The Mondial De l’Automobile show has just got underway in Paris. It runs from 29 September to 14 October and is Renault’s most significant event. This year sees Renault debut its new Clio, and also show off the Zoe for the last time before the start of deliveries.
On 25 September AVEM.fr reported an interview with Béatrice Foucher, Director of Renault’s Electric Programme since the start of this month. She said that Zoe’s range is not the real issue in the decision to purchase:
“Rational and emotional elements come into play. The cost of fuel is very important. (…) Buying an electric vehicle is also an emotional choice, the pleasure of being ahead, to align ones thoughts and actions. The majority of users consider themselves ‘pioneers’ and certainly do not want to backtrack.”
She also made an interesting comment on planned sales, something not often made public:
“In 2012, Renault hopes to sell 20,000 EVs.”
Ahead of the Paris Motor Show the BFMTV team posted a video of their test drive of the Zoe.
I came across a very interesting article on the NASA site yesterday (though it was published last month) on the public perception of climate change:
“it was disappointing that most early media reports on the heat wave, widespread drought, and intense forest fires in the United States in 2012 did not mention or examine the potential connection between these climate events and global warming. Is this reticence justified?
“In a new paper (Hansen et al., 2012a), we conclude that such reticence is not justified. The paper attempts to illustrate the data in ways that properly account for climate variability yet are understandable to the public.”
The key idea is that the authors make no predictions about climate change – they simply illustrate that global warming is already happening, and quickly, by graphing seasonal temperature – see ‘Figure 2’ for the Northern Hemisphere.
In essence, just by looking at recorded data, two things are clear:
The curves are moving to the right: Temperatures are rising, and accelerating over time.
The curves are widening: More extreme ‘climate change’ weather (including cold events) are becoming more common.
On the same day on the Washington Post site I found a series of cartoons by Toles that capture rather well the frustration many of us feel about the political response to climate change.
Advertisements play while the cartoon gallery loads – am I the only one to notice the irony that the adverts include ones by Conoco-Phillips and Mercedes-Benz?
During this week Renault put out various technical briefings on the operation of subsystems in the Zoe and its other EVs. On 14 September Automobile Challenges carried an article giving details of the Zoe’s braking system, and its improvements over that in the Fluence ZE. In the Fluence ZE regenerative braking occurs when the driver releases the accelerator; the brake pedal operates a conventional hydraulic braking circuit. In the Zoe, the brake pedal operates a system that blends braking effort from regeneration and a hydraulic system, taking account of the driving situation:
“If one believes those responsible for its development at Renault, Aymeric Bruneau and Basile De-Branche, this decoupled brake pedal system can extend by about 10% the range of the Renault ZOE by doubling the rate of kinetic energy recovery compared to its predecessor, the Fluence ZE… As well as depression of the brake pedal, the system continuously measures the vehicle speed, the differential speed of the four wheels, the rate of lateral acceleration and the steering angle.”
On 17 September Auto-Addict gave details of Renault’s plans for development of EV technology, highlighting improvements made between the Fluence and the Zoe. This included coverage of the braking system, but also touched on the climate control and charging systems. On the heating system it said:
“Conventional motor vehicles have abundant ‘free’ heat provided by the engine (two-thirds of the energy contained in the fuel is dissipated as heat). In winter an electric car gets its heat energy from the battery, which can have a significant impact on battery life. The ZOE replaces the electrical resistance heating of the Fluence by a heat pump that is on average twice as effective when the outside temperature is 0-7ºC, which corresponds to a gain of 25% in range which would increase it from 80 to 100 kilometres. Other benefits are that the system is more comfortable than ordinary car heating because it heats much faster, and also it can be used for air conditioning.”
First Test Drive
On 21 September AutoBild.de posted an early driving review of the Zoe, following a brief test drive at Munich’s ‘Allianz Zentrums für Technik’. It gives an insight into the start-up process:
“The start button is pressed, to a quiet computer start-up sound playing (as we know from the Nissan Leaf) and the message “Ready” appears. Move the somewhat long lever to D, and there you go, electric drive. The 65-kW motor and the torque of 220 Nm are available immediately providing the typical electric car sprinting power and are sufficient for a car of Polo size. The narrow instruments are all digital, even a picture of Zoe herself appears.”
On 9 September the French LA Tribune reported on the start of production of the Clio at Renault’s Flins factory, to be followed by the Zoe. Mass production of the Clio IV began in July at 30 cars per day, planned to increase to 300 per day. The Flins site starts two new models almost simultaneously with the manufacture of the Zoe just beginning. Eric Marchiol, Director, said:
“We build 5 per day and should increase to 30-40 in November.”
Renault has invested €150 million in Flins for the Clio IV, but also for the Zoe. In order to improve quality Renault added 340 new tools for stamping and 150 robots for handling sheet metal.
Your one stop source for news and updates on the Renault ZOE. For the latest prices and deals with free charging visit FuelIncluded.com.