Renault ZOE R240, VAB Family Car of the Year 2016

In the 29th Family Car of the Year Awards run by the Belgian automobile association VAB, journalist and family juries voted Renault ZOE R240 top in the electric vehicles category.

Renault ZOE
Renault ZOE

For the 2016 edition of its Family Car of the Year Awards, the Belgian automobile association VAB specified a 30-kilometre increase in the minimum “electric power” range required for vehicles in the “electric” category.

As well as running against other all-electric vehicles, Renault ZOE R240 was also competing with plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles with range extender.
With both juries (25 motoring journalists and 78 families) giving the car top ranking, ZOE R240 finished with 159 points in all, ahead of the Mercedes B250e (with 154 points) and Kia’s Soul (with 147).

The professional jury of motoring journalists praised ZOE’s “roomy interior, bold design and unbeatable price”, noting that “affordable pricing and long range are making Renault electric vehicles an attractive proposition for more and more people”. The family jury expected “a real breakthrough for ZOE R240, a truly affordable vehicle” and saw it as “an eminently practical choice of second vehicle, with its extensive equipment and large boot”.

The unofficial children’s jury appreciated “the neat bodywork, the smooth ride, the comfortable rear seats, and the pretty lights”.

Renault ZOE R240

Powered by the R240 unit, Renault ZOE boasts a range unparalleled in the all-electric segment: 240 km (NEDC standard), which is 30 km more than with the Q210 power unit. Renault engineers have improved the motor efficiency by optimizing the electronic control system. Higher efficiency means lower electricity consumption with no performance penalty.

The R240 power unit also brings a 10% reduction in ZOE’s charge time under most usage conditions. As well as extending the ZOE range, Renault engineers also upgraded the Caméléon charger to reduce the low-power charge time. The new Caméléon charger is especially efficient on charging stations from 3 to 22 kW, which account for more than 95% of the vehicle charging infrastructures currently in operation.

Source: Fuel Included News

ZOE Charging Curve (2.3kW ‘Granny’ Cable)

Soon after I bought our Type 2 ‘granny’ cable I did some testing to see how long it would take to charge the ZOE (when set to 10 Amps, about 2.3kW). Previously I’ve done some detailed monitoring of charge curves, specifically for 7kW home charging and 43kW rapid charging. Given that I knew this method would take much longer than either of those I chose to not monitor the whole charge, instead just one hour to get an idea of its behaviour.

Figure 1: ZOE 2.3kW Charge Curve (Image: T. Larkum)
Figure 1: ZOE 2.3kW Charge Curve (Image: T. Larkum)

As before, at regular intervals I noted the percentage state of charge and the predicted time to complete; these are shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2 respectively. With such a short test it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions, but it appears to be safe to deduce:

  • The ZOE dash predicts a charge time of about 10.5 hours from a start charge of 46%, so about 23 hours for a complete charge.
  • The ZOE is actually charging at about 6% per hour, so it should reach full charge in about 16 hours.

These findings are not inconsistent with each other, and the charge time is probably about 17-18 hours. Firstly, the previous analyses of charging curves show that the predicted charge time decreases over time, so it will likely decrease towards an actual lower charge time. Secondly, the predicted time includes time for battery balancing where the simple linear charge estimation does not, in other words there’s probably an hour or two of balancing ‘charging’ when the charge curve hits 99% – hence the estimation of 17-18 hours.

Figure 2: ZOE Charge Completion Prediction (Image: T. Larkum)
Figure 2: ZOE Charge Completion Prediction (Image: T. Larkum)

Of course, it’s obvious that this is a very slow way to charge compared to 3.5 hours on the usual home charge point (or half an hour on a rapid charger). This may be partly due to the charger being a generic, non-ZOE specific one and it may be partly due to the ZOE being an older Q210 model which is well known for inefficient charging at low powers.

So, if any readers are keen to volunteer, it would be interesting to repeat the test on other setups, for example:

  • A ZOE Dynamique Nav R240 with the Renault 13A cable
  • A ZOE Dynamique Nav Rapid Q210 (or older Intens) with the Renault 13A cable

If anyone sends me the details I’ll post them.

Meanwhile, despite the slow speed of charging, I have made good use of the cable a number of times to grab a ‘top up’ while spending time visiting family.

Figure 3: Green granny lead just visible going from front of ZOE under black car to garage (Image: T. Larkum)
Figure 3: Green granny lead just visible going from front of ZOE under black car to garage (Image: T. Larkum)

Most recently it got used…

Read more: Fuel Included Blog

ZOE Home Charge ‘Granny’ Cable

The Renault ZOE is unusual amongst electric cars in that it doesn’t come with a 13 Amp home charge lead as standard, a so-called ‘granny cable’. There are two likely reasons for this: firstly, the ZOE’s on-board Chameleon charger is less efficient at lower powers, which is the reason Renault insists on only funding higher power home charge points (32A rather than 16A). Secondly, it’s a simple fact that the ZOE’s 13A lead is rather pricey – at about £500 for the official Renault cable.

Unboxing the ZOE Type 2 charge cable (Image: T. Larkum)
Unboxing the ZOE Type 2 charge cable (Image: T. Larkum)

I didn’t order one originally with my ZOE and for a long time was rather sceptical of the benefit of it (I guess ‘you can’t miss what you haven’t had’). It takes a long time to charge (8-10 hours), more than twice as long as the home charge point, so I could never see myself getting much use from it. However, bad experiences with using public charge points when away from home, particularly a fateful Christmas Day, changed my mind. I eventually bought one ‘just in case’ and have had some good use out of it when spending long periods with relatives, in particular while visiting parents and in-laws.

I bought mine from nuWorld Energy (trading then as nuCharge, now as ChargedEV). It is a standard Type 2 cable so as well as the ZOE it should fit most non-Japanese (i.e. non-Type 1) electric cars such as the Volkswagen e-Golf, BMW i3, etc. There were two options: 5m long for £372 or 10m for £414. I went with 10m to make it easier to reach a socket when visiting relatives, and also bought a storage bag. They claimed 5 working days for delivery, though I had to wait more than a month for mine due to supplier issues.

The cable turned out to be a Ratio Electric product; it has a Type 2 connector at the car end, a three-pin ‘13A’ plug at the house end, and a waterproofed electronics box a short distance from the house end. It has the flexibility of being able to charge at 6A, 10A or 16A, with the selection made by a button on the side of the electronics box. The cost of this flexibility is that you need to manually set your preferred charge rate (up to the level available from the socket you use). The ZOE appears to start charging at 6A but in fact the battery level never goes up – it needs to be set to at least 10A to work.

The Ratio Electric Type 2 granny cable and storage bag (Image: T. Larkum)
The Ratio Electric Type 2 granny cable and storage bag (Image: T. Larkum)

This means that sometimes you have to awkwardly plug in at the house end, plug in to the ZOE, then dash back to the house to select the 10A setting before it times out and tries to charge at the default of 6A. Another awkward thing is that the electronics box is rather heavy, so when using any socket a distance off the floor it hangs down and can exert a significant force on the plug.

However, despite these minor issues, it has never failed to charge when connected to a good supply, and I have no regrets about purchasing it. Further, the 10m length option – something not available from most suppliers – has been a godsend. It doesn’t just allow for reaching sockets that might otherwise be unobtainable, but also provides the simple convenience of charging on a drive while parked behind the homeowner’s car (and so not requiring it to be moved out the way).

I have now used the cable a number of times, and I intend to write further about it (and give more details of the rate of charge).

(Update: next part here)

Source: Fuel Included Blog

Renault & Eneco collaborate on smart charging solution for electric vehicles

  • Agreement signed between electric vehicle leader Renault and energy supplier Eneco on December 7, 2015 at COP21 Paris conference
  • Eneco will develop smart charging app for ZOE, Renault’s 100% electric compact car
  • Renault ZOE users will be able to charge their car at lower costs using renewable energy
  • Reduced electricity costs for Renault ZOE users in the Netherlands


Eneco subsidiary Jedlix will develop a version of its existing smart charging app, to adapt it to Renault ZOE. This app makes it possible to charge electric cars using renewable energy at times when the market prices are most favourable. Like at night, when the production of sustainable wind energy exceeds demand in most European countries.

Marc van der Linden, member of the Executive Board of Eneco:

“It is expected that there will be three million electric vehicles in the whole of Europe by 2020. To reduce CO2 emissions, it is essential that this vehicle fleet will use green power. It is also important to prevent power grid overloads as a result of peaks in demand if all the cars would be charged at the same time. Our app forms a direct link between the electric vehicle and the supply of sustainably generated energy. Consequently, the energy used for charging is more sustainable, energy supply and demand is balanced and the costs of driving an electric vehicle are reduced because users charge their cars at lower rates.”

Eric Feunteun, Electric Vehicle Program Director at Renault:

“Renault electric cars support the energy transition in the automotive industry as they contribute to the replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energies. With smart charging systems like the one developed by Eneco, Renault electric vehicles make a big contribution to power systems’ stability and reliability: EVs turn into an asset for the grid rather than create overload. They can store and use electricity when it is less carbon-dependent and cheapest for their owners. Our partnership with Eneco is a move towards making driving a Renault ZOE more interesting and affordable and will contribute to an electric vehicles’ scale up”.

A pilot test carried out by Eneco in the Netherlands demonstrates that users can save up to 15% on their electricity costs by using the app. To achieve this, all they have to do is indicate by what time the car must be fully charged and the system will automatically determine the lowest price within this time frame. Van der Linden: “I am very proud that we will be launching this smart service together with a leading party in the field of electric transport.” The app will first be available for ZOE users in the Netherlands and soon be available in other countries where Eneco operates.

The electric vehicle, a solution to counter global warming

The carbon footprint of electric cars is shrinking fast, with the shift already underway toward the use of renewable energies in the overall energy mix in most countries across the world today. Renewable energies feature in 56% of the new electricity power plants built in the world today. In Europe, this figure rises to 72%.

Renault is the pioneer of affordable all-electric vehicles, and the only carmaker to offer a full range. Renault sees the electric vehicle as an eminently viable countermeasure against global warming.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is an official partner of the COP21 United Nations climate-change summit, providing a fleet of 200 Alliance electric vehicles, including 100 Renault ZOEs, to ferry delegates between Paris and Le Bourget from 30 November to 11 December 2015.

Source: 3D Car Shows via Fuel Included News

Renault unveils a unique documentary: The Electric People

[Note that although the video is in French, you can switch on Captions and through the YouTube Settings button you can set it to auto-translate to English]


From 8 to 28 July 2015, Sandra Reinflet (writer, singer and photographer) and Mathilde Terrier (journalist) took ZOE out on a most unusual Tour de France. The challenge would be to find electricity for charging the car every 150 kilometres along the way, with the help of the growing community of ZOEnautes and other electric car buffs. The three-week adventure gave rise to a documentary portraying this pioneering movement, along with its values and its commitment to progress and the environment.

For COP21, an event on which it is an official partner, Renault is proud to unveil this unique film, which will also be shown at the major climate conference.

Summer 2015, Sandra and Mathilde set out into uncharted territory with their Renault ZOE, roaming the roads throughout the country and knocking on the doors of total strangers, members of the electric vehicle movement. A strong community spirit would ensure there was always a power outlet available for recharging their batteries.

It was an original way to show that you can go far with an electric car, and meet a lot of interesting people along the way.

Read more: Fuel Included News

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