New 2014 Renault ZOE offering in france

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A host of new offerings will be added to the Renault ZOE range in France on March 4:

  • New charging solutions, with the “Flexi Charger”, a new cable that can be connected to domestic wall sockets, a new “Green’Up Access”, offering an alternative to the 3 kW Wallbox, and a new 7 kW Wallbox.
  • Long-term hire solutions from €169 per month.
  • A restructured range that will make the ZEN version more affordable.
  • A single hotline number, 008 008 RENAULT, to answer all our customers’ questions.

 

Shortly after celebrating its first birthday in the chateau in Versailles on January 27, Renault ZOE is back in the headlines with the announcement of a bundle of new offerings, due for launch on March 4. The purpose of the launch is to better meet customers’ expectations and to consolidate ZOE’s leading position on the French market.

 

A comprehensive range of charging solutions

The major new solution is the Flexi Charger, a cable that will come as standard with Renault ZOE and is flexible on two counts:

  • When connected to a reinforced Legrand Green’Up Access socket, this cable can be used to charge Renault ZOE at 14 amps, meaning that the car can be completely charged in about 10 hours. The Green’Up Access socket, which must be installed by an accredited professional, offers an alternative to the 3 kW Wallbox. This solution means that your vehicle’s battery is fully charged every morning. For installations, Renault recommends its partner Proxiserve, France’s leading residential service provider. Proxiserve proposes competitively-priced installation packs and commits to meetings its deadlines.
  • The other advantage of the Flexi Charger is that it can be used to plug Renault ZOE into a conventional 220V domestic socket (which must be earthed) for top-ups at 10 amps. Charging for 3 hours is enough to cover 25km. The Flexi Charger will also be available as an accessory for customers who already own a Renault ZOE for 590 € including taxes.

Starting March 4th, ZOE now comes as standard with:

  • The charging cable, compatible with public charging stations and Wallboxes,
  • the Flexi Charger and the Green’Up Access, excluding installation costs.

 

Also new in 2014 is the 7 kW Wallbox, for customers who want to charge their car more quickly than with the Green’Up Access. This new Wallbox fully charges the car at 32 amps in about 4 hours.
Customers can now choose between the four following options as part of a Proxiserve installation pack:

  •  the Green’Up Access plug included in the price of Renault ZOE, excluding installation
  • the indoor Schneider Electric 3 kW Wallbox for €490 euros, including tax, excluding installation
  • the indoor Schneider Electric 7 kW Wallbox for €690 euros, including tax, excluding installation
  • the outdoor Hager 3 kW or 7 kW Wallbox for €690, excluding installation.

Proxiserve’s installation charges start at €300, depending on the configuration of the residence and the customer’s electric system.

 

Renault ZOE from €169 / month

 On March 4, Renault ZOE will be available for long-term hire from €169 per month for 36 months and 15,000 km, following an initial down payment of €2,975, after deduction of the €6,300 eco-bonus including the Z.E. Access battery hire pack for 1250 km/quarter or about 5000km/year , this comprehensive offer includes:

  • the hire of a Renault ZOE Life, fitted with a charging cable, a Flexi Charger and a Green’Up Access plug, excluding installation costs,
  • the hire of a battery, including comprehensive assistance for all breakdowns, including energy failures.

 
For clients driving more kilometers, Renault ZOE will also be on offer as part of a long-term hire deal for €199 per month for 37 months and 37 500 km.
These offers are limited to private individuals.

 

A more progressive range structure

To add more clarity and consistency with the rest of its offering, Renault has reviewed the structure of the ZOE range. Three versions are now on offer: LIFE, ZEN and INTENS. Renault ZOE LIFE will be on offer for €15,190, including tax, excluding the battery hire and after deduction of the €6,300 eco-bonus. This makes Renault ZOE the most feature-rich electric vehicle on the market at this price, with the following equipment included as standard:

  • a Caméléon charger that accepts all charging powers, from 2 to 43 KW, for charging between 30 mn and 10 hours,
  • a charging cable on Wallbox and public Infrastructure,
  • a Flexi Charger,
  • a Green’Up Access plug, excluding the installation costs.

A single hotline number

Renault is providing direct telephone access to a team of dedicated experts who can give precise answers to the questions asked by its customers and prospects interested in an electric vehicle. The number is 008 008 RENAULT, or 008 008 736 28 58.

Charlie Bit the family Renault ZOE EV

[Featuring the the ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ Family]

Screenshot_BitFinger_ZOE_YouTube_cWe were very lucky to be asked by Renault for the family to try out their new battery-powered car and make a fun video about it. The other lucky thing is that we did not need to do the filming ourselves. We are usually a really big family of six but Rupert, who is our youngest, was with his grandparents for the day, leaving us still a big-sized family of five.

The idea was to see if the Renault ZOE was a great family car. So what else should we do than pack in a really busy day visiting a number of places all over the county. We also thought the only way of doing videos the way we do videos was to spoof perhaps the most famous of car programmes ‘Top Gear’ (more on that next week). We all had great fun, enjoyed the car and we loved the way the videos turned out and are therefore proud to share these with you.

Source: YouTube

Living with the Renault ZOE EV #3

Learning the foibles of our Public Charging Infrastructure

Screenshot_Video3_ZOE_Alloam_c

In this video I am comparing charging at a “Rapid” 43kW AC / 50kW DC charger and at a “Fast” 22kW AC charger. For the details of the 43kW charging see my previous post ‘ZOE Charging Curve (APT Rapid)‘. The long and short of it is that the 22kW charger is providing a faster charging rate than the charger that is rated at almost twice the capacity: 20.9kW vs 17.8kW.

Comparison of 43kW and 22kW APT Charge Points – State of Charge (Image: alloam)
Comparison of 43kW and 22kW APT Charge Points – State of Charge (Image: alloam)

These chargers are both made by APT, both on the Charge Your Car network, but one is not living up to its “Rapid” name. I have found that all the “Rapid” 43kW chargers I have used on the Charge Your Car network are providing about this same charge rate. Something is very wrong. As an owner of a car that can take advantage of the full 43kW supply that should be available, this is very frustrating.

Comparison of 43kW and 22kW APT Charge Points – kWh Provided (Image: alloam)
Comparison of 43kW and 22kW APT Charge Points – kWh Provided (Image: alloam)

Other than these public infrastructure gremlins, life with the ZOE remains a lot of fun. And for 90% of our motoring these are not issues, but for those occasional longer drives, then the Rapid chargers really need to live up to their name.

ZOE Charging Curve (Ecotricity 43kW)

Charging at Newport Pagnell 43kW Charge Point (Image: T. Larkum)
Charging at Newport Pagnell 43kW Charge Point (Image: T. Larkum)

Despite the regular problems I have had with public charging points (see The Pain of Public Charging 5 and previous episodes) I have had little trouble with my home charging point. The exception is that occasionally it doesn’t charge overnight when using the ZOE’s built-in R-Link timer app. The majority of these occasions have been on a Saturday evening and it has been speculated in the forum that the charging requires a connection to the Renault online services to start, but Renault does some server maintenance on a Saturday night that prevents it.

Normally this lack of charging causes us little inconvenience as we don’t tend to use the car much on a Sunday (though one time the resulting extra daytime charging required made us late for an appointment). Last week, however, the ZOE failed to charge on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning leaving me with insufficient charge to get to work and back. I didn’t panic, as this area (around Milton Keynes and Northampton) is quite well provided for with Ecotricity fast chargers. Instead I decided to return home after work along the M1, rather than my usual cross-country route, so I could use the Newport Pagnell fast charger (plus there are also 22kW charge points there as back-ups).

Unfortunately, it turned out to be not quite as straightforward as the range remaining on leaving work was barely enough for the journey to the services. Combined with a wrong turn, that then took me through a traffic jam from a broken down lorry, I was limping along the motorway (with the range remaining display alarming) by the time I got to the services. I had been driving at about 30-40mph on the motorway to eke out some range and that had clearly annoyed lorry drivers, as they hadn’t failed to let me know.

Anyway, this is by way of being a long preamble to say that getting to a fast charger with little charge remaining gave me an ideal opportunity for me to repeat my charging curve testing on a 43kW charge point. I sat in the car while it charged and recorded the state of charge (SOC), and its predicted end of charge time, every minute. The results, equivalent to those from last time, are shown in Figures 1 and 2 respectively.

Figure 1: ZOE Ecotricity 43kW Charge Curve (Image: T. Larkum)
Figure 1: ZOE Ecotricity 43kW Charge Curve (Image: T. Larkum)

One thing to note is that it never achieved 100%, only 99%. I waited for an hour after it reached 99% before giving up and ‘pulling the plug’. It seems to me that it’s not a meaningful fast charge if you have to wait more than twice as long for it to finalise the charge as to do the bulk of it! This confirms my previous view that if you’re in a rush you should just charge to 99% and then move on. Of course, I may have got very close to 100% and I’ll never know if it was just about to display that when I unplugged. Certainly I noted that when I restarted the car it claimed to be 100% charged.

The prediction for the charge duration was less erratic than before, but the general point that it is not worth much until the charging is well underway still applies. As before, it tends to be pessimistic.

Figure 2: Charge Completion Prediction – Actual was 99% after 35mins (Image: T. Larkum)
Figure 2: Charge Completion Prediction – Actual was 99% after 35mins (Image: T. Larkum)

The SOC curve is more of a straight line than I had expected. I previously had the impression that it slowed down significantly towards the end, above about 85%, but that isn’t borne out by the chart – perhaps that was just my impatience waiting for charges to complete. Instead there appears to be a slight slowdown above about 70%, though the change is subtle. There is then clearly another slowdown above 90%, but even then not so much that it would be worth stopping prematurely (before 99%) unless you were very short of time.

If, for now, we consider ‘fully charged’ to be 99% SOC then we can see that that was achieved after 35 minutes. The charging started at 8%, so the charge point provided 91% of a full charge in that time. The nominal capacity of the battery is 22kWh, so we can deduce that the charge point was supplying at an average of 34kW (0.91 * (60/35) * 22).

More interesting, however, is to look at each of the three apparent main sections of the curve. For these the power provided is as follows:

  • First section, from time zero to 20 minutes (8% to 72% SOC): 42kW.
  • Second section, from 20 to 27 minutes (72% to 89% SOC): 32kW.
  • Third section, from 27 to 35 minutes (89% to 99% SOC): 16kW

Of course, since the SOC readout is only given to a whole number these values are necessarily approximate. Similarly the assessment of the sections of curve is subjective – in practice the charge system is probably adjusting the power smoothly down over the range from 70% to 99%.

Nonetheless the ‘headline’ figure, the one we can be most confident about, of charging at 42kW from a charge point with a nominal rating of 43kW is very reassuring. This can be compared with the results posted by Alloam that show 18kW from an APT charge point with a nominal rating of 43kW.

Here we can say that the much-trumpeted Chameleon charging system in this ZOE at this charge point on this occasion fully lived up to the hype of fast charging.

So can we deduce some useful rules of thumb? I think so, by extrapolating back from the start of the charge and assuming it would follow a straight line back to empty (0% SOC), we can calculate it would have taken just an additional 3 minutes to charge if the battery had been empty. Therefore we know how long a complete charge would take.

 

ZOE Ecotricity 43kW Fast Charger Rules of Thumb

1. Typical rate of charge is 3% per minute (so 2-3 miles per minute).

2. An 80% charge takes half an hour.

3. A 99% charge takes 40 minutes.

 

ZOE Charging Curve (APT Rapid)

Figure 1: ZOE APT ‘43kW’ Charge Curve (Image: alloam)
Figure 1: ZOE APT ‘43kW’ Charge Curve (Image: alloam)

I finally had a couple of hours spare this afternoon and after running ZOE down to a range of 4 miles (9% state of charge, SOC) I plugged into a local APT rapid charger that is rated at 43kW. This is one of the chargers that I have real question marks over, on the CYC network, in this case the Gallowgate rapid charger in Aberdeen. The charts of SOC and time remaining (Figures 1 and 2 respectively) can be compared directly with the equivalent ones from the 7kW charging curve and tell their own story.

Figure 2: Charge Completion Prediction (Image: alloam)
Figure 2: Charge Completion Prediction (Image: alloam)

What is interesting is that the charge rate is nice and linear up to around 90% at a rate of a little less than 18kW (see Figure 3) despite the charger being rated at 43kW. This is exactly in line with my previous experiences of these chargers (and far slower than the Ecotricity chargers, though I am not near one of those to do the same exercise). When I first called CYC to ask what is going on I was told that my car was probably at fault. The car has been checked by the dealer and is working fine.

Figure 3: Charge Rate (Image: alloam)
Figure 3: Charge Rate (Image: alloam)

I will try and do the same exercise at one of the 22kW rated chargers in Aberdeen (also APT). It would be rather amusing if it was faster! I have no doubt that the Chargemaster 22kW charger I have used a couple of times at a Renault dealership is faster.