Zoe adds new life to electric cars
Renault’s new battery-powered Zoe supermini will be launched early in 2013, particularly in the UK where a state grant for such cars is available.
Taking that deduction into account, the little cars – Renault’s first 100% electric car - will cost from the equivalent of R191 000 with prices rising according to trim and accessories through the three model levels.
Battery rental will be the equivalent of about R980 a month but Renault says the Zoe (Greek for ‘life’) has the best range of any electric vehicle with an NEDC cycle figure of up just over 200km.
Renault admits, however, that in real life the Zoe is likely to get 100km in cold weather and perhaps 140 on temperate days.
The cars will lead the 'Renault 2016 – Drive the Change' plan to cut its global carbon footprint by about 20% by 2016.
“The flagship vehicle of the four-strong range,” Renault says, “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.
“It’s the first affordable car for everyday use to have been designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.”
The Zoe is said to have six “world premiere” features and 60 patents covering user-friendliness, range and connectivity as it comes in after the Fluence sedan, Kangoo van and the innovative urban runabout Twizy “to make zero-emissions mobility a reality for ordinary people – one of the pledges of Renault’s 'Drive the Change' signature”.
'NEW ERA OF MOBILITY'
Andy Heiron, head of the electric vehicles programme in the UK, said: “The Zoe will be the spearhead of the Renault ZE electric range. In addition to its compact size, attractive styling and affordable price, it showcases Renault’s technological excellence with electric vehicles.
“It heralds the beginning of a new era of electric mobility for all and confirms our commitment to electric vehicles.”
The Zoe, Renault says, will be available in three trim levels: Expression, Dynamique Zen and Dynamique Intens. It claims to be the first vehicle to have Range OptimiZEr which “combines three major innovations”. They are new-generation regenerative braking, a heat pump and Michelin Energy E-V tyres).
Replenishing battery power at a charging station can take from 30 minutes to nine hours, with 80% charge in 30 minutes at some connections.
The Zoe is also the first Renault to be offered with a new multimedia system, Renault R-Link, which allows its driver to control functions without looking away from the road. It has an 18cm 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 the car,” Renault says, “will be a unique experience, giving new meaning to the term ‘driving pleasure’. The synchronous electric motor has a power output of 65kW and instantly delivers maximum torque of 220Nm.
“Acceleration and pull-away are responsive from low speeds, while top speed is limited to about 130km/h. Driving is more relaxing thanks to the silent ride and gearshift-free acceleration.”
Because of its silent running, the Zoe cab warns pedestrians of its approach at up to 30km/h with one of three model-specific sounds chosen by the driver. And yes, it can be switched off.
The aircon can be set to run during charging so the driver will have a comfortable cabin on his return; the air filter catches pollutants down to a few microns in size, including pollen and soot.
The car’s signature headlights use always-on diodes and overall look mimics design features from the Renault Twingo and Twizy.
Standard equipment (depending on model) includes satnav, a variety of audio systems with USB and multimedia connections, Bluetooth, cruise control, traction control, child-seat anchors, auto door locks, fully adjustable steering wheel, auto lights and wipers and parking sensors (vital in Paris).