Typically, when I review a new car, in addition to telling you how it looks, who its competitors are, and how much tech it holds, the main value that I bring to the table (or so I hope) is letting you know how it drives – basically what it feels like from the driver’s seat.
Well, I was rendered largely redundant on this occasion because all I can tell you is what it felt like to be driven around in this vehicle. You see, the car that you see here is Renault’s autonomous Zoe prototype. And I mean fully autonomous – well, sort of. After all, the autonomous Renault Zoe isn’t exactly ready for the chaotic traffic at the Arc de Triomphe roundabout in the heart of Paris as yet. For the moment, it’s restricted to the campus of the University of Paris-Saclay on the outskirts of the French capital. This is part of a pilot project being run by automaker Renault, a public transport multinational, the Transdev Group, technology companies IRT SystemX & VEDECOM and, of course, the University of Paris-Saclay.
Where does it operate?
For the moment, the autonomous Zoe will operate within the campus of the University of Paris-Saclay. It’s meant to provide an autonomous shuttle service within the campus for a select group of students and faculty who opt into the program and allow their fate to be determined by this vehicle that has a mind of its own – literally! At present, French law prohibits companies from charging patrons for a service such as this, so it’s voluntary and free of cost.
A plug-in hybrid version of the new Renault Captur SUV will be available when the car goes on sale next year
Details of the all-new Renault Captur plug-in hybrid have been released, with the company confirming a pure-electric range of up to 28 miles.
Due to go on sale in early 2020, the Captur E-Tech Plug-in will use a 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors, complete with a 9.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
It will be capable of doing 83mph in pure-electric mode, and also features advanced brake regeneration that the company says “always retains enough charge to move away and run at low speeds in electric mode”.
The Captur will also have a single-pedal driving mode – similar to the Nissan Leaf’s e-Pedal system – for low-speed traffic, which is designed to maximise efficiency and ease of driving.
Today’s Renault Zoe is one of the most affordable electric cars on sale, but its replacement brings additional tech, a more sophisticated interior and a 236-mile range…
On sale August Price from Around £22,000 (before gov’t grant)
When the current Renault Zoe was launched, it addressed two of the most common complaints about electric cars: the paltry range and high price. But with competition now a lot stiffer, this new version has to push up the former again while keeping down the latter.
Sure enough, while the battery is no larger to ensure it doesn’t eat into passenger space, its energy capacity is up from 41kWh to 52kWh. That results in a 20% improvement in official range, to 236 miles.
Putting that into perspective, the long-range, e+ version of Nissan’s Leaf can travel just three miles farther, despite costing almost £40k. And the upcoming Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e both manage only 211 miles.
A full charge of the new Zoe from a 7kW home wallbox takes nine hours and 25 minutes. Or if you’re out and about, 30 minutes plugged into a 50kW public charger gives enough juice for about 90 miles of driving.
Revised model will feature similar styling but a range of interior and tech upgrades
The upcoming facelifted Renault ZOE has been caught testing by spy photographers. It’s likely to be revealed later this year, and will sport a similar look to the current model but is expected to be refreshed revised styling, and interior and tech updates.
Underneath the camouflage wrap, there appears to be a lot of design details carried over from the current ZOE, like the slim headlights, diamond-shaped tail-lights and the overall body shape. However, there are a few minor changes including a redesigned grille, new plastic mouldings that look like air intakes and a restyled rear windscreen. We would expect the ZOE to keep its kinked rear windows, but the camouflage hides these areas. A more aerodynamic shark-fin aerial will also be fitted to the roof.
No pictures of the interior have surfaced yet, but it’s expected that the revised model will offer a very different cabin to the current car. It’s likely to follow the new Clio by having a large touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard. This would be adapted to show driving range and charging information, and the locations of nearby charging points. Other features carried over from the new Clio should include LED headlights, a digital instrument cluster and wireless smartphone charging.
The new Renault EZ-FLEX concept showcased at Viva Tech 2019, was first revealed in April, as an experimental, electric and connected LCV that is compact and easy to handle and features a modular rear design.
Groupe Renault has unveiled an all-new electric light commercial vehicle (LCV) concept, Renault EZ-FLEX, at the recently concluded Viva Tech 2019, in Paris. Designed to be an improved and efficient mobility solution for urban delivery system, the new Renault EZ-FLEX concept was revealed in April 2019, as an experimental, electric and connected LCV that is compact and easy to handle and features a modular rear design, for different applications. In fact, Renault has partnered with La Poste Group, the postal service company in France, for an experimental run and they will work together to develop and further improve this urban delivery ecosystem.
Talking about Renault EZ-FLEX, Denis Le Vot, Alliance Director of the Renault-Nissan Commercial Vehicles Division, said,
“With traffic congestion in cities and the rise of e-commerce, urban deliveries are transforming. As a European leader in vans and light commercial vehicles, Groupe Renault is duty bound to continue proposing disruptive solutions. Renault EZ-FLEX, an experimental light commercial vehicle, gives us the opportunity to join forces with La Poste Group, through an innovative and collaborative approach designed to develop and anticipate future practices in urban deliveries.”