Taster test of the new Renault ZOE

While the LEAF from sister brand Nissan continues to grab all the headlines associated with it being first to the party, the ZOE has built itself a loyal following since the car’s launch in 2012 and was the best-selling electric car in Europe in 2015.

What is it? The latest version of the Renault ZOE electric supermini.
Key features: New battery increases official range to 250 miles. New top trim level, updates across range.
Our view: The Renault ZOE is a definite contender amongst its electric rivals, particularly considering its versatile purchase options and now its range.
Type of review: Taster test.

For 2017 Renault has introduced a facelift for the ZOE, the major headline of which is a new 41kWh battery. This is almost double the capacity of the original 22kWh battery and pushes the ZOE’s official range to 250 miles.

Longest range

While Renault claims that this gives the ZOE the longest range of any mainstream electric vehicle, we are also told that the car’s ‘real-world’ range between charges is now between 124 miles in extreme cold and 186 miles in ‘temperate’, in other words typical, conditions. This of course makes the ZOE a very practical car indeed – how often does the average motorist clock up more than 186 miles in a day?

Renault ZOE – the look

The biggest difference between the Renault ZOE and its great rival the Nissan LEAF, in this writer’s opinion, is in exterior looks. The LEAF, with its squared-off, slanted rear end, looks different enough to be identified as such, an electric car. The ZOE, however, looks just like any other supermini – it could just as easily be a traditional petrol/diesel sister to the Clio and Twingo and is very closely related to the former.

On the road

This is not a fast car, its 0-62mph time over 13 seconds, but it feels nippy in its natural environment of urban streets. At speeds under around 40mph the torque of the electric motor is at its most efficient, and the ZOE reaches 30mph in a mere four seconds.

It’s much less fun at high speeds, on a motorway for example, because above 60mph it seriously struggles for pace. Steep gradients cause similar issues, it will get up them, but not in any hurry.

Buying a ZOE

Electric cars are not cheap and on the surface the ZOE is no different, but there is a way to spread the cost. Renault offers the option of either buying the car and battery outright, or leasing the battery and paying a monthly fee that varies based on one’s expected mileage. This also answers those concerned about the staying power of the battery, though Renault does offer a five-year/60,000-mile warranty that includes the battery retaining at least 75 per cent of its original capacity.

Verdict:

The Renault ZOE won’t write headlines for its roadholding and handling but in the urban environment that electric cars are excepted to populate it becomes a leading contender. With its practical purchase options it should be considered by anyone wanting to go electric.

Read more: The Car Expert via Fuel Included News

Renault Kangoo Z.E. Gets 50% More Range

As promised, Renault has introduced a new larger battery equipped Kangoo Z.E. with up to 50% more range.

And while we are happy to see the upgraded “ZE 33” model, and its 33 kWh pack (instead of 22 kWh), the vans battery stills looks tiny as compared to the recently updated ZOE with a 41 kWh pack.

Renault Kangoo Z.E. 33 (33 kWh)

Renault pegs the new Kangoo ZE 33 at a range of 270 km/167 miles under the NEDC rating system, which translates to about 200 km/125 miles in ‘real world’ driving conditions.

The Z.E. 33 is shared with new Master Z.E. heavy commercial van.

Renault lineup – from left Twizy, ZOE, Kangoo Z.E., Master Z.E.

Renault has also utilized a new electric motor found originally on the ZOE R75/90, rated at 60 hp (44 kW), and has replaced the original (and fairly weak) charging system. The new Kangoo ZE can charge at near twice the rate of the previous version – up to 7 kW.

As you can see, the 7 kW charging capability still isn’t near on par with the 22 kW charging found in ZOE.

Anyway, the new Kangoo Z.E. is still far better then the previous version, so perhaps we should not be too critical. Renault promises the “ZE 33” will be available on the European market from mid-2017.

Read more: Inside EVs via Fuel Included news

Milton Keynes pushes ahead with Go Ultra Low City programme

Electric Vehicle consultancy, Zero Carbon Futures, has been appointed as project manager to Milton Keynes Council to support the delivery of their Go Ultra Low City programme.

The appointment follows the announcement last year that Milton Keynes has been awarded £9 million from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles’ Go Ultra Low City Scheme. The funding is to support the city to become a showcase of what can be done to encourage the uptake of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.

Following a competitive tender process, Zero Carbon Futures has been commissioned to oversee the project’s key strands including the EV Experience Centre, EV charge point infrastructure and innovation as well as work on the Highways to support the programme.

Brian Matthews, Head of Transport Innovation, at Milton Keynes Council, said:

“We had a number of exceptionally strong tender submissions for the project management contract however Zero Carbon Futures’ expertise and knowledge of the industry really stood out. The company will be a critical friend for the project throughout its five years.”

Zero Carbon Futures has been involved in a number of high profile electric vehicle projects such as the Rapid Charge Network, Plugged in Places and My Electric Avenue and has overseen the development of charge point networks across the UK including at motorway service stations. The company has also developed a number of electric vehicle marketing and promotional campaigns to encourage residents and businesses to consider making the switch to electric.

Dr Colin Herron, Managing Director at Zero Carbon Futures, said:

“Milton Keynes put forward an exceptionally strong bid to become a Go Ultra Low City and we are delighted to be working with the Council to support its delivery. This is a significant programme which will make a demonstrable difference to electric vehicle uptake in the City and we hope that our expertise will provide real added value to the Council.”

Read more: Zero Carbon Futures via Fuel Included news

Staying at Center Parks with a Renault ZOE EV

In the summer we spent the bank holiday weekend at Center Parks Longleat Forest with family. We travelled there and back in the ZOE.

Naturally I hoped to charge while there but it turned out to be problematic. It seemed pretty clear that CenterParks was not setup for EV charging. Initially we were offered the use of a 13A socket in a shed in a far corner of one of the main car parks.

CenterParcs EV Charging Point in a Car Park Equipment Shed (Image: T. Larkum)
CenterParcs EV Charging Point in a Car Park Equipment Shed (Image: T. Larkum)

I plugged in and charging started fine. However, I was a bit sceptical and went back after a few hours to find that the charging had stopped, seemingly a circuit breaker had triggered. I restarted the charge, but disappointingly, I returned after a few hours to check on it to see that it had failed again.

CenterParcs EV Charging Point: the 13A socket above the bicycle (Image: T. Larkum)
CenterParcs EV Charging Point: the 13A socket above the bicycle (Image: T. Larkum)

I reported this and that night I was allowed to charge at the external sockets by the main entrance (next to the in and out barriers). However, the same thing happened and I gave up at that point. Instead we charged on our way home. So, overall, we were not too impressed with CenterParks’ provisions for EV charging (though apparently the provision of charge points has improved since).

CenterParcs' All-Electric Renault Kangoo ZE Van (Image: T. Larkum)
CenterParcs’ All-Electric Renault Kangoo ZE Van (Image: T. Larkum)

On the plus side, we did see that Center Parks were making use of all-electric Kangoo ZE vans for work around the park. And we did enjoy our time there, even if it was a bit pricey.

Source: Fuel Included Blog

Renault ZOE In Charge of January Plugin Sales in Europe

Europe began 2017 with solid growth of plug-in electric car sales, up 31% year-over-year according to the EV Sales Blog report. In total, roughly 19,000 units were sold, which is not only the best January ever, but also one of the better months ever.

Renault ZOE took an early lead with 2,602 sales (up 80 percent) after securing 1st place in 2016.

Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Europe – January 2017 (Image: InsideEVs)
Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Europe – January 2017 (Image: InsideEVs)

In second place was the BMW i3 (1,818), which gives us one way to compare sales of different battery sizes. Renault is seeing better sales of the new 41-kWh ZOE, while i3 continues to sell the 33-kWh i3. Obviously, these cars are quite different, but with EVs, range does matter. And, if BEV sales are so tightly connected to battery pack capacity/range and price, we are eager to see the Opel Ampera-e later this year.

Nissan LEAF keeps seeing strong sales in Europe, taking 3rd place in January with 1,386 sales (up 29%). This EV’s battery increase – from 24 kWh to 30 kWh – wasn’t all that dramatic, and the Japanese manufacturer needs to do more soon. The top three BEVs sold in Europe totaled 5,806 units, which was 30.5 percent of all plug-in car sales. Tesla sold some 819 Model S (#7) and 586 Model X (#11) EVs.

Read more: Inside EVs via Fuel Included News

Renault-Nissan To Test Fleet Of Autonomous Zoes In Paris

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has announced a partnership with autonomous vehicle services company Transdev which will see a fleet of self-driving Renault Zoe models hit the streets.

In a statement, the two automakers said that they will collaborate with Transdev to develop a modular transportation system that enables clients to book vehicles and for mobility operators to monitor and operate self-driving car fleets.

The partnership will start with fields tests in the Paris-Saclay business area and involve Transdev’s on-demand dispatch, supervision and routing platform.

Speaking about the deal, Renault-Nissan Alliance senior vice president of connected vehicles and mobility services, Ogi Redzic, said

“As the mobility services landscape keeps evolving, we have a great opportunity to offer innovative, connected mobility solutions for the evolving needs of our customers, fully aligned with our vision of a zero-emission, zero-fatalities society.

“Partnering with Transdev allows us to share our knowledge as leaders in electric vehicles, autonomous drive and connected-car technologies with one of the largest multi-modal mobility operators worldwide. Together we will develop an advanced driverless mobility system that will enhance existing public and on-demand transport systems.”

Source: Car Scoops via Fuel Included News

Renault ZOE e-sport concept whizzes into Geneva 2017

Crazy electric Renault ZOE e-sport concept has 456bhp, four-wheel drive and extreme weight saving

Renault has a history of using its Renaultsport department to create crazy concept cars, and at this year’s Geneva Motor Show the company has followed up the mad Espace F1 and Twizy F1 with a new ZOE concept using the firm’s Formula E technology.

Renault ZOE e-Sport Concept (Image: Renault)
Renault ZOE e-Sport Concept (Image: Renault)

Called the ZOE e-sport, it’s a radical two-seat interpretation of Renault’s all-electric city car, boasting an aggressive, angular, wide bodykit, a colour scheme in homage to the Renualt e.dams Formula E team, and most importantly a four-wheel-drive powertrain borrowing Formula E technology.

Two electric motors are on hand to deliver 456bhp – almost 200bhp more than governed 270bhp limit of a Formula E single seater. There’s also up to 640Nm of torque available, and power is supplied by a 40kWh battery pack.

With this powertrain technology on-board, Renault claims the ZOE e-sport manages 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds, and it takes less than 10 seconds to reach its limited top speed of 130mph.

With that heavy electric powertrain and battery pack in place, Renault has gone to extreme measures to try and keep the ZOE e-sport’s weight down. The bodywork is made from carbon fibre, while the steel roll cage incorporates Kevlar panels. Despite the diet, the ZOE e-sport still comes in at 1,400kg.

A wider track is combined with a lower rider height and double-wishbone suspension front and rear, complete with four-way adjustable dampers.

Renault ZOE e-Sport Concept (Image: AutoExpress)
Renault ZOE e-Sport Concept (Image: AutoExpress)

Plenty of aerodynamic trickery is woven into the all-carbon body. A large air dam and splitter set-up is found at the front of the car, while the ZOE e-sport also features a flat floor and large rear diffuser. Gaping tracts in the rear doors, a large rear spoiler and 20-inch centrally-locking diamond cut aluminium wheels complete the racecar inspired look.

In the cabin, two large Recaro bucket seats with race harnesses are found, alongside a rectangular steering wheel and a square dashboard display used to adjust powertrain settings. A new, de-cluttered concept interior design with lashings of Alcantara and angular switches and vents is employed.

According to Stéphane Janin, Renault’s Concept Car Director, the brief for the ZOE e-sport was to have fun, explaining: “we came up with something midway between a production model and a racing car”. Despite the production model influences, the ZOE e-sport will remain a one-off concept.

Source: AutoExpress via Fuel Included News

First drive: Renault Zoe ZE40 Signature Nav electric car review

Review

Six years after the mainstream launch of the Nissan Leaf, range anxiety is still a barrier for many when it comes to adopting electric vehicles. It’s a barrier Renault hopes to demolish with the updated ZE40 edition of the Zoe compact electric hatchback, which almost doubles the vehicle’s range on the NEDC cycle, from 130 miles per charge, to 250 miles.

In real life, the manufacturer says that means an expected range of 186 miles, which it believes will be enough for many drivers to attempt the switch to electric.

The new battery system occupies the same space as the old one, and is only marginally heavier, but offers substantially more capacity. But, aside from the fancy new battery technology, the car itself is largely unchanged.

Renault has introduced a new top-spec trim level, called Signature Nav, which includes a Bose sound system, rear parking camera, leather heated seats, and some different interior colours.

The top spec trim level seems unnecessary on this car, and the darker interior loses some of the character of lower trim levels. Dynamique Nav, the mid-range spec, remains the pick. The light and airy blue and white interior of Dynamique Nav better fits the character of the car – friendly, accessible and classless.

There is one other area that has been improved that is worth a mention – connectivity. From midway through this year, the car will be compatible with a system called Z.E. Trip, a phone and car app combination that links into real-time charging systems, and shows live charging point availability. When the driver reaches the charging point, the Z.E. Pass will allow them to pay through the infotainment system for their charge.

Renault says the vast majority of Zoes sold in the UK are still bought under the battery lease programme, which will continue to operate.

Battery lease pricing starts from £59 on the new ZE40 vehicle, £10 a month more than the old 22kw model.

After plug-in grant, a battery lease ZE40 model starts from £17,845, nearly £4,000 more than the new price of the old model, which remains on sale. Those opting for full battery-included ownership will stump up £23,445.

Despite the cost premium, the new Zoe ZE40 is a serious contender in the electric vehicle sector. It may be smaller than the Leaf, but it has more range and a more modern interior, and is still significantly cheaper – upfront, at least – than a BMW i3.

Read more: FleetNews via Fuel Included News

Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 (41 kWh) Battery Visualized

The new Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 proves that it’s possible to double battery capacity, without redesigning an entire car.

The key is to originally develop a battery pack that could handle future modules with more energy dense cells (see video below).

In the case of ZOE Z.E. 40, available energy went up from about 22 kWh to 41 kWh, while the dimensions of the battery remained unchanged, with the weight increasing by only 15 kg (33 lbs) – from 290 kg to 305 kg (5%).

Physically, Renault still uses a 192 cells (LG Chem) in 12 modules (16 cells per module) configuration.

With 41 kWh of energy in the sub-compact model, a real world range of 300 km (186 miles) is possible (officially in Europe the ZOE is rated at 400 km on the NEDC scale).

Source: Inside EVs via Fuel Included news