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.