Renault Introduces World’s Largest Photovoltaic System in the Automotive Industry



Renault inaugurates the world’s largest photovoltaic system in the automotive industry (Image: Renault)
Renault inaugurates the world’s largest photovoltaic system in the automotive industry (Image: Renault)

This week Renault is introducing 40 hectares of photovoltaic panels simultaneously at six of its French production sites. The initiative further confirms Renault’s environmental commitment and is also an innovative way of protecting new vehicles before they leave plants.

Renault this week is introducing 400,000 square meters (equal to 60 soccer pitches) of photovoltaic panels, making the system the world’s largest in the automotive industry. The panels are located at six covered, ISO 14001-certified sites – Douai, Maubeuge, Flins, Batilly, Sandouville and Cléon – in delivery and shipping centers and employee parking areas.

The entire surface area is covered with photovoltaic panels developing total power of 59 MW and able to produce 52,600 MWh of electricity a year, enough for a town of 15,000 people. On average, photovoltaic solar plants have total power of around 1 MW.

The system is made up as follows:







Panel Surface area (m2)







Electricity production (MWh a yr)







  • Renault’s photovoltaic installations will help to make a 200-tonne reduction in the CO2 emitted annually by electric engine production (calculated on the basis of the energy mix in France), the equivalent of 550 round-the-world trips by an internal-combustion vehicle emitting an average 100 g/km of CO2 or a fleet of roughly 1,500 vehicles each travelling 15,000 km a year.
  • The photovoltaic system also showcases the Group’s expertise in renewable energies. Sustainable ratings agencies have for a number of years ranked Renault among the most “virtuous” companies in terms of environmental management, particularly on carbon strategy. Renault continued to figure among the frontrunners in the 2011 rankings from SAM, Carbon Disclosure Project and Oekow Research.

The initiative is also an innovative way of protecting new vehicles before delivery to the sales network because it limits storm damage. The panels are designed to resist impact and hail in particular.

The photovoltaic project was developed by Renault, project initiator and coordinator, in its role as lessor, together with its partners Gestamp Solar and Coruscant (Cléon only), in their role as operational project managers.

The system is also being rolled out internationally. The Group is to set up nearly 100,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels at the Valladolid and Palencia plants through an agreement with Cenit Solar, while feasibility studies are underway in Slovenia, Morocco, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Romania. Further projects are being introduced at the Busan site in South Korea, with 300,000 square meters scheduled for finalization in December 2012.

My Registration for a Renault Zoe – 2

Before orders for the Zoe get underway I should finish writing up my experiences of reserving one, as I started here. Two months after registering I received my first ‘free gift’ from Renault, a Zoe-themed notebook:

Zoe Notebook
Zoe Notebook

A couple of weeks later I received an email about a special offer of free ‘Zoe’ training shoes:

Zoe Trainers Email
Zoe Trainers Email

I took up the offer; things went quiet for a couple of months and then they arrived:

Zoe Training Shoes (Image: T. Larkum)
Zoe Training Shoes (Image: T. Larkum)

The trainers aren’t bad, and are reasonably comfortable most of the time – except, ironically, when used for driving.

Free gifts are all well and good, but they aren’t why I reserved a Zoe. I did that to get to the front of the queue for a Zoe order – at least, I assumed that would be the case at the time, and there have been rumours to that effect since. Specifically it has been stated that Zoe reservers would get early notification of the opening of Zoe orders, and have a period in which they could exclusively order. If the reported opening of orders this week takes place, however, this clearly isn’t true since I’ve not been contacted so far on account of my reservation. I am beginning to wonder what Renault thought was the point of opening Zoe reservations – just a marketing exercise to gauge interest?

Renault Triumphs at the Future Car Challenge



Zoe in Future Car Challenge
Zoe in Future Car Challenge

Renault collected four awards at the annual Brighton to London RAC Future Car Challenge on Saturday 3rd November winning categories for the ZOE supermini and Kangoo Van Z.E. as well as scooping the overall prize.

Renault Clio in Future Car Challenge
Renault Clio in Future Car Challenge

The event, sponsored by RAC Motoring Services was first introduced in 2010 to showcase low energy use vehicles. It features competitors driving electric, hybrid, hydrogen and low-emission conventional petrol and diesel cars on a 63-mile route from Brighton to London, using the least amount of energy as possible. The event is a real-world test of current and future vehicle technology.

Entrants in Future Car Challenge
Entrants in Future Car Challenge

ZOE, Renault’s new 100% electric supermini won the categories of Most Energy Efficient Small Car and the Best Pure Electric Vehicle.  Kangoo Van Z.E. won the Most Energy Efficient Light Commercial Vehicle category.  Against a wide range of competition including fully electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles, ZOE won the overall RAC Future Car Challenge for a production car.

Andy Heiron, UK Head of Electric Vehicles Programme, said,

“I’m delighted to have won four out of 19 categories.  We’re the only manufacturer offering such a wide range of fully electric vehicles to cover the main market sectors and appeal to both retail and business buyers. Our current three-model range has already been attracting a lot of interest, especially the unique Twizy. The proof of the pudding though is trying them out. We’re confident that after experiencing the refined and responsive driving experience of a purely electric vehicle, combined with the financial and environmental benefits of switching to an electric vehicle, potential buyers will be smitten.”

Electric supermini ZOE drives the change has just been approved for access to the Renault UK Press Online Site – this will allow for more timely and complete reporting of press releases from Renault. To kick things off, here’s a complete electronic copy of the latest Zoe release. It includes full pricing, including battery lease costs at last, but unfortunately does not give any additional information on ordering dates or process. Note that in the pricing table ‘PiCG’ means ‘Plug-in Car Grant’, i.e. the UK government subsidy.




  • Renault’s first bespoke 100 per cent electric car ZOE in showrooms from Spring 2013 and is available to reserve now for just £49
  • ZOE available in three trim levels with a starting price of only £13,650 on-the-road after UK Government Plug-in Car Grant deduction. Battery hire from £70 per month
  • Longest range of any electric vehicle with an NEDC cycle figure of up to 130 miles
  • ZOE packs the industry’s most advanced technology, including six world firsts designed to deliver user-friendliness, range and connectivity
  • ZOE will be the spearhead of the ‘Renault 2016 – Drive the Change’ plan to cut its global carbon footprint by 10% between now and 2013 and a further 10 per cent between 2013 and 2016

Renault’s new supermini ZOE is available to reserve now ahead of its UK showroom launch in Spring 2013 to mark a new era of electric vehicles for all.

The flagship vehicle of the French brand’s four-strong 100 per cent electric vehicle range is stylish, affordable and incredibly versatile – perfect for commuting, supermarket and school runs, and for households who want to downsize their engine and carbon footprint.  With an NEDC homologated range of up to 130 miles and an on-the-road price from just £13,650, ZOE is the first affordable car for everyday use to have been designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.


ZOE packs the industry’s most advanced technology, including no fewer than six ‘world premiere’ features and 60 patents designed to deliver user-friendliness, range and connectivity.  The hotly-anticipated Renault comes in the wake of the Fluence Z.E. saloon, Kangoo Van Z.E. and the innovative urban runabout Twizy to make zero emission mobility a reality for ordinary motorists – one of the pledges of Renault’s ‘Drive the Change’ signature.

Andy Heiron, UK Head of Electric Vehicles Programme, said: “ZOE will be the spearhead of the Renault Z.E. range. In addition to its compact size, attractive styling and affordable price tag, it showcases Renault’s technological excellence when it comes to electric vehicles.  ZOE also heralds the beginning of a new era of electric mobility for all and confirms our commitment to electric vehicles. It marks an important step for Renault which has a 114-year history of making major innovations a concrete reality for everyday motorists.”


ZOE is available in three trim levels – Expression, Dynamique Zen and Dynamique Intens – and is packed with a raft of innovations for a new form of motoring.  The sleek supermini is the first vehicle to be equipped with ‘Range OptimiZEr’ which combines three major innovations (new-generation regenerative braking, a heat pump and MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyres). Due to this, the range of ZOE has the longest range of the electric vehicles in mass production. With these Michelin tyres, in the NEDC cycle, ZOE is homologated with a range of 130 miles. However, this is a reference figure, in real conditions, for example, in suburban use, the owner will generally achieve around 60 miles in cold weather and 90 miles in temperate conditions.

ZOE is the only electric vehicle to feature the Chameleon charger. Patented by Renault, this charger is compatible with all power levels up to 43kW. Charging batteries at a charging station can take between 30 minutes and nine hours, with 80 per cent of full battery power able to be achieved within 30 minutes using a single type of connection for the car.


ZOE is also the first Renault vehicle to be presented with new multimedia system, Renault R-Link. To enable drivers to control its functions without taking their eyes off the road, R-Link features a large seven-inch display, steering wheel-mounted controls and voice recognition. It also delivers integrated connectivity with motoring services and applications available from the R-Link Store.

Driving ZOE is a unique experience which gives new meaning to the term ‘driving pleasure’. The synchronous electric motor with rotor coil has a power output of 65kW (equivalent to 88hp) and instantly delivers maximum torque of 220Nm. Acceleration and pull-away are responsive from low speeds, while top speed is limited to 84mph. Driving is more relaxing thanks to the silent ride and smooth, gearshift-free acceleration.

For stress-free driving in built-up areas, ZOE is fitted with ‘Z.E. Voice’, an alarm which warns pedestrians that the vehicle is approaching. ‘Z.E. Voice’ can be heard from 1 to 18 mph and was the subject of special design work to create a bespoke sound identity for ZOE. The driver can choose between three different sounds, while it is possible to turn off the warning system by simply pressing a button.

Programmable pre-conditioning heats or cools ZOE’s cabin when the vehicle is charging so when the driver gets into the car the cabin is just the right temperature and battery charge is saved in use. An activated charcoal cabin air filter traps most bad smells and pollutants. It also filters substances just a few microns in size, such as pollen and soot.

The choice of colours and materials for one of the ZOE versions, Dynamique Zen, recalls purity and wellbeing: white, blue and chrome, with a light coloured interior ambiance. ZOE Dynamique Zen is fitted with ‘Take Care by Renault’ equipment as standard with active scent diffuser, ioniser and toxicity sensor together with Teflon seat protection.

Its agile, dynamic looks express driving enjoyment, while its signature headlights feature LEDs that permanently light up recesses situated either side of the front air intake. Like Twingo and Twizy, ZOE features the Renault brand’s new design identity.

ZOE Expression comes with an on-the-road price of £13,650, after the Government Plug-in Car Grant deduction, while the Dynamique Zen and Intens start from £14,750. Battery hire is from £70 per month.

For more information and to reserve your Renault ZOE for just £49 visit By reserving online, customers will be offered exclusive updates, priority to test drive at one of our events and invitations to Z.E. events.

Standard equipment on Expression:

  • R-Link – voice controlled TomTom satellite navigation with 7” touchscreen and voice control
  • 4x20W radio
  • USB port and SD Multimedia
  • Bluetooth®
  • ‘Range OptimeZEr’ – new-generation regenerative braking, a heat pump and MICHELIN Energy E-V tyres
  • Chameleon charger
  • Z.E. Connect – remote monitoring of battery charge and range
  • Z.E. Voice – pedestrian warning
  • Climate control
  • Cruise control
  • LED DRLs
  • ESC
  • ASR Traction control
  • CSV Understeer control
  • HSA Hill Start Assist
  • Renault keycard
  • ISOFIX mountings on front passenger seat and outer rear seats
  • TFT instrument display
  • Height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Privacy glass to rear side and tailgate windows
  • RAID automatic door locking

Additional equipment on Dynamique Intens and Dynamique Zen:

  • 16 » Aerotronic alloy wheels
  • Renault keycard with hands free functionality
  • 4x35W radio with Arkamys digital sound
  • Z.E. Interactive – remote battery charging and air conditioning/heating activation
  • Z.E. Digital – remote access to R-Link store e.g. email access)
  • Automatic headlight activation
  • Automatic wiper activation
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Electric rear windows
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rear parking camera (Dynamique Intens only)
  • ‘Intens’ dark interior ambiance (Dynamique Intens only)
  • ‘Zen’ light interior ambiance with Teflon seat protection (Dynamique Zen only)
  • ‘Zen Take Care by Renault’ – active scent diffuser, ioniser, toxicity sensor – (Dynamique Zen only)

 Optional equipment on Expression:

  • 16” Aerotronic alloy wheels £310
  • Renault i.d. paint £300
  • Metallic paint £460
  • Renault i.d. metallic paint £600
  • Automatic headlight and wiper activation £165
  • Renault keycard with hands free functionality £300
  • Rear parking sensors £350
  • 4x35W radio with Arkamys digital sound £250
  • Z.E. Interactive – remote battery charging and air conditioning/heating activation £150
  • Z.E. Digital – remote access to R-Link store e.g. email access) £25
  • Western Europe map for TomTom £110
  • TomTom Live services 3 year subscription £125
  • Easy Pack – rear parking sensors and automatic headlight and wiper activation £275
  • Comfort Pack – Renault keycard with hands free functionality and electric rear windows £245

Optional equipment on Dynamique Intens:

  • 17” Tech Run alloy wheels (not available with MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyres £400
  • Renault i.d. paint £300
  • Metallic paint £460
  • Renault i.d. metallic paint £600
  • Western Europe map for TomTom £110
  • TomTom Live services 3 year subscription £125

Optional equipment on Dynamique Zen:

  • 17” Tech Run alloy wheels (not available with MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyres £400
  • Rear parking camera £310
  • Renault i.d. paint £300
  • Metallic paint £460
  • Renault i.d. metallic paint £600
  • Western Europe map for TomTom £110
  • TomTom Live services 3 year subscription £125



Basic Price (£)

VAT (£)

Total Retail (£)

Less PiCG (£)

Total Retail after PiCG (£)

Delivery Charge (£)

First Reg Fee (£)

OTR after PiCG (£)











Dynamique Zen










Dynamique Intens













Battery Rental for ZOE


up to 7,500




Contract term*

36 months and more





24 month


12 month


Latest on UK Orders

As described in my previous post, I now have a deposit taken for my Zoe order. The dealership has been trying to put its orders onto the system today. However they have had an email from Renault saying that the dealer ordering system will open on the 9th. At that point they will have all the ordering system codes etc.

Meanwhile, the basic information available is a release from Renault dated 30 October, of which I have a paper copy. It gives the following prices:

Expression: £14,444

Dynamique Zen: £15,666

Dynamique Intens: £15,666

Delivery Charge: £595

Registration: £55

Battery lease: £70 per month for 7,500 miles per year. £77 for 9,000 miles. £85 for 10,500 miles. £93 for 12,000.

Your one stop source for news and updates on the Renault ZOE. For the latest prices and deals with free charging visit