All posts by Trevor Larkum

Software engineer and electric vehicle advocate

The New Renault Zoe Could Become The Cheapest Car You’ll Ever Own

Renault has been continuously updating the electric Zoe ever since it launched in the European market in 2012, but this last iteration is by far the biggest and more impressive change in the model’s successful career.

The biggest highlight is of course the adoption of a new larger 52 kWh battery pack, which enables the Zoe to travel up to 245 miles (345 km) on a full charge, according to the WLTP standards. Also new is the support of 50kW fast charging, which can replenish around 90 miles (145 km) of range in 30 minutes.

Renault ZOE 2020 (Image: Renault.com)
Renault ZOE 2020 (Image: Renault.com)

The new battery is accompanied by the more powerful R135 electric motor as well, producing 133 HP (135 PS) and 181lb-ft (245 Nm) of torque and giving the Zoe more poke than ever; Renault claims a 0-62mph (100km/h) in 10 seconds and a top speed of 87 mph (140km/h).

The range of the updated Zoe includes a base R110 version that’s powered by a 108 HP motor, known from the previous model.

The interior of the small EV is now made from better-quality materials and features a new dashboard design that hosts a large 9.3-inch infotainment system and a customisable 10-inch digital instrument cluster. Wireless phone charging, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as an upholstery made from recycled materials are also present.

Read more: Carscoops via Fuel Included news

 

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Renault Zoe R135 ZE 50 2019 review

Early adopter of electric power has been refined rather than reinvented

What is it?

Like many French models, Zoe was at the cutting edge of fashion when she burst onto the scene in 2012. There weren’t many similar models doing what she did, and she quickly gained popularity with her convivial, easy-going nature and quietly subtle style.

But times change and, in the past few years, plenty of younger models have caught onto the trend Zoe helped to start – and while those models brought attention to her and increased her popularity, Zoe was starting to risk looking a little behind the times.

2020 Renault Zoe (Image: Renault)
2020 Renault Zoe (Image: Renault)

Renault has already given Zoe a few nips and tucks, but has now treated her to a full makeover, and she’s emerged revitalised, refreshed and ready to prove that she still has what it takes against some trendy young upstarts.

We’ll end the tortured fashion/car analogy there, in order to focus on the changes Renault has made to what it calls the third-generation of its Zoe electric hatch, which is built on a reworked version of the same basic platform as the original. The exterior design has been refreshed, with new lines, a bigger, bolder Renault logo (which hides the charging ports), a new front bumper and new standard LED lights. The appearance is a little more stylish, and closely tied to the recently launched Clio.

More has changed inside the car, with a refreshed interior that feels a big step forward from the previous model. There’s a 10in digital instrument display as standard, customisable lighting and a revamped dashboard centred on an infotainment touchscreen (up to 9.3in in size) featuring the latest version of Renault’s Easy Link system. The perceived quality is an improvement, and the mix of physical buttons and the touchscreen makes the car pleasingly easy to operate.

Renault claims the soundproofing has also been substantially improved, and while some road noise did permeate at high speeds, the car does offer the quiet, engine-noise-free cruising many EV buyers enjoy.

More significant is the work Renault has done under the skin, with an upgraded battery and a new motor giving the Zoe more power and more range. The battery is 52kWh, compared with the previous Zoe’s 41kWh version, giving a range of up to 245 miles on the WLTP test cycle – which the firm claims is 32% more than the previous model.

Read more: Autocar via Fuel Included News

All-Electric Renault ZOE Comes to the Aid of the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

  • Scottish Fire & Rescue Service orders 45 Renault ZOEs
  • Renault ZOE will be used to help spread important safety messages across Scotland
  • Renault ZOE the first zero-emissions-in-use vehicle to be added to the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service fleet
  • Order represents the beginning of the organisation’s drive to have an all-electric fleet

The all-electric Renault ZOE will be helping to save lives and some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery after the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) ordered 45 to be used throughout Scotland in the support of its frontline operations.

Scottish Fire & Rescue ZOE (Image: Renault)
Scottish Fire & Rescue ZOE (Image: Renault)

SFRS, the world’s fourth largest fire and rescue service, will use the zero-emissions-in-use Renault ZOEs as general pool vehicles, with each covering at least 10,000 miles a year. They will be used by uniformed staff, office employees and management to interact with the public in non-emergency situations, which span free home safety visits to community events, and will be spread across the whole of Scotland, including all major cities and as far as Orkney and the Shetland Islands.

Significantly, the new ZOEs are SFRS’s first pure electric vehicles and represent the beginning of a significant shift in how it will evolve its fleet of nearly 1,800 vehicles. The Renault ZOE proves that electric vehicles are now a viable business proposition, combined with the Scottish Government’s sizeable investment in charging infrastructure, SFRS is committed to moving to an entirely electric fleet.

The Renault ZOEs replace traditionally fueled hatchbacks and now account for nearly a quarter of SFRS’s pool car fleet. They will be based at strategic station locations throughout the country, with SFRS installing up to six charging points at each site. Aided by the Renault ZOE’s flexible charging options, additional charging will also be carried out via ChargePlace Scotland – the country’s government-supported public EV charging network.

SFRS chose the Renault ZOE due to its ‘real-world’ range of 186 miles, comprehensive standard specification, ease-of-use and value all contributing to the organisation’s decision.

Scott Roberts, Fleet Manager, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The best way to deal with an emergency is to prevent it from happening, and the ZOEs will play a vital role in how we engage with communities and deliver our crucial safety messages. The Renault ZOE’s range and the vastly improved charging infrastructure means we have been able to spread them far and wide, and there’s not a nook or cranny of Scotland that one of our ZOEs isn’t able to cover.

“Introducing them has been a major step in our future direction and while we have previously adopted hybrid technology with a handful of vehicles, they felt more like a box ticking exercise and never really worked on a practical or financial basis. With the ZOE, we can see that having environmentally-compatible electric vehicles is a viable business model, allowing us to reduce our carbon footprint, preserve the country we are so passionate about and provide our team with a vehicle that is perfect for their requirements.”

Source: Renault via Fuel Included News

Test driving the new Renault Zoe: More power, range, and charging options

The new Renault ZOE is here, and I got a chance to test drive it this weekend in Sardinia, Italy.

If you thought you knew the ZOE then think again, because Renault has upgraded the New ZOE with better range, power, and charging options, plus a number of other changes. Check it all out below.

Like the previous ZOE, but better

The previous version of the Renault ZOE, known as the ZOE Z.E. 40, was released in 2016. That car has already sold like hot cakes in Europe, with over 250,000 ZOEs sold. The car’s popularity grew quickly, with many years showing around 50% growth in sales YoY.

Renault ZOE 2020 (Image: Renault.com)
Renault ZOE 2020 (Image: Renault.com)

The ZOE eventually became the highest-selling electric car in many markets before the introduction of the Model 3 earlier this year. And even after the Model 3 was introduced, the ZOE held on to an impressive amount of market share.

But now three years later, the ZOE is beginning to show its age. Fortunately though, Renault is back to give us the ZOE updates we’ve wanted and has done so building on its 10 years of experience in the electric car market.

The New ZOE comes with a number of updates and upgrades, yet has managed to maintain the same price. In most markets, the car costs around €23,000 without the battery (which customers can pay a monthly rate towards), or around €30,000 with the battery, though the price varies a bit according to the country.

Major updates to the New ZOE include a more powerful motor, increased range, and new CCS charging.

Read more: Electrek via Fuel Included News

Tested: Renault Zoe can grid-balance

In the Netherlands, Jedlix and Elaad say the Zoe is good for the smart grid

Dutch smart charging specialist Jedlix and the Elaad Competence Centre have concluded that Renault Zoe can be used in a balancing capacity of TenneT in the Netherlands.

National grids must be able to balance electricity production and consumption and when this is disrupted, Transport System Operators (TSOs) are forced to activate secondary options to prevent imbalance, which often come from fossil-fuelled power plants.

Catching a quick charge at the local Renault dealer (Image: T. Larkum)
ZOE on charge (Image: T. Larkum)

To use Renault Zoe for network balancing, the car’s charging process had to be able to react to real-time signals. At Elaad’s test centre in Arnhem, in the Netherlands, the two partners conclusively proved that the Zoe is able to respond to TenneT signals within seconds. According to Jedlix, this kind of suitability is further proof that electric vehicle batteries can be efficient and competitive resources that contribute to increasing the flexibility requirements of national grids.

What the company has not mentioned in their press release, however, is whether the charging is bidirectional, i.e. whether electricity from the car’s battery can also be fed into the grid. Certainly, the Renault electric car does not come ex-works supporting bi-directional charging, only being designed to take up electricity. What is possible to help balance the grid, is that the charging power can be reduced if necessary – which can reduce peak loads and thus contribute to grid stability.

Two years ago, Jedlix and Elaad made the same tests with Tesla cars. “In a previous study with Jedlix, we also found a positive effect on the distribution network when we respond to transmission network signals, which is crucial for the long-term introduction of electric vehicles,” says Elaad Director Onoph Caron. “We invite all OEMs to implement similar programs here in the Netherlands.”

Read more: Electrive via Fuel Included News