleon charger.
  5. ZOE can be fast charged (43 kW – 80% of the battery in 30 minutes) at stations whose cost is just one quarter that of existing fast-charge systems.
  6. The first vehicle equipped as standard with Renault R-Link, an integrated, connected multimedia tablet.

 

ZOE, the first production electric vehicle with a homologated range of 130 miles (NEDC)

Renault ZOE is able to cover between 62 and 93 miles depending on driving style and weather conditions, giving it the longest range in its category. In homologation tests based on a standardized NEDC cycle, Renault ZOE is the only electric vehicle with a range of over 130 miles. This performance can be attributed to the Range

OptimiZEr system fitted on all ZOE models, which boots vehicle range by almost 25%.

The Range OptimiZEr system comprises three major technical innovations, each of which makes an equal one-third contribution to increasing the range of ZOE:

  • new-generation regenerative braking,
  • a heat pump,
  • Michelin EnergyTM E-V tyres

 

New-generation regenerative braking recharges the battery during the deceleration and braking phase

Regenerative braking enables the motor to act as a generator. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the motor recovers kinetic energy from deceleration and turns it into an electric current that recharges the battery. This energy would otherwise be lost as heat when the brake pads clamp together. To maximize power savings during braking, Renault joined forces with Bosch to develop a new-generation system. This

system intelligently distributes braking force between the clamping of the brake pads and the engine brake in order to maximize the action of the engine brake in charging the battery. The action of these two components is fine-tuned in order to prevent jolts or pronounced engine braking when on the move.

 

The heat pump maintains the range of ZOE when the heating is in use

Inspired by home development, this innovation is now available for the first time on a production car. The operating principle was already well known. The difficulty lay in adapting it to a car. Special control algorithms were developed to take account of the thermal inertial and power of a vehicle interior.

  • To cool the cabin, the system works in the same way as a normal electric air conditioning system
  • To heat the cabin, the system reverses the cycle of operation. It traps calories in the ambient air outside the vehicle compresses and heats them, then directs the heat into the car

 

This system lets the driver heat the cabin without impacting vehicle range. Limiting the energy consumption of the heating system significantly reduces disparities in the range of ZOE during the cold or warm seasons. For an equivalent level of heating, the heat pump consumes up to three times less energy than a conventional system. The required cabin temperature is reached more quickly and maintained at a more stable level than in an ICE vehicle, where the heating depends on the calories given off by the engine.

 

Michelin ENERGYTM E-V tyres increases the range of ZOE

Renault ZOE is the first vehicle to be shod as standard with this highly energy efficient tyre developed with Michelin. Combining energy savings, safety and durability, it was designed to reduce the high energy losses associated with rolling resistance while accepting the sharp acceleration of electric cars.

Tyres account for up to 30% of energy consumption on an electric car. With each rotation of the wheel, the tyre is deformed under the weight of the load as it makes contact with the road. As its structure is deformed, the components heat up and a certain amount of energy is lost. Reducing this heat build-up makes it possible to reduce energy consumption. The Michelin ENERGY™ E-V tyre generates very little heat build-up when driving, thus lowering energy consumption. At the same time, the patch of rubber in contact with the road is capable of heating up quickly during braking, thus reducing the distance necessary to bring the car to a stop.

Drivers also contribute to range

Even more than on an ICE vehicle, drivers can maintain vehicle range in a number of simple ways:

  • Adopt eco-driving practices (anticipate, use the engine brake, adopt a reasonable approach to driving, etc.).  Applying these rules improves range by an average 16%.
  • The dashboard and R-Link multimedia connected system supply the driver with all the information necessary to manage the journey, vehicle range and charge more effectively (see paragraph below on R-Link).
  • Activate Eco mode to increase range by up to 10%.
  • Use the pre-conditioning function to heat the cabin (see part 3: Zoe takes care of passenger comfort).

 

Driving assistance from the control panel

The TFT screen on the ZOE control panel provides the driver with a continuous readout of parameters on driving style and vehicle range. It comprises:

  • a gauge indicating battery charge status and the remaining range in miles. Calculation of this figure is based on driving parameters for the last 125 miles. A reset function reduces the calculation base to the last 20 miles covered in order to estimate the remaining range based on immediate driving conditions,
  • an econometer indicating whether the vehicle is consuming or recovering energy at any given time,
  • the speed displayed in digital format and the lever positions, which resemble those of an automatic transmission (Neutral, Drive, Reverse, Park)
  • Information from the onboard computer such as the distance covered, average consumption (miles per kWh), both overall and immediate (kWh), time, outside temperature, etc.

The “driving style indicator” function changes the background colour of the TFT screen to reflect driving style: green for eco-driving, blue for neutral driving and violet for a dynamic driving style consuming more energy.

Eco-mode

This function provides reassurance. It maintains the range of ZOE by reducing the performance of the air conditioning and heating, as well as motor power. It is activated by a switch on the central console. The bottom of the TFT screen turns green and the ECO acronym appears. If the driver needs stronger acceleration, when overtaking for example, the function can be deactivated by pressing down hard on the accelerator pedal.

Two service packs for information and remote action on ZOE

Drivers of Renault ZOE may also receive information and even interact with their vehicle by means of two service packs:

“My Z.E. Connect” (standard on ZOE Expression) and “My Z.E. inter@ctive” (standard on ZOE Dynamique Intens and Dynamique Zen).

For remote information: the “my Z.E. Connect” pack

Wherever they are, drivers can consult the following information from their smart phone or computer:

  • the charge level, estimated remaining range based on the most recent driving parameters, the time of the last charge, the charge status if the vehicle is connected (in progress or not), the time remaining to complete a full charge and a monthly history* of charge data ,
  • the location of charging stations in each city
  • practical tips to make better use of the electric car and maintain its range. For example, using the pre-conditioning function to heat the cabin, adopting a smooth driving style, etc.
  • users can also receive notifications on the start or end-of charging (by e-mail) or alerts for a low battery charge or charge interruption (by email or text). 

For remote interaction with the car: the “My Z.E. inter@ctive” pack

With this pack, drivers can use a smart phone or computer to:

  • run or set the pre-conditioning function to heat the cabin,
  • start remote charging,
  • set a daily charging schedule by selecting a time slot 
  • optimise the charging schedule to make the most of lower rate electricity.

* Accessible from a PC or smart phone via the website www.services.renault-ze.com or the My Renault web portal but not via the Z.E. services dedicated app

The Chameleon charger for a faster charge

Patented by Renault, this revolutionary charger adapts to the power supply available, single-phase or three-phase, up to 43 kW. Renault ZOE can thus charge its battery to a level of 80% in 30 minutes. Chameleon also has the unique advantage of being able to charge ZOE at varying levels of power: for example, at 11 kW (a charge of around two hours) or 22 kW (80% of the battery for a one-hour charge). These intermediate power levels maintain battery service life more effectively and have less impact on the grid than a “fast” charge (43 kW). Europe currently has more than 4,000 11 or 22 kW charging stations, referred to as “fast charging stations”.

Chameleon, an innovation from Renault to develop electric vehicle use

The Chameleon charger is a solution developed by Renault to fit electric cars with a powerful onboard charger at limited cost. The basic idea is to “divert” the motor and inverter from their role in providing traction so that they also contribute to the charging of the battery.  The Junction Box, a new sub-system developed by Renault, manages the charging process, changes the alternating current to direct current and communicates with the charging station. The Chameleon charger’s Junction Box is only slightly bigger and heavier than the 3V charger found on most other electric vehicles on the market but, thanks to the use of the inverter and motor windings, charging power can reach 43 kW.

 

Fitted under the bonnet of ZOE, the Chameleon charger considerably simplifies the technology used by high-power (43kW) charging stations. Since these fast-charging stations will no longer need a built-in rectifier, they will cost just one quarter of their current price and be easier to deploy. This innovation will contribute to the development of electric vehicle use.

Charging ZOE

ZOE is equipped with a charging cable for power levels of between 3 and 22 kW. On the car, it is plugged into the socket under the logo at the front, unlocked using either the hands-free card or a switch on the left of the steering wheel. Fast-charging stations (43 kW) have a built-in cable that is plugged into the vehicle. When the cable has been plugged in, the “Z.E.” signal lights up. A blue light flashes to show that charging is underway and remains fixed when charging is complete. A red light indicates a problem in the charging process.

All versions of ZOE equipped with Renault R-Link

Renault R-Link, the integrated, connected multimedia system is fitted on all versions of ZOE from launch. Renault R-Link groups a full range of multimedia functions in a single system: navigation, radio, telephone, Bluetooth® audiostreaming, music, connections for portable devices, connected services (depending on versions), etc.

Fingertip or voice-access to main functions

Using the 7’’ touch screen or intuitive voice recognition, drivers can, for example, dictate an address to the navigation system or issue instructions: “make a phone call”, “display my apps”, “run e-mail”, etc… The Text To Speech (TTS) function enables messages and other RSS feeds from some applications to be read out loud when the car is moving.

R-Link functions dedicated to electric driving

On ZOE, Renault R-Link includes features dedicated to electric driving. The TomTom® Z.E. LIVE navigation system displays a circle showing the operational radius corresponding to vehicle range. It also informs drivers entering a destination if they have sufficient capacity to reach it. If this is not possible, it can show the way to the nearest charging station. It can also suggest the route that is most economical in terms of energy use and display charging stations (mapped by TomTom®) on the map depending on the vehicle’s geographical location or on destination).

Renault R-Link is linked to ZOE ECU, authorising other new vehicle functions. In real time, drivers can view their consumption history, or the energy flows between the battery and electricity-consuming functions such as the motor, air conditioning, heating, R-Link system, etc.

On arriving at their destination, drivers can assess their eco-driving performance by selecting the “Driving eco²” function. This function analyses driving style and gives customised tips for more “economical” driving. A comparison between journeys encourages drivers to take up the challenge of improving their eco-driving style.

R-Link connected

Renault°R-Link is also connected to the outside world and to the Internet through a built-in Edge 2.75G connection.

Connected functions, such as TomTom® LIVE services alerts, provide drivers with real-time information on traffic conditions so that they can cut journey time.

  • “TomTom® LIVE” helps drivers to choose the best route:
  • HD Traffic® is the best traffic information system on the market. It analyses traffic flows over sections of just a few dozen metres. Right from the start of the journey, it gives a precise time of arrival.
  • TomTom® Places, the largest location database (updated in real time via the internet) helps drivers find a specific place or the address of a service nearby or in a given city.
  • Weather provides a three-day weather forecast.
  • Up-to date speed camera locations and warnings.

Renault R-Link Store, an original automotive apps store

With around fifty applications available from launch (depending on country), R-Link Store offers a range of applications and services that is without competition. Exploring a full range of fields, from general or theme-based information (tourism, sport, female interest, culture, etc.) to vehicle-linked apps (Renault Assistance, e-guide: interactive vehicle

manual), via community applications, e-mail and social networks, the R-Link Store catalogue is set to grow quickly. To deploy a range of apps for automotive use, Renault worked with a number of partners: development companies as well as start-ups founded by young entrepreneurs in the field of connected services.

R-Link Store apps

  • Communication: e-mails, social networks, online navigator, etc.
  • Route optimisation: identification of parking places, etc.
  • Practical information: weather forecasts, diary, yellow pages, hotels, restaurants etc.
  • Emergencies: emergency calls, Renault Assistance.
  • Mobility: multi-modal journeys, public transport.
  • Budget: insurance per kilometre, Renault tips, etc.
  • Use: servicing follow-up, users’ manuals, etc.
  • Entertainment: games, information, tourism, customization, etc.
  • Business: fleet management, round management, remote diagnosis, teleworking, expenses notes, etc.

For the launch of ZOE, Renault is offering buyers a passport to the online world, to help them get used to R-Link:

  • connected services free for three months: TomTom® Live and Coyote Series,
  • a number of applications free for three years (on Zen and Intens, optional on Life): e-mail, R-Link Tweet, weather, Renault Assistance. This offer will gradually grow with new apps.

as well as access to the R-Link Store for three years (on Zen and Intens) in order to download, from the car, more than fifty apps available from launch, depending on the country.

3. ZOE TAKES CARE OF PASSENGER COMFORT

Renault ZOE ships with a wide range of features dedicated to comfort. For example, the cabin can be pre-heated to the right temperature (22°C) before the driver gets in. The air breathed in inside the car is cleaner, and the air

conditioning maintains a sufficient level of moisture in the air to avoid dry skin. 

ZOE sets the right temperature

With the pre-conditioning function, the cabin of ZOE is heated or cooled to the right temperature (set at 22°C) at the time specified by the driver. This function, which can be set from the car’s R-Link tablet or remotely from a computer or smart phone, heats or cools the cabin of ZOE when the car is connected to a charging station. The energy required to reach the desired temperature is therefore drawn directly from the socket and not from the battery, thus maintaining the range of ZOE.

When the driver starts moving, the air conditioning or heating function simply maintains the set temperature without having to increase power to make up for a significant difference in temperature levels.

Even if ZOE is not connected, the pre-conditioning function can still be activated immediately, but only for a period of five minutes. This can be done in two ways:

  • pressing the dedicated button on the hands-free card,
  • via a smart phone or PC. 

The air breathed by the occupants of ZOE is cleaner

An activated carbon particle filter purifies the air in the cabin, absorbing most unpleasant smells and pollutants.  Made up of electrostatic layers and activated carbon, the filter traps ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, toluene, benzene and hydrocarbon particles (dust, pollen). It also filters out contaminants of just a few microns in size, such as pollen or soot.

Intelligent air conditioning that does not dry the skin out

Extensive use of conventional air conditioning can make the skin feel dry. The air conditioning of ZOE automatically adjusts the level of humidity in the cabin for a more comfortable feel.

Cabin certified by TÜV Rheinland

TÜV Rheinland, a recognized, independent organization certifies that all the materials used to manufacture the cabin of ZOE fully respect the “TÜV Rheinland LGA Products GmbH”. These criteria were designed to minimize any risk of allergic reactions. The chemical components analysed include:

  • volatile organic compounds,
  • any chemical substances that could cause skin or respiratory allergies,
  • smells,

Moreover, this certification also guarantees the efficiency of the pollen filter on ZOE against particles that could affect the purity and quality of the air. 

“Take care by Renault” features (only available on ZOE Dynamique Zen)

Along with the pre-conditioning and the filter described above, the “Take Care” pack comprises:

  • a toxicity sensor that detects high levels of pollution and activates an automatic air recirculation function in the cabin,
  • a purifying and relaxing air ionizer. The purifying function destroys bacteria such as fungi, allergens and germs present in the cabin air. The relaxing function generates negative ions to restore the balance with the positive ions that are present in high concentrations in confined spaces,
  • an active scent diffuser with relaxing or simulating properties. Two scents are available for ZOE: “Cocooning flower” and “Calming ylang”. There are three possible strength settings for the scents, which are diffused periodically to avoid saturating the air. The active efficiency of these scents was proved in a study conducted by the German institute Psyrecon in December 2011, involving 60 participants. (Psyrecon is a German institute specializing in psycho-physiological scientific studies) The scents were developed by the company Firmenich®, which supplies concentrates to the world’s leading perfume manufacturers. Six other active scents are also available in after-sales (recharge cartridges) as well as from the website www.renault.fr (Renault Boutique page), where they can be ordered on line,
  • Teflon® upholstery to make it easier to clean the seats. This invisible, odourless treatment makes the fabric waterproof and stain-proof.  

Renault has also innovated in vehicle servicing. Given that light colours may attract dirt, ZOE is available with an easy cleaning kit (Dynamique Zen version only). The kit contains a cleaning product specially adapted to the plastics and grain finish of the cabin surfaces in ZOE.

TAKE CARE BY RENAULT, the Renault signature for well-being and comfort

Introduced with Renault Latitude, the “Take Care” signature is a promise of premium onboard features promoting well-being and comfort. The Dynamique Zen version of ZOE carries this signature.

4. AN ENJOYABLE AND RELAXING DRIVE

Renault ZOE is a lively vehicle, easy to handle and fun to drive, with a chassis tailored to the specific characteristics of electric vehicles and specially tuned steering, tyres and shock absorbers. ZOE is a reassuring vehicle that performs consistently on all types of journey: in the city and on the open road (around the city and motorways). As an electric car, it is quiet and restful to drive, with no engine noise or vibrations.

An architecture dedicated to electric driving

Renault ZOE is based on the “B” platform already used by around twenty Alliance models including New Renault Clio. The front suspension, which is shared with New Clio, is of the McPherson type, associated with a lower wishbone arm. The sub-frame and lower suspension arms are taken from the next segment up (Mégane) for increased comfort and more precise steering. The rear suspension features a programmed-deflection flexible beam. It is the most robust in the Renault group in order to take the weight of the battery positioned in the chassis. It has been optimised for greater comfort, with the addition of polyurethane bump stops for better damping.

Dynamic features for greater drivability

The synchronous electric motor with rotor coil delivers excellent energy efficiency in all phases of use. With output of 65 kW (88 hp), it produces maximum torque of 220 Nm almost instantly, in less than one hundredth of a second, for strong acceleration and pick-up from the lowest engine speeds. It takes just four seconds to accelerate from 0 to 50kph, a frequent requirement in city driving.

The position of the battery under the floor helps to balance the weight between front and rear (59 % / 41 % when stationary) for better traction. Compared with the Clio 3 platform, the centre of gravity is 35 mm lower, the tracks 16 mm wider and the torsional stiffness of the platform increased by 55%, thus improving the stability and road behaviour of Renault ZOE.

The steering is precise and easy to handle. Renault ZOE features the linking rods of Clio Renaultsport, a car reputed for the quality of its steering, with rubber sub-frame mounting points specially developed for more dynamic behaviour. The low steering ratio (2.71 turns lock to lock) combined with a power steering motor from the next segment up improves handling and driving pleasure.

A calmer, more restful drive

Acceleration is smooth and linear with no stumbling, thanks to the reduction gear, which transmits the rotational speed of the motor to the wheels, without a clutch system or converter. For the driver, the effect is like having the best automatic gearbox on the market.

The onboard silence and absence of vibrations are restful for the driver. The car is particularly quiet at speeds of up to 25mph. Beyond this speed, the main noises heard come from the wheels on the road and the flow of air over the bodywork. The noise level measured in the cabin of ZOE between 25 and 50mph is between 60 and 65 dB, which is between two and three times less than an ICE vehicle of equivalent power.

The onboard calm lets drivers take full advantage of the listening quality delivered by the onboard audio system. Renault ZOE ships with 3D Sound by Arkamys® on the Zen and Intens versions. Using digital signal processing software, this system creates a spatialisation effect, giving increased depth and relief to the sound heard. Drivers can select sound zones in the cabin: driver alone, the first row or the whole vehicle.

For peaceful, stress-free driving, when approaching urban areas, ZOE ships with Z.E. Voice: an exterior sound to warn pedestrians of the oncoming vehicle and enable them to estimate its speed, since the frequency varies with the speed of the car. Z.E. Voice is active at speeds of between 1 and 18mph. The car is silent when stationary. Special design studies were conducted on the sound in order to create a sound identity corresponding to the character of ZOE. It was developed in association with the Sound Perception and Design Team at the research institute IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique / Musique). Drivers can choose between three sounds: “Pure”, “Glam” and “Sport”. The system can be turned off simply by pressing a button. It comes back on automatically when the driver starts the car again.

All Renault ZOE models ship with hill-start assist for easy starting on slopes. This system holds the car stable on a slope for a few seconds, while the driver releases the brake and starts to accelerate.

To ensure a relaxing experience over the longer term, the electric motor is “maintenance-free”, waterproof, and requires no lubrication. The servicing costs of an electric vehicle are up to 20% lower than those of an ICE vehicle. No timing belt, air filter or fuel filter to be replaced, and no oil changes.

5. ZERO COMPROMISES ON QUALITY AND SAFETY

ZOE carries all of Renault’s expertise and know-how in safety and quality written into its genes. Renault ranks among the best full-line manufacturers for reliability and is recognized to meet high standards in safety. As part of the development process, ZOE underwent the same function approval tests as an ICE vehicle, along with further tests specific to electric models.

Perceived quality in order to build appeal

Perceived quality contributes to making a car appealing and robust, and was therefore a key concern for Renault throughout the ZOE design process. The design and perceived quality teams worked together to showcase the design of ZOE. The LED daytime-running lights, the charging socket on the front end with the “Z.E” diodes, the full contour lines and the lighting technology are just a few of the features contributing to the overall perceived quality of ZOE. The bonnet cut-out also highlights the design of the grille and headlamps. Concerning quality of finish, key points include:

  • the particular emphasis on gap and flush on the bodywork,
  • a radius of curvature of less than 2 mm,
  • the significantly smaller space between the tyre and the wheel arch.

Inside the car, particular efforts have been made concerning the quality of finish and assembly. The design contributes to the overall impression of strength. The dashboard strip uses an attractive material that is soft to the touch.

Production quality at the Flins plant

Renault ZOE is built at the Flins plant alongside New Renault Clio and to the same high standards of build quality. In particular, requirements have been tightened up concerning the processing of minor defects at the end of the assembly line in order to improve perceived quality.

 

ZOE, tested from all angles

Renault ZOE was driven for 850,000 km in order to test dynamic performance, carry out fine-tuning, and assess reliability and durability in all driving conditions. The car was spared nothing during tests: extreme temperatures, dryness, humidity, rough surfaces, dust and gravel. In the list of points for inspection, particular emphasis was placed on the performance of the battery and electric motor. Tests carried out in conditions of extreme cold (up to -20°C) in Kiruna (Sweden) confirmed the battery’s resistance to the cold.

Everyday handling

Like the other vehicles in the range, Renault ZOE also underwent the EDAU range of tests (from the French acronym for tests of durability in appearance and use). Introduced in 2010, the tests reproduce everyday handling over a period of two months in order to simulate three years in the life of the vehicle. The results of these tests placed ZOE among the best on the market for durability of appearance.

 

Sealing tests

The various sealing tests are part of the common core of Renault tests: washing with high-pressure jets, test in a shower cubicle simulating rainfall of all types up to 800mm/h (on-site rain test and maximum rainfall known worldwide). The car was even tested in 40 centimetres of water at a speed of 10 kph with the battery totally immersed in order to ensure that failure would not occur.

EDAU tests carried out on Renault ZOE

  • 22,000 actions: getting in and out of the driver’s seat,
  • 23,000 handbrake manoeuvres,
  • 14,000 actions: raising and lowering the front windows,
  • 8,000 actions: opening and closing the tailgate
  • 3,100 actions: opening and closing the charge flap

Electric motor tests

The electric motor of Renault ZOE was developed and tested at the Lardy technical centre, France. All electrotechnical and characterization tests (speed, torque), simulation of road cycles and endurance (heat and vibration) were carried out on a ZOE “5A generation 2” motor. The tests, carried out over a period of between eight and twelve weeks, correspond to 20 years of normal use.

Battery tests

The batteries for Renault electric vehicles are tested in a 2,500m² electrical test facility at the Lardy centre. Their mechanical and chemical endurance, reliability and performance over time are all assessed.

Charging infrastructure tests

Renault conducted a campaign to test the public charging infrastructure in eleven European countries. The aim was to list charging stations, escalate information on any operating defects and ensure that conditions are right for the launch of Renault ZOE.

A more extensive warranty than for ICE vehicles

ZOE benefits from Renault’s 4+ programme:

  • 4 years/48,000 miles free servicing
  • 4 years/100,000 mile warranty
  • 4 years roadside assistance
  • 4 years finance available

In addition, all Renault Z.E. models have the following additional cover:

  • Electric powertrain warranty: 5 years / 100,000 miles
  • Lifetime battery warranty: within the rental contract, the battery must always be operational and with a charge capacity greater than 75% of its initial capacity. If one of these two points is not satisfied, the battery is replaced free of charge.

 

Zero compromises on safety

Renault ZOE inherits all Renault’s safety-related know-how and techniques. The structure of ZOE and the battery pack have been reinforced to protect the occupants and the battery in the event of impact. For greater safety, an electronic system continuously monitors the state of each cell (the basic component of the battery) and switches off the current immediately if necessary.

 

Renault ZOE has been awarded a five-star rating following the passive safety tests carried out by Euro NCAP, despite the harsher noting system introduced by this independent body in January 2013. The score achieved by ZOE provides further evidence of Renault’s expertise in the realm of passive safety.

 

Renault ZOE obtained an overall score of 82 per cent (including the maximum rating for pedestrian safety) and consequently figures among the very best models in its segment.

 

In addition to this formal recognition, Renault ZOE is an eloquent ambassador of the Fix4sure system and delivers reassuring dynamics thanks to its precise, responsive chassis. As an electric vehicle, it is equipped with a system that provides an audible warning of its approach. The sound emitted was developed in association with organisations for blind and visually-impaired people. Renault ZOE’s safety performance is amply comparable with that of an internal combustion-engined vehicle, confirming its status as a genuine car.

A holistic approach for optimal protection of all occupants

Renault ZOE shares the same platform as New Clio, so it was only normal for it to target the same high level of safety as the celebrated internal combustion-engined supermini. To achieve this result, Renault has developed solutions that take on-board its extensive research into real-world accidents and driving behaviours to ensure the protection of all occupants. To guarantee even more effective protection, its electronic architecture was designed to ensure that its latest-generation protective systems are triggered extremely quickly.

 

Adult occupant protection

In a head-on impact, Renault ZOE’s front occupants are protected by two high-efficiency airbags, as well as seat cushion airbags, along with seat belts equipped with pretensioners and load limiters set at 400daN. At the rear, all seats are equipped three three-point seat belts, plus load limiters for the two outer seats.

 

Meanwhile, Fix4sure technology is a Renault innovation that has been developed to combat submarining (whereby passengers slide beneath their seat belt in a head-on impact). All Renault ZOE’s occupants are protected against this phenomenon thanks to a special hump in each seat cushion, as well as by the low position of the seat belt buckles, along with seat cushion airbags for the driver and front passenger.

 

Because the sides of a car benefit from relatively less protection, side-on impacts are a frequent cause of fatal injuries, but specific work has produced spectacular results to achieve the maximum score of eight points. To respond up to twice as quickly, Renault ZOE features two side-impact detection sensors (in the front doors and at the foot of the B-pillars). A specific algorithm adjusts the speed at which the new-generation head-thorax airbags are deployed to match the severity of the impact.

 

Combined with the results of the pole and rear impact tests, this score helped Renault ZOE to obtain 32 points from a possible 36 for adult protection, which is one of the best results ever obtained in the small car segment.

 

Child protection

Thanks to the overall design of its structure and the availability of three-point Isofix child seat anchorage for the front passenger seat and outer rear seats, Renault ZOE’s child protection rating figures among the very best in the B segment with a score of 39 points out of a possible 49, despite the fact that the evaluation procedure’s severity has been stepped up.

 

Renault ZOE: segment leader for pedestrian protection

The front end of ZOE was designed to minimise injury to pedestrians. The bumper has no salient edges, while the lower part of the windscreen, which is traditionally very rigid, was designed to reduce the risk of injury in an impact. Meanwhile, the height of the bonnet is raised in order to accommodate a crumple zone between the structure and the uppermost parts of the engine. Thanks to a score of 24 points out of 36, Renault ZOE has emerged as the best car in its class in terms of pedestrian protection, too.

 

Safety in its genes… plus equipment

Renault ZOE is equipped with cruise control and a speed limiter as standard, as well as audible and visual seat belt reminder warnings for all seats, plus ESC. It was awarded the maximum score of eight points for this part of the evaluation process, again despite the increased severity of the criteria employed.

 

A pragmatic approach and real engagement

Renault’s approach to safety is founded on a detailed study of actual accidents and real world safety with a view to proposing products that correspond with the realities on the road, including the incorporation of safety equipment as standard from the very first equipment level. The priorities consequently focus on the development of the most efficient technologies to a) prevent an accident happening in the first place, b) ensure that corrective action can be taken in unexpected situations and c) protect passengers when an impact does occur. Renault’s holistic approach does not boil down to just one equipment feature or technology. Over the years, Renault has emerged as a benchmark for automotive safety and this is also mirrored in the results its models have secured in media ratings.

 

When it comes to active safety, the qualities of the chassis, combined with auto-adaptive digitalisation of the vehicle’s dynamics, permit emergency situations to be detected with precision. The ABS and ESC functions, which are both standard, are even more efficient and are triggered at just the right moment to prevent jarring. The emergency brake assist function is incorporated in an electronic control unit/hydraulic unit.

 

Last but by no means least, work on ergonomics means that drivers are able to concentrate on the road ahead. For greater comfort, the legibility of instruments has been designed to be particularly clear and graphical. Renault ZOE also benefits from modern driving aids such as advanced navigation, voice commands for certain functions with the R-Link multimedia system, the automation of tasks such as headlight and windscreen wiper activation, plus rear parking sensors and even a reversing camera for certain versions. All versions of Renault ZOE are equipped with Bluetooth® telephony.

 

“Abusive” battery tests

As batteries are sensitive vehicle components, they underwent particularly severe forms of torture in the form of so-called “abusive” tests at the Lardy battery test centre. They were spared nothing in tests by fire, immersion, combustion, overload, external short circuit, loosening, compression, dropping, excess pressure and a nail test, which involves sticking a nail into the middle of a cell. All in pursuit of a single objective: no compromises on safety.

 

Tertiary safety, also a priority

Tertiary safety (the safety of the occupants after an accident) is also a priority for Renault, which provides support for the emergency services during operations or at an earlier stage during training. Eighteen months before the launch of the first electric vehicles, fire fighters from the Paris region were involved in drafting the guide issued by Renault for the emergency services, with recommendations for operations involving electric vehicles (checking the type of energy, disconnecting the 400V circuit, disconnecting the 12V battery, techniques for freeing passengers, operations on vehicles that are burning or under water, etc.). Since then, Renault has continued cooperation with the fire services.

 

Renault guides for emergency and assistance services are available free of charge from the www.infotech.renault.com website, for each vehicle in the Renault Z.E. range. Fire extinction tests conducted with the fire services in the Paris region showed the efficiency of conventional means of extinction: water puts out the fire with no undesirable side-effects.

6. ZOE MARKS A NEW STAGE IN RENAULT’S ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENTS

The electric vehicle programme led by ZOE is the spearhead of Renault’s eco² environmental policy. It is contributing to the commitments pursued by the Renault group as part of the strategic plan “Renault 2016 – Drive the Change”: to cut its global carbon footprint by 10% in 2013 and a further 10% between 2013 and 2016.

Zero emissions in use

Like all electric vehicles, ZOE emits no CO2, NOx, carbon monoxide, small particles, smells or engine noise when on the road (excluding wear parts). Electric cars thus have a positive impact in the city, where they contribute to improving air quality and reducing urban noise.

 

With the introduction of tighter regulations on pollutant emissions (Euro 1 through to Euro 6), air quality in the city is improving, but this progress depends on the renewal rate of the local vehicle parc. The gradual integration of electric vehicles will speed up improvements in air quality. With electric vehicles making up 20% of the urban vehicle parc, concentrations of pollutant emissions could be slashed by between 20 and 40%, depending on the pollutant.

 

Electric vehicles set to increase their impact on the carbon footprint

Well-to-wheel emissions of CO2 depend on how countries generate their electricity. Based on the energy mix in Europe, ZOE emits 58g of CO2 / km, compared with 89g for the new Toyota Prius..  Based on the UK energy mix, ZOE emits around 54 g/km of CO2.

 

In 2010, in Europe, 18% of electricity was generated from renewable sources, and this figure is set to grow with the increased use of renewable sources in the electricity generation mix. Eurelectric, the association representing the electricity industry in Europe, expects to see a 15% fall in the carbon dioxide intensity (g CO2/kWh) of electricity in France and Europe between 2010 and 2020. And this progress will have a positive and immediate impact for all existing electric vehicles, unlike for ICE vehicles, where upgrades in technology bring no immediate benefits for all the cars already on the road.

 

ZOE will have 55% local content when fitted with the Renault electric motor produced at Cléon. This figure, which is set to increase in the coming years, will contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of logistics aspects.

 

Rome – modelling the impact of electric vehicles on air quality in the city

In 2012, Renault joined forces with the municipality of Rome and the companies Aria Technologies and Arianet, which specialise in modelling atmospheric pollution. The aim was to quantify the health benefits of electric vehicles in the city.

Two scenarios were simulated and compared:

  • Maintaining the existing parc through to 2020
  • Introducing 20% of electric vehicles in the city centre and 10% around the city. The study took account of the drop in local emissions caused by electric vehicles and the impact on emissions linked to generating additional electricity.

 

Conclusions show that scenario 2 delivers clear health benefits compared with scenario 1. Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) would fall by between 9 and 25% depending on the season, and up to 45% on main roads, while concentrations of particles (PM10) would fall by up to 30%. Over half of the population in the historic city centre would be protected from a level of benzene exposure greater than 2 μg / m3 (value recommended by France’s Conseil Supérieur d’Hygiène Publique (public health authority). Variations of small particules concentrations (%)

 

“Charging eco²”, to cut charging costs and emissions

“Charging eco²” is an innovative connected service developed by Renault to help drivers charge their vehicle in the right way and at the right time. This charge scheduling assistant lets drivers select periods of cheap energy with a small carbon footprint, and to avoid peak hours.

 

This service, which is available in the “My Z.E. inter@ctive” pack can be accessed from the website https://www.services.renault-ze.com. A colour-coded bar on the driver’s weekly charge schedule shows the scale of prices, peak hours and CO2 emissions for electricity, hour by hour. Drivers can then enter their own time requirements along with the electricity prices linked to their contract, and specify the required weighting between “price” and “CO2” emissions. An algorithm using databases developed by Renault for each country, then displays optimised time slots and specifies the annual savings in euros, kg of CO2, and the number of peak hours avoided.

 

Renault’s approach to battery recycling, an integral part of the electric vehicle’s ecosystem

Renault has put in place an organization covering all the countries in which it sells electric vehicles, in order to process end-of-life batteries in a way that respects both the environment and applicable legislation. This approach is reflected in the first partnership contract signed with the company Umicore, a global leader in the recycling of lithium-ion batteries.

 

Damaged or end-of-life batteries are collected and sent to diagnosis centres, where they are sorted and selected either for re-use outside the automotive industry or for full recycling. If the battery cannot be removed, the car is sent to an approved breaker.

 

The first stage in the recycling process is to dismantle the battery sub-assemblies down to the modules, a little like a “Russian doll”. Sometimes, on a 250 kg battery, just 10 kg will be sent for end-of-life treatment and the other 240 kg reused. Apart from the modules, all components are recycled using conventional processes (steel, plastic, etc.). The modules, made up of groups of cells, are processed by companies specializing in battery recycling.

 

Since 2011, Umicore has been responsible for processing batteries from Renault electric vehicles. It uses a pyrometallurgical process for the modules and cells, followed by a hydrometallurgical process for metal recovery. This process meets the targets set by European regulations: a recycling-recovery rate of over 85% for electric vehicles and over 50% for the battery.

 

7. A BRIEF PRACTICAL GUIDE TO ELECTRIC CARS

Where can you buy and service ZOE?

  • In the UK, Renault ZOE can be purchased from any Renault sales point, and all dealers equipped with service facilities will be able to service the car.   In addition to this, all Main Dealers will offer charging facilities for ZOE drivers.

“Z.E.” compatibility

Sales people in the Renault network will ask prospective customers to complete a questionnaire to establish their “Z.E. compatibility”. The objective is to make sure that buyers will be able to continue their usual everyday journeys with an electric vehicle and that their home is suitable for installing a Wall-Box. If this is not the case, sales people will suggest an ICE vehicle. Customer satisfaction is a key priority for Renault.

Switching to an electric car is simple with the Z.E. box

The Z.E. Box, Renault’s “all-in-one” offer, greatly simplifies the switch to electric driving. It comprises four strands:

  • Z.E. Car: purchase of the vehicle with the options and accessories selected by the customer.
  • Z.E. Battery: several rental options (annual mileage /duration of agreement) are available, in order to satisfy drivers’ specific requirements.
  • Z.E. Charge: ZOE is charged primarily from a Wall-Box (3 kW minimum), for a charge taking between three and nine hours. With Wallbox Included, ZOE customers will be able to benefit from a 7kW wallbox fitted at a domestic property included with their car.  The charging cable delivered with the car can be connected to public charging stations (standard or fast charge).
  • Z.E. Services:
    • A guarantee of mobility for long journeys: preferential rates from Enterprise  for the short-term rental of an ICE vehicle for occasional longer journeys.

Charging Renault ZOE

In 90% of cases, customers will charge their vehicle from their “home base” using a Wall-Box. This is the solution preferred by customers since it is usually an overnight operation and saves them having to make a detour when on the road. Trials carried out in nine countries around the world show that customers charge their vehicles no more than two to three times a week on average, once they are used to its range.

 

Nevertheless, if drivers wish to charge their car away from its daily charging point, they can use a public charging station. These stations are gradually becoming more common on streets and in shopping centre car parks, managed car parks, service stations, etc.

The number of kilometres saved depends on the power of the station (between 3 and 43 kW). With its onboard Chameleon charger, ZOE is able to take full advantage of the station’s power for a charge taking between 30 minutes and nine hours, using a single socket on the front of the car.

 

These stations are gradually being rolled out across all European countries. At end-2012, Europe had some 20,000 public charging stations, a rise of 50% on end-2011. To promote this deployment, Renault has established many partnerships with, for example, the E. Leclerc supermarket chain, Vinci Park and Unibail Rodamco (shopping centres in Europe).

 

UK Government measures to support uptake of Electric Vehicles

In addition to the 25% (up to £5,000) support already available to purchasers of electric vehicles in the UK, the Government has also recently announced a £37m package of funding aimed at increasing the uptake of Electric Vehicles.  This is split into four areas:

  • £13.5 million to help homeowners wishing to have a charging point at their private home
  • £11 million to help local authorities to install on-street charging for residents that do not have off-street parking and install rapid chargers at strategic locations
  • Up to £9 million to fund charging points at railway stations
  • Up to £3 million will be used to install charging points on the government and wider public estate by April 2015 

 

A unique advantage: lifetime assistance for all failures

This assistance, included in battery rental and valid for the duration of the contract, is operative 24/7. It applies to all types of failure: energy failures, failures relating to the electric powertrain, to the battery or to the car.

  • The range, which is between two and three times higher than day-to-day requirements in most cases, should make battery failure exceptional. Nevertheless, if the car runs out of power, drivers will be able to simply call the assistance service, which will tow them to a charging station within a radius of 80 km.
  • In the event of a technical breakdown taking the car off the road, it will be towed to a Z.E. expert centre. A mobility solution will be made available to drivers so that they can reach their destination (courtesy vehicle, taxi, accommodation, etc.)