A Step Closer…

My ZOE Order Details (Image: T. Larkum)
My ZOE Order Details (Image: T. Larkum)

I rang my local Renault dealer today, Marshall Motor Group in Bletchley, to arrange a ZOE test drive as a demonstrator is due in there later this week.

To my surprise I learned that my order for the ZOE had progressed through the Renault system to the point where I had been allocated a chassis number – a major milestone as far as I am concerned. I drove down and picked up a copy of the order paperwork.

Some comments on it, from top to bottom:

  • It starts with “The vehicle is expected to be delayed ie CPosAAD is > CDD” which is rather worrying.
  • “Owning account no. 037000 MARSHA” presumably is a code for Marshalls.
  • “Flag buy/lease” – it says Lease but this should be Buy, though I haven’t yet discussed finance details, etc.
  • “Date de lancement” (launch date) – I don’t understand the significance of this.
  • “Date d’affectation” (assignment date) – I guess this is when the order finally went onto the computer system.
  • “The vehicle is in factory (not yet built) with flexibility (M+2)” – apparently M+2 indicates that most options can be changed, this will become restricted when it moves to M+1, at that point it may be possible to change the choice of wheels, for example, but not the bodywork colour.
  • “Location UFLINS” – this presumably refers to the Flins factory.
  • “Fcast AAD” / “Prom AAD” – don’t know.
  • “Provisional Factory Exit Date 03/07/2013” – when it’s due to be completed, later than I had hoped.
  • “CCat DDD 29/07/2013” – Dealer Delivery Date (?), much later than I had hoped.

Remember Today: Earth’s CO2 Level Passes 400 ppm

Carbon dioxide levels can be seen climbing steadily in Scripps data from the last 55 years (Image: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego via National Geographic)
Carbon dioxide levels can be seen climbing steadily in Scripps data from the last 55 years (Image: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego via National Geographic)

National Geographic has reported that an instrument near the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawaii has recorded a long-awaited climate milestone: the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere there has exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in 55 years of measurement — and probably more than 3 million years of Earth history.

The last time the concentration of Earth’s main greenhouse gas reached this mark, horses and camels lived in the high Arctic. Seas were at least 30 feet higher — at a level that today would inundate major cities around the world.

The planet was about 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer. But the Earth then was in the final stage of a prolonged greenhouse epoch, and CO2 concentrations were on their way down. This time, 400 ppm is a milepost on a far more rapid uphill climb toward an uncertain climate future. Read More

In the UK this milestone appears to have been largely ignored, except by the Guardian:

Climate milestone is a moment of symbolic significance on road of idiocy

Global carbon dioxide in atmosphere passes milestone level

To give some context here are C02 levels over the last 10,000 years graphed a short time back – you can see for yourself where the new reading goes:

CO2 levels over the last 10,000 years (Image: SkepticalScience.com)
CO2 levels over the last 10,000 years (Image: SkepticalScience.com)

ZOE, Captur, New Clio and Scenic X-mod introduce the new Renault range in France

Zoe and Clio (Image: Renault)
Zoe and Clio (Image: Renault)

According to a report at Automotive World, Renault is completely reviewing its French vehicle range to enhance legibility and customer appeal. This new marketing policy for France, which will be deployed across the range between now and September 2013, will simplify the range and make it more attractive. Following ZOE in March, Captur, New Clio and Scénic Xmod gain the new trim names Life, Zen and Intens from April. These names, along with the associated product content, will be gradually extended to the entire Renault range in France.

The Renault range has become complex, with up to eight levels of trim for a single model. As a result, Market Area, France, has decided to review the entire range in order to make it simpler and more attractive.

“The objective is to invent a form of ‘post-scrappage bonus’ marketing that enhances both the perceived value of the product and its appeal for customers. Against a backdrop of economic gloom, we aim to win back market share through new flagship products such as New Clio, ZOE and Captur, as well as through an appropriate marketing policy.”

Nicolas Monnot, Marketing Director, France

Three levels of trim for a simplified offering

The trim names Life, Zen and Intens, introduced with ZOE, will gradually replace the existing names (Authentique, Expression, Dynamique, etc.) in the current range. The Life trim groups the essential features in an attractive package. The Zen trim offers the best comprise on everything customers expect from a mid-range version. While the Intens finish delivers maximum pleasure.

The simplification of the range will be accompanied by a review of the policy on optional packs (looks, comfort, technology, etc.). The objective is to make them more meaningful and more legible for both customers and sales people.

First Anniversary Of Reservation

First Anniversary of Reservation (Image: DMG.blogspot.com)
First Anniversary of Reservation (Image: DMG.blogspot.com)

Yes, today is the first anniversary of reservation – it is exactly one year ago today that I did the online registration for a Renault ZOE, which gave me registration number #172. And yet, here I am a year later and a year older, and still no sign of it!

If I had known then that I would have to wait so long I wonder if I would have gone ahead – certainly I might have been tempted to buy a Nissan LEAF, or perhaps wait for a BMW i3 since its release is now not so far away. Of course, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

ZOE serving employees of Lyon City Hall

One of 10 Lyon ZOEs (Image: Renault)
One of 10 Lyon ZOEs (Image: Renault)

In 2010, the city of Lyon adopted an equitable and sustainable approach to urban management through its territorial climate and energy plan (PCET). Further reflecting its environmental aims, the city acquired a pool of ten Renault ZOE vehicles in March 2013. These vehicles are made available to employees working at the site located at 198 avenue Jean Jaurès for their occasional travel requirements.

In this way, the city is encouraging its employees to adopt a “smart” driving approach. Employees can charge their ZOE on any one of the ten wall-box type charging stations installed in the site car park.

ZOE Configurator

My Personal Renault ZOE: Energy Blue Intens with 16” Alloy Wheels (Image: Renault.it)
My Personal Renault ZOE: Energy Blue Intens with 16” Alloy Wheels (Image: Renault.it)

Over the last few weeks I have been working on a ZOE Configurator, a web page where you can design your own ZOE, taking account of the various colours, wheels and other options that Renault offers. It went live 10 days ago, and it uses a lot of data (including prices and images) from Renault’s French and Italian websites. These sites have official ‘configurators’ which have been up and running for some time. They are very thorough; however, I find them very difficult to use and navigate, hence the idea of a simpler version.

To try out the MyRenaultZoe Configurator go here:

The Configurator!

– and note that once you have configured your perfect ZOE you can right click on the picture and save it to your computer (e.g. to use as wallpaper).


Breaking News

I am pleased to report that on visiting the Renault.co.uk site this evening, as I do very often, a new ‘Configure a ZOE’ link has appeared at last. This is a very encouraging sign, as it looks like the UK is catching up with the lead nations (France and Italy) for ZOE launches – the Renault websites for Germany, Spain and The Netherlands, for example, still have older versions of the Renault ZE web pages.

Finally it looks like the UK is getting Renault’s focus, and maybe the promises of ZOE deliveries in late May and early June no longer seem quite so farfetched.

Renault Gearing Up for UK Launch 3

Zoe on Tour at Local Dealer (September 2012)
Zoe on Tour at Local Dealer (September 2012)

Renault continues to keep very quiet about the UK launch. In addition to some previous information, I today learned a few more titbits from my local dealer:

  • I should be contacted on Tuesday or Wednesday next week about my order. I should get an allocated vehicle (presumably tied to a chassis number) and a confirmed delivery date.
  • I should also be contacted about the installation of a wall box.
  • Vehicles will be available for test drives about 15-20 May.
  • Delivery for pre-ordered vehicles is still pencilled in for the end of May or early June.
  • My vehicle is the 27th due to arrive in the UK, with four of those first 27 being orders from my dealer.
  • As in France, no opportunity charging cable (‘granny cable’) will be available. Instead it will be possible to ring any Renault ZE dealer to book access to their charge points – and they will all be fast charge capable. Dealer charging will be free.

The salesman mentioned that the dealer staff had a chance to try out a set of 5 ZOEs and had been impressed with their smoothness and acceleration. And had also been impressed with the potential range, having started with a predicted range over 100 miles – after driving about 30 miles the range had only dropped by about 20 miles.

It’s all very encouraging – now Renault just need to get them in the hands of real customers! This time next week will be one year since I pre-ordered my ZOE.

Norauto Buys 40 ZOE Courtesy Cars

Norauto ZOE Courtesy Car (Image: LesEnjoliveuses.com)
Norauto ZOE Courtesy Car (Image: LesEnjoliveuses.com)

It has been reported that Norauto is buying 40 ZOEs to use as courtesy cars. Barnard Cambier, Commercial Director of Renault France, says:

“The electric vehicle is not a gamble, it is a reality. True to its tradition of innovation, Renault is at the head of this new approach to mobility. I am particularly pleased that the Norauto partnership with 40 ZOE means potentially 15,000 people each year will discover the extraordinary qualities of the vehicle, and a new experience of driving pleasure.”

When making an appointment to have a car in the Norauto workshop the customer simply needs to book a Renault ZOE as a courtesy car. It costs no more than €6.50 per half day or €12 for a full day for holders of the Norauto card and insurance.

The list of Norauto centres in which ZOE will be used as a courtesy car is: Aix en Provence, Annecy, Aubagne, Avignon Sud, Belle Epine, Bobigny, Chambéry, Chambourcy, Chambray, Tours, Chenove, Créteil, Dieppe, Dijon, Illzach, Le Mans Nord, L’Isle d’Adam, Lyon, Mandelieu, Marne La Vallée, Mondeville, Montivilliers, Pau Lescar, Perpignan, Plaisir, Portet, Reze, Sorgue, St Egreve, St Jean Ruelle, St Priest, Toulouse, Tourville la Rivière, Vallauris, Vélizy et enfin, Wittenheim.

News and comment on the Renault ZOE electric car – quiet, lively, and non-polluting for £300 per month including fuel.