All posts by Trevor Larkum

Software engineer and electric vehicle advocate

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

ZOE it’s cold outside (or how I got my heating working)

♪ ♫ When the weather outside is frightful

the ZOE’s not so delightful

but now I know what to do

my fingers aren’t quite so blue! ♫♪

OK, I know we are past the month of December but with the current cold snap I am elated to finally have the answer to my winter woes. Don’t get me wrong I love my Renault ZOE 22kWh, but one thing I’ve always struggled with is heating her up. I’m not talking about the great pre-heat function; this is for those times when you either forget the pre-heat or you are out and about and want to get in your car knowing you can easily pop on some heat.

I have been driving my ZOE for two winters and have always been cold. I had just assumed it was a limit of the car, but having experimented, I realised there is just a bit of a knack to getting the heating to work right.  I now don’t have to wear full hat, gloves and scarf in the car!

ZOE Winter Testing
ZOE Winter Testing

After reading a few posts and trying out a few carefully selected combinations it would seem I have my solution ,these are the steps I follow and try to stick to in this order.

  • Set your heat to 24 degrees, not full whack
  • Select fan speed 3
  • Make sure Air Con is Off
  • Turn on Air Circulation
  • Leave on windscreen fan for the first minute or so
  • Change the fan direction and speed to your preference after a few minutes

Just in time for err Spring [facepalm]

By Jo Pegram-Mills via Fuel Included Blog

Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 first drive

Renault’s new Zoe Z.E. 40 promises the greatest range of any mainstream EV on the market today.

With an official range of up to 250 miles depending on model, only Tesla’s line-up can beat that range figure, but they cost far more than twice the amount of the little Renault. Next Green Car got behind the wheel of the new longer-range EV to see how it performs on a cold and misty winter’s morning in the UK.

Review by Chris Lilly

WHAT’S CHANGED?

Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 in Mars Red (Image: NGC)
Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 in Mars Red (Image: NGC)

We’ll start with the biggest and most significant change to the Zoe – the battery. Previous models were equipped with a 22 kWh battery which is good for an official range of 149 miles on a single charge. The new version now packs a 41 kWh battery with a quoted range of 250 miles. The previous 22 kWh model is still available in one specification, but it is the Zoe Z.E. 40 with almost double the battery capacity that is the big news and the model being pushed.

The extra range has been achieved by ‘chemical wizardry’ according to the presentation from Renault’s PR team, but essentially the engineers have made a battery with greater energy density through tweaking and improving the materials used. All of this means that the extra capacity battery is the same physical size, so it fits in the Zoe without the need for costly re-engineering.

Other changes include a new top-of-the-range trim level Signature Nav, which includes leather upholstery, bronze highlights inside, rear reversing camera, new alloy wheel design, and Bose stereo. All models get slight design tweaks inside and out, though you will be hard pushed to list them.

Charging has changed only in the sense that it now takes longer to top up the battery. Available in both rapid charge-capable 230 mile specification, and non-rapid 250 mile trim, the Zoe Z.E. 40 will take varying amounts of time to charge. The 250 mile model tested can connect to a 43kW rapid charger, but will only be charged from 0-80% in one hour and 40 minutes. A 7kW home charger – which comes free with a new Zoe Z.E. 40 – will complete a full charge in a little under seven and a half hours. The 230 mile model cuts rapid charging time to just over one hour, but increases the 7kW charge time by an hour. This is compared to the one hour rapid charge, and four hour 7kW charge offered by the 22kWh model.

Read more: Next Green Car via Fuel Included News

Renault #EV day, 2017 – Zoe Z.E.40 & Twizy

Renault has launched its latest Zoe version, with a new 41kWh battery that promises 186-miles (real world) range, 124-mile worst case range and 250-mile official NEDC range.

The new car also introduces new motor and charging options plus new colours and trim levels including BOSE sound system.

Meanwhile, the ever-enjoyable Twizy continues to provide on road open-air thrills (via a lack of windows) and a great way to travel the Cotswolds.

Source: AutoVolt via Fuel Included News

Renault Continues Momentum in Electric Vehicles with Master ZE and New Kangoo ZE

Through its Renault Pro+ brand, Renault is unveiling an extended custom offering in its zero-emission range at the Brussels Motor Show, with world première appearances for Master ZE and New Kangoo ZE. With these new arrivals, Renault fields a unique line-up of four electric light commercial vehicles.

The Renault Electric Z.E. Range (Image: Renault)
The Renault Electric Z.E. Range (Image: Renault)

Zero-emission light commercial vehicles addressing the specific needs of business customers

With world première appearances of two new electric vehicles (New Kangoo ZE and Master ZE), Renault, through its business vehicles brand Renault Pro+, proudly announces nothing less than a range of zero-emission light commercial vehicles unique in the world.

Twizy Cargo (the quadricycle with boot launched in 2014) holds irresistible appeal for city-bound business users, while longer-distance travellers will appreciate the company-car version of New ZOE, with its 400 km NEDC* travel range. Then New Kangoo ZE and Master ZE are perfect for business customers needing load volume. All the models in our range of zero-emission light commercial vehicles offer pollution-free peace of mind on the road plus full connectivity capabilities, as with ZE Trip and ZE Pass on New Kangoo ZE, services that facilitate charging at the 80,000 charge stations across Europe. (In 2017, Renault Pro+ business customers will also be getting other connected services, such as Fleet Management and Predictive Maintenance.)

“Renault Pro+ is market leader in electric LCV sales in Europe. With New Kangoo Z.E. and Master Z.E., Renault Pro+ is continuing to expand its tailor made offering dedicated to professional customers, while developing connected services for business users. We are confident that our professional customers will experience our Zero Emission connected vans which will significantly contribute to better business as well as driving experience.”

Ashwani Gupta – Global Head of Light Commercial Vehicle Business

New Kangoo ZE: major innovations

New Renault Kangoo ZE Electric Van (Image: Renault)
New Renault Kangoo ZE Electric Van (Image: Renault)

Kangoo ZE puts an end to reticence over the use of electric vehicles for longer-distance business uses. Following on from New Renault ZOE, which starred at the Paris Motor Show in the autumn, it’s Kangoo ZE’s turn to get a new battery and power unit, to boast a travel range of 270 km NEDC* instead of the 170 km previously. This is a record on the electric vans market.

The battery takes less than six hours to charge back up to full from a 7 kW Wall Box (that’s less than overnight), or just one hour (that’s a lunch break or the time it takes to load the van for the next delivery round) for a 35 km top-up. It all goes together to make working life easier for business users. For example, another radically new feature on Kangoo ZE is the heat pump that’s tied in with the climate control system to maintain travel range under cold weather conditions. So what was that about electric power being problematic for professionals?

#WelcomeMasterZE: Renault ZE expertise coming to large vans soon

New Renault Master ZE Electric Van (Image: Renault)
New Renault Master ZE Electric Van (Image: Renault)

Renault, number-one on the European electric vehicle market, announces the world première appearance of Master ZE, further substantiation of the company’s unparalleled electric power expertise. The new Renault van packs the ZE 33 battery (33 kWh) driving the new R75 electric power unit (derived from the ZOE pack). Renault Pro+ is proud to offer business customers a large van with a travel range of 200 km NEDC. It will be in European showrooms from around the end of the year. Like its little sister Kangoo ZE, Master ZE takes less than six hours for a full charge. That all adds up to making Master ZE an unbeatable proposition for last-mile urban delivery fleets and all kinds of local government departments.

Source: Renault Group Blog via Fuel Included News

Renault Zoe rally car

“I spotted a Renault Zoe and thought it would make the ideal rally car.”

Hardly conventional thinking, but then Ellya Gold isn’t your average enthusiast. He’s the brains and force behind eRally, which is working towards creating the world’s first electric rally championship.

We caught up with Ellya and the eRally team at a demo run with Josh Hislop at the wheel as part of the Grant Construction Stages Rally at Knockhill Circuit. The compact Zoe makes the perfect base for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the championship is aimed at drivers aged 14-17 entering the world of rallying for the first time, so the car needs to be affordable to run alongside the existing Formula 1000 series.

It also has to be something that’s competitive, which has been proved in tests of the prototype car you see here. So far, it’s put in stage times quicker than a Ford Fiesta ST200.

Read more: Piston Heads via Fuel Included News

Renault ZOE in Emirates Road Trip

The first Emirates Electric Vehicle Road Trip (EEVRT) concluded at The Sustainable City in Dubai last week, successfully opening nine new charging stations in the UAE and further driving electric vehicle adoption in the country.

The new, free-to-use electric vehicle charging stations, supplied by ENGIE, were opened at three AccorHotels, including Marjan Island Resort & Spa in Ras Al Khaimah (three), the Novotel Fujairah (four), and at the Sofitel Corniche in Abu Dhabi (two).

Accelerating the transition towards a sustainable low-carbon future, the four-day event took place from 29th January to 1st February 2017 when 11 electric vehicles left Dubai and traversed more than 700km across the UAE. The charging stations installed have opened up a whole new stretch of electric vehicle driving for the UAE.

“The UAE has already come a long way in moving towards taking a more environmentally friendly stance when it comes to vehicles, and we hope that this event showed people how much of a difference it can make.

Thank you to everyone who made the Emirates EVRT possible. It was a truly momentous event for the region and one we are extremely proud of,” says Ben Pullen, Founder and Managing Director of Global Electric Vehicle Road Trip who brought the event to the UAE.

The response from participants and event partners who experienced the event for the first time was overwhelmingly positive. Intrigued by how the electric cars would perform during the longer drives to Jebel Jais and Fujairah, the participants were pleasantly surprised by the acceleration and range of the new Renault Zoe and Tesla vehicles.

One of the most interesting experiences was to witness the regenerative braking which is a technology that allows the batteries to re-charge when driving down hills.

Through driving down Jebel Jais the Renault Zoe Long Range model was able to achieve around 50km of extra range.

“As pioneer and leader of 100% electric vehicles in Europe, Renault was glad to support the Emirates EVRT initiative that is developing the awareness of pure sustainable mobility in the UAE. We have shown through the use of the new Renault ZOE with 400km autonomy that autonomy was no longer an issue to move freely in the seven Emirates,” says Emmanuel Guiffault, Marketing Director of Renault Middle East.

Read more: Emirates 247