Renault four electric vehicle concepts shock Frankfurt (full version)

 

TUESDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER 2009                                                                     6,998 WORDS

 

  

RENAULT’S FOUR ELECTRIC VEHICLE CONCEPTS SHOCK FRANKFURT

(FULL VERSION)

  

Renault is set to generate quite a buzz at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, unveiling an unprecedented four electric vehicle concepts, detailing the future infrastructure and technology behind the models.

Renault’s concept cars at the Germany show preview the Company’s range of electric vehicles which will be released from 2011 to cater for a wide variety of differing uses and customers.

In summary, Renault electric vehicle highlights are:

  • Twizy Z.E. Concept: pearlescent white ultra-compact and nimble 1+1 zero-emission city car, with 15kW motor (20hp) and footprint barely larger than a scooter. Top speed of 47 mph with acceleration comparable to 125cc motorbike. Features honeycomb-shaped diodes which can communicate with the vehicle’s surroundings
  • Zoe Z.E. Concept: compact four-seat supermini for short daily journeys in arban areas. Scissor doors at the front and butterfly doors at the rear, with polyurethane gel for front and rear of car to underline its hi-tech feel and protect components against small knocks in urban areas. Features 70kW motor for 100 mile range, 21” alloy wheels and retractable rear spoiler for greater aerodynamic efficiency. Comes complete with personalisable avatar for driving information, mood lighting and futuristic 'hydrate, detox and active scent' climate control functions
  • Fluence Z.E. Concept: electric version of all-new, elegant five-seat Fluence saloon with range of 100 miles for family driving. Boasts low-rolling resistance Michelin tyres and new Samsung Jet phone
  • Kangoo Z.E. Concept: previews electric van for fleet and commercial use with 70kW electric motor, solar roof panels and heated steering wheel
  • Quickdrop’: three distinct electric vehicle charging methods, of which this is one. ’Rapid exchange stations’ can replace batteries within three minutes 

In line with the values championed by the brand, Renault electric vehicles will offer customers a spacious interior, comfort, quality and safety. They will also feature a distinctive design. 

Electric vehicles represent the clean-break solution which can put zero-emission mobility within everyone's reach. In line with the brand's Renault eco² environmental policy, Renault Z.E. electric vehicles are poised to be marketed on a large scale to take a decisive stand on environmental issues. 

In 2011 Renault will start to market of affordable production electric vehicles, with the Renault-Nissan Alliance targeting number one status regarding the sale of mass market zero-emission vehicles. 

Twizy Z.E. Concept is an innovative response to the challenge of urban mobility. With its four-wheel chassis, it offers the driver and passenger, seated in tandem, an all-electric means of transport which produces no CO2 emissions.  Compact, nimble and practical, it offers a usable solution to city traffic. 

The wraparound bodywork creates a safe, reassuring cocoon which gives first class protection for both the driver and the passenger. Power comes from a 15kW electric motor which develops 70Nm of torque, making Twizy Z.E. Concept versatile and easy to drive. Its acceleration in urban and suburban traffic is comparable to that of a 125cc motorbike. 

The second showcar, Zoe Z.E. Concept, is evidence that an all-electric zero-emission vehicle can also boast smart, appealing looks. Its special roof optimises climate control management to ensure extended range, while interior ambience can be customised. Over and above its traditional role, the climate control system breaks new ground thanks to its 'hydrating', 'detox' and 'active scent' functions which combine to enhance travel. Zoe Z.E. Concept is a compact, versatile car for daily use, which represents a new form of transport thanks to the option of three battery-charging techniques. 

The third all-new concept at Frankfurt, Fluence Z.E. Concept, is a statement of Renault's intent to produce a range of zero-emission vehicles that meet the needs of all types of motorists. A genuine family car with attractive styling, comfort and space, it proves that such features can go hand in hand with environmental respect. 

Fluence Z.E. Concept is all-electric with a range of 100 miles. The battery can be charged using one of three methods: a standard charge (between four and eight hours), a quick charge (20 minutes) or an immediate solution (three minutes) which takes the form of the exclusive 'Quickdrop' rapid battery exchange system. The car previews the forthcoming electric version of Fluence and represents a solution to zero-emission motoring in the world of tomorrow. 

Kangoo Z.E. Concept is based on the current production version of the Renault Kangoo and brings zero-emission mobility to the professional road-user. Powered by a 70kW electric motor which delivers 226Nm of torque, in conjunction with a lithium-ion battery, its energy consumption is minimised thanks not only to the careful attention that has been paid to its overall design but also to energy optimisation solutions, without the necessary high standard of comfort suffering in any way. Kangoo Z.E. Concept's many information functions make it a particularly user-friendly, efficient and interactive vehicle. 

ENERGY MANAGEMENT: THREE BATTERY-CHARGING TECHNIQUES AND AN INTELLIGENT NAVIGATION SYSTEM 

Three options when it comes to 'filling up' on energy:

  • Standard charge: takes between four and eight hours, via a charging socket on the outside of the vehicle.
  • Quick charge: in 20 minutes, using the same socket at specific charging points.
  • 'Quickdrop' system: three minutes at a rapid battery exchange station.

Range optimisation is the greatest challenge for electric vehicles. This is why Renault is working hard to make the process as simple and efficient as possible by planning for all types of charging needs and methods.

 

A COMPREHENSIVE RANGE OF ALL-ELECTRIC ZERO-EMISSION VEHICLES FROM 2011  

  • Electric vehicles represent the clean-break solution that can put zero-emission mobility within everybody's reach. In line with the Renault brand's eco2 environmental policy, Renault Z.E. electric vehicles are poised to be marketed on a large scale with a view to taking a decisive stand on environmental issues.
  • This clean break already possesses significant political support around the world in the form of tax incentives based on CO2 emission savings, as well as infrastructure development for electricity-based mobility.
  • Renault will begin selling a range of affordable mass-production electric vehicles in 2011.
  • The Renault-Nissan Alliance aims to be number one in mass-market zero-emission vehicle sales. 

For electric cars to succeed, drivers need to be able to charge their vehicles, so Renault's mission isn't restricted to just designing them. At the same time as the Renault Z.E. models are rolled out, three distinct charging techniques will be introduced. To develop these solutions, Renault has entered into a long list of partnerships with governments, energy companies and other organisations, such as Project Better Place, for example, so that mass-market electric vehicles can become a reality.

 

THE ALLIANCE'S COMMITMENT TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES 

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has set itself the objective of mass-marketing CO2 emissions-free, non-polluting (particulates, NOx gases, etc.) vehicles. The Alliance's commitment to the electric vehicle is founded on a single, underlying principle: unlike every other technology (internal combustion engines, hybrids), electric vehicles are genuine zero-emission vehicles regarding their use on the road. They also allow a reduction in oil-dependency. 

Although well-to-wheel emissions of greenhouse gases (expressed as equivalent CO2) can vary significantly depending on how the electricity they use is produced in the different countries where electric vehicles are driven, they still account for a smaller quantity of greenhouse gases than equivalent internal combustion vehicles. 

When the electricity is produced by nuclear or renewable sources (hydro-electric, wind-generated, photovoltaic), the well-to-wheel performance of an electric vehicle is indisputably superior. With the electricity generation methods currently used in Europe, the results are still compelling, since CO2 emissions are halved compared to those produced by an internal combustion engine.

The well-to-wheel figure is further improved when the car is charged at night, which will be the most frequently used method. This allows customers to:

-            profit from electricity when demand for energy is low at night time; such

electricity often goes to waste because it is difficult to store.

-            benefit from appreciable savings by profiting from the off-peak tariffs offered

by energy companies; in France, for example, off-peak electricity costs 40

per cent less than at peak times during the day.

-            use the cleanest forms of electricity (nuclear, hydro-electric, wind power),

since thermal power plants are usually on standby at night. 

Electric vehicles represent a clean-break solution that can put sustainable mobility within everybody's reach. In line with Renault's environmental stance as expressed by its Renault eco² signature, Renault Z.E. electric vehicles will be mass-produced to achieve substantial environmental savings. 

In the 2008 edition of its World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency (IEA) explained that global energy demands, without the implementation of new policies, would rise on average by 1.6 per cent annually between 2006 and 2030, representing an overall increase of 45 per cent over the same period. This would lead to a corresponding rise in CO2 emissions if oil and coal remain the primary sources of energy. 

The report also analyses the different political options that could be used to tackle climate change after 2012, the date at which a new worldwide agreement is scheduled to come into force. This will be debated during the UN conference COP15 in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. 

The Renault-Nissan Alliance will market a comprehensive range of high-quality, reliable and innovative electrical vehicles at affordable prices. Renault Z.E. electric vehicles will be particularly quiet-running and generate zero emissions during use. As such, they will mark an environmental clean-break which is within the budget of the majority of motorists. 

SYNERGIES WITHIN THE ALLIANCE 

A decade after the establishment of the Alliance, Renault and Nissan stepped up cooperation in May 2009. They announced the creation of a team dedicated to speeding up and broadening the synergies that will enable both companies to improve performance, particularly in the field of electric vehicles. 

The electric vehicles produced by Renault and Nissan, for example, will be equipped with batteries developed by AESC, a NISSAN-NEC joint venture. The Alliance has pooled its expertise to strengthen synergies at every level and to encourage the sharing of major electrical assemblies, such as the drive train and batteries. Renault and Nissan also share purchasing requirements and have standardised components to generate economies of scale to make possible the development of mass-market electric vehicles. 

Renault and Nissan are working on shared components but will offer different ranges of electric vehicles. Each range will be sold separately, through distinct dealer networks. 

Furthermore, the Alliance is entering into partnerships with governments, local authorities and energy companies to drive forward the mass-distribution of electric vehicles worldwide. By the start of September 2009, the Alliance had already signed some 30 such agreements.

 

THE RENAULT RANGE 

The four electric concept cars unveiled at Frankfurt are forerunners of the range of Renault Z.E. electric vehicles that will begin to appear on the market in less than two years. 

From 2011, Renault will progressively roll out four electric vehicles, including two derivatives of internal-combustion vehicles. The first will be the electric version of Fluence initially to be available in Israel and Europe. The second will be an electric version of Kangoo Van, intended primarily for fleet and commercial use. 

The range of electric vehicles will then expand to cover other segments, with two vehicles that will be designed from scratch as electric vehicles. Derived from the Twizy Z.E. Concept car, the third vehicle will target urban mobility. The fourth vehicle, which takes inspiration from the Zoe Z.E. Concept car, will go on sale at the beginning of 2012 and will be a multi-purpose daily driver for urban areas. 

These four vehicles will cover a range of uses but customers will all have one thing in common: they will be in the vanguard of a new era of zero-emission mobility.

 

TWIZY Z.E. CONCEPT: 100% ELECTRIC, 100% PRACTICAL AND 100% INNOVATIVE

Twizy Z.E. Concept is an innovative response to the challenge of urban mobility. With its four-wheel chassis, it offers the driver and passenger – seated in tandem – an all-electric means of transport which produces no CO2 emissions. 

Twizy Z.E. is compact, nimble and practical – everything needed for city traffic. The wraparound bodywork creates a safe, reassuring cocoon which gives first class protection for both the driver and the passenger. 

Power comes from a 15kW electric motor which develops 70Nm of torque, making it versatile and easy to drive. The acceleration performance of Twizy Z.E. Concept in urban and suburban traffic is comparable to that of a 125cc bike.

 

A VEHICLE FOR BUSY CITY-DWELLERS… 

Twizy Z.E. Concept is an all-electric vehicle aimed primarily at busy city dwellers who need to pick their way through the urban jungle. Every day, they juggle work commitments with a busy social life, so efficiency, speed and simplicity are key. 

The ultra-compact dimensions of Twizy Z.E. (2.30m in length, and just 1.13m wide) ensure that it is nimble enough for urban use. The four-wheel layout, open bodywork and a seat format which puts the driver and passenger behind one another express Twizy Z.E. Concept's distinctive character.

 

...LOOKING FOR A PRACTICAL AND SAFE MEANS OF TRANSPORT 

For its occupants, Twizy Z.E. Concept represents a highly practical solution to the problem of urban mobility. With a turning circle of just three metres and a footprint barely larger than that of a scooter, Twizy Z.E. Concept is easy to park in town. Easy, agile handling ensures that it rarely gets stuck in traffic, while the four wheels and low centre of gravity provide excellent stability. 

Inside, the priority has been to make Twizy Z.E. Concept simple to drive. Data is easy for the driver to take in, with displays located at eye level at the base of the windscreen, and grouped in honeycomb-shape clusters which are easy to differentiate. For the passenger, getting into the rear seat is simple: the seatback is attached to the roof of the vehicle, allowing the lower part of the seat to pivot. The rear seat can even be adjusted to suit the passenger's height: the seat cushion can be turned over to become a booster cushion and give a child better visibility. When the cushion is used as a booster in this way, it frees up a load volume of 57 litres, in addition to the three litres provided by the cubbies on either side of the steering wheel. 

Twizy Z.E. Concept provides optimum levels of safety. The bodywork doesn't just protect the occupants from poor weather; it is also far more visible in traffic to other road users and effectively constitutes a safety cell. A deformable structure protects occupants in the event of a frontal impact while lateral reinforcement bars provide side impact protection. The retention systems include a four-point harness for the front seat and a three-point seatbelt at the rear, plus a driver airbag and two lateral airbags.

 

A NEW ERA OF ALL-ELECTRIC MOBILITY 

With its futuristic, pearlescent white bodywork, Twizy Z.E. Concept clearly belongs to a new era of urban mobility. As opposed to a conventional car, the body coloured wheel fairings are not spherical but octagonal, and cover the tyres entirely. Along with the pearlescent white and blue hub caps, they form a pleasing, harmonious design in which the wheels can no longer be seen rotating. Instead, the only visible movement is that of the hub caps, so Twizy Z.E. Concept appears to glide gracefully and silently, along the road. 

In keeping with this fresh approach to mobility, Twizy Z.E. Concept offers its occupants a new, simple and reassuring environment. The front and rear panels of Twizy Z.E. Concept are each equipped with a luminous matrix display, honeycomb-shaped diodes of which allow the driver to ‘talk’ to his or her immediate surroundings. In addition to serving as headlights and rear lights, these diodes can also produce 'smileys' which change expression as a function of the message the driver wishes to communicate. 

Inside, the cabin is light and airy thanks to the bodywork's extensive glazed surface. The blue and white colour scheme creates a soothing atmosphere which isolates the occupants from the stress of urban activity. Optimising the vehicle's range is simple and worry-free, with a poetic touch: remaining range is depicted by a lotus flower on the dashboard, with petals closing progressively as the range decreases. 

Twizy Z.E. Concept is powered by a 15kW (20hp) electric motor. This develops 70Nm of torque, and combines comfort with responsive performance at all engine speeds. Twizy Z.E. can accelerate at a similar rate to a 125cc bike, and pulls away briskly from standstill. With a top speed of 47mph, it will also be in its element in suburban traffic. 

The energy available onboard Twizy Z.E. serves just one purpose – mobility. The open chassis calls for neither heating nor climate control, both of which consume significant amounts of energy. This, coupled with the vehicle's low weight (it tips the scales at just 420kg, complete with batteries), contributes directly to its range which can reach 60 miles. 

The lithium-ion batteries for Twizy Z.E. Concept are located beneath the two seats and are charged by means of an extendible cable located behind the Renault logo at the front of the car. This cable can be plugged into a 220V 10A or 16A domestic socket, and will fully charge the batteries in just three and a half hours. 

Twizy Z.E. is the forerunner of one of the all-electric mobility solutions that Renault will introduce from 2011. 

 

TECHNICAL DATA

 

MOTOR

 

Type

Electric

 

Transmission type

Direct drive with reducer and forward/reverse inverter

 

Maximum power EEC (kW/hp)

15/20

 

Maximum torque EEC (Nm)

70

 

BATTERY 

 

Type

Lithium-ion

 

Range

60 miles

 

DIMENSIONS

 

Rims (inches)

13

 

Length (mm)

2,303

 

Width (mm)

1,132

 

Height (mm)

1,476

 

Wheelbase (mm)

1,695

 

Front/rear track (mm)

944/944

 

Front/rear overhang (mm)

304/304

 

Unladen weight (kg)

420

 

Tyres

135/80 R13

PERFORMANCE

Aerodynamic performance (CdA)

0.63

Top speed (mph)

47

       

 

ZOE Z.E. CONCEPT: ZERO EMISSIONS AND A PERFECTLY REASSURING RIDE

Zoe Z.E. Concept is proof that an all-electric zero-emission vehicle can also boast smart, appealing looks. It also features technology aimed at extending its range and enhancing travelling comfort. 

Zoe Z.E. is a compact, versatile car for daily use, which represents a new way of experiencing mobility.

 

AN ECONOMICAL AND ECOLOGICAL SOLUTION 

Zoe Z.E. Concept targets motorists who own more than one car and who are looking for a compact, versatile vehicle capable of meeting their varied day-to-day needs, such as the school run, work commute or shopping trips. 

Zoe Z.E. Concept is an all-electric, zero-emission vehicle which combines motoring with the environmental aspirations of customers looking for a vehicle with the best possible ecological footprint.

 

SLEEK STYLING 

Using cutting-edge electric-vehicle technology, Zoe Z.E. is proof that a zero-emission vehicle can also possess a dynamic, edgy, attractive design which immediately points to driving enjoyment. 

Aerodynamics have a major impact on the performance of a zero-emission vehicle and, in the case of the Zoe Z.E. project, the overriding concerns regarding design were elegance and efficiency. 

Zoe Z.E. Concept is just 4.10m long and powered by a 70kW electric motor which develops 226Nm of torque. The 21-inch wheels and large body panels are reassuring touches that give the four occupants complete peace of mind when travelling out of town. 

At the rear, a retractable spoiler deploys at speeds above 56mph to further aid Zoe Z.E.'s aerodynamic efficiency. This LED-equipped spoiler also serves as a brake light, as does the integrated light in the shark fin-style roof aerial.

 

The exterior design of Zoe Z.E. Concept incorporates technologies aimed at reasserting its 'zero-emission' credentials:

  •     the roof has been designed as an intelligent protective membrane that insulates the occupants from heat and cold, as well as optimising climate control by recovering energy via its honeycomb photovoltaic cells
  •     at the front and rear, a shield of polyurethane gel protects the lights which feature energy-efficient electroluminescent diodes that emit a blue-tinted light. This second skin protects vulnerable components from small knocks in town, while underlining this electric concept car's hi-tech feel
  •     the air intakes situated either side of the car channel airflow to cool the batteries. Air is extracted through two large rear channels through which it is possible to glimpse the streamlined suspension arms
  •     rearward vision is by two small, profiled, energy-efficient cameras which transmit images to the interior rear view mirror, giving the driver perfect visibility without blind spots
  •     the front features scissor doors, while rear access is through butterfly-style doors. The clever and original design of the rear doors means they also double up as boot openings, allowing the load space to be accessed from the side, from the pavement, for example.

 

AN INTERIOR DESIGNED TO PROFIT FULLY FROM THE SILENT RIDE 

The form of the front seat cushions resembles that of an asymmetric pebble, while the seatbacks are attached to the roof. At the rear, the seats can be folded flat to gain maximum load space. 

The dashboard contributes to the interior's uncluttered feel. Covered with an intelligent, mineral-like membrane, it responds to the lightest of touches to call up a range of touchscreen controls. The wide TFT (Thin Film Transistor) screen is housed in a glass bubble. This is the central information point for Zoe Z.E. Concept and displays navigation data, the charge indicator and remaining range, as well as a pallet of coloured mood lighting options which enable the interior ambience to be customised. This mood lighting can also be selected automatically via a sensor in the seat which will tone the lighting to match the colours of the driver's clothes. 

Information is presented by an avatar that appears on the TFT screen, creating a link between the driver and the technology thanks to short messages. The avatar can be personalised (male or female, downloadable from the internet), and provides information about traffic conditions, the route and remaining range. It can also indicate the nearest charging points. This way of humanising the technology makes it more accessible and creates a relationship with the driver to ensure that journeys are as pleasant as possible. 

The hands-free keycard can be personalised too, by fixing a chip to an object of the customer's choice to enable automatic door locking and ignition. 

Finally, the climate control system does much more than simply adjust the temperature. It also enhances travelling thanks to an innovative triple-function system:

  • Hydrating function. In contrast to conventional climate control systems, which can tend to dry out the air, small dashboard-mounted vaporisers spray an exclusive active substance to rehydrate the skin and exude a sensation of wellbeing.
  • 'Detox' function. A toxicity sensor monitors air quality and shuts off the airvents if required. Then, in addition to extracting harmful substances, the cabin filters deliver others which benefit the skin.
  • Active scent function. An electric system exhales essential oils suited to the mood of the moment: a relaxing drive home, perhaps, or the need to stimulate concentration when driving at night. 

This triple-function system has been developed in association with Biotherm®, the skin biology brand of L'Oréal's Luxury Products Division. 

After a journey in Zoe Z.E. Concept, occupants will feel more relaxed.

 

THREE BATTERY-CHARGING TECHNIQUES

The driver has three options when it comes to 'filling up' on energy:

A standard charge: takes between four and eight hours, via a charging socket situated on the outside of the vehicle.

A quick charge: in 20 minutes, using the same socket at specific charging points.

The 'Quickdrop' system: three minutes at a rapid battery exchange station.

TECHNICAL DATA                          

 

MOTOR

 

Type

Electric

 

Transmission type

Direct drive with forward/reverse inverters

 

Maximum power EEC (kW/hp)

70/95

 

Maximum torque EEC (Nm)

225

 

BATTERY 

 

Type

Lithium-ion

 

Range

100 miles

 

STEERING AND BRAKES

 

Power steering

Electric variable rate power steering

 

Parking brake

Electric

 

DIMENSIONS

 

Rims (inches)

21

 

Length (mm)

4,100

 

Width (mm)

1,840

 

Height (mm)

1,516

 

Wheelbase (mm)

2,605

 

Front/rear track (mm)

1,626/1,626

 

Front/rear overhang (mm)

747/719

 

Unladen weight (kg)

1,400

 

Tyres

185/55 R21

 

Boot volume (dm3 VDA)…

Between 150 and 500…

 

…with 4/3/2 occupants

…150/325/500

PERFORMANCE

Aerodynamic performance (CdA)

0.25

Top speed (mph)

87

       

 

 

FLUENCE Z.E. CONCEPT: AN ATTRACTIVE, SPACIOUS ELECTRIC FAMILY CAR 

  • Fluence Z.E. Concept is a statement of Renault's intention to produce a range of zero-emission vehicles that meet the needs of all types of customer. It is a genuine family car which demonstrates that attractive styling, comfort and space can go hand in hand with respect for the environment.
  • Fluence Z.E. Concept is an all-electric car with a range of 100 miles. The battery can be charged using one of three methods: a standard charge (between four and eight hours), a quick charge (20 minutes) or an immediate solution (three minutes) in the form of the 'Quickdrop' rapid battery exchange system.
  • Fluence Z.E. Concept previews the forthcoming electric version of Fluence, and represents a solution to zero-emission motoring in the world of tomorrow. 

You don't have to be young, rich, single, trendy and living in the city to drive an electric car. Renault has proved as much with Fluence Z.E. Concept, a car aimed squarely at the single-car family, where you can use the car to go to the office, but also take your partner and children to the country at the weekend. Therefore, the car needs to serve to an extent as a status symbol, but also provide enough interior space to function as a comfortable family car. The owner is environmentally aware, but wants to maintain his lifestyle and habits, too, without feeling guilty about it. 

Fluence Z.E. Concept meets this need. This status-enhancing, ecological family car claims a range of 100 miles, while its battery can be charged in one of three ways, including the ultra-fast battery exchange option which takes less than three minutes. Fluence Z.E. also allows the driver to make urban, country and motorway journeys with total peace of mind.

 

ELECTRIC MOBILITY WITH A PASSION 

Fluence Z.E. Concept possesses dynamic lines, highlighted by a fluid character line which sweeps from the headlights to the rear flanks. It is 4,820mm long, has a wide track of 1,672 mm, good proportions and elegant looks. 

Its identity as an electric vehicle is expressed through the graphic treatment of cooling ducts, the fins of which are redolent of heat transfer surfaces, and this theme is echoed in different ways in the design of the headlights and motor cover. The photovoltaic cells on the panoramic roof, dashboard and rear parcel shelf form a geometric grid which has been carried over to the grille and seat upholstery. 

Fluence Z.E. shows its links to Renault's electric vehicle ‘family' by:

-       its Atmosphere Blue body colour,

-       the specific luminous blue signature which features in the curved lower section of the body sides,

-       the use of LEDs at the front and rear,

-       the headlight design,

-       the recess behind the bonnet logo. 

The headlights convey the same impression of softness suggested by the vehicle's overall lines and colour. They are a high-tech feature, too: beneath the 'eyelids' formed by the indicators, the beams of the main headlights are precise and piercing, with the light focused into a single beam by means of a system of prisms. 

Chrome trim is used in the belt-line and grille and there are impressive 21-inch wheels. Blue polycarbonate hubcaps seem to slot into the aluminium wheels to create a spiral form, channelling the airflow and improving aerodynamic performance.

 

LUXURY, HARMONY AND… ENERGY EFFICIENCY 

Fluence Z.E. Concept's welcoming and refined interior is based on a combination of flowing forms, the use of soft, supple materials and a mottled ambience. 

Passengers are comfortably seated in four enveloping seats covered in light leather upholstery. The feet rest on a light blue translucent gel mat, while the brake and accelerator pedals too, are covered in gel for a greater sense of comfort. When the doors open, courtesy lighting recalls the luminous blue signature of Renault's electric vehicle range. 

The technology used for the dashboard is sophisticated and intuitive. A TFT (Thin Film Transistor) touchscreen displays multimedia information and essential journey-related information such as the navigation function and the location of the nearest 'Quickdrop' station. The display also provides data specific to electric vehicles, such as range optimisation information, for example. 

The centre console incorporates two floating armrests and forms a fluid, rearward-flowing arc. At the front, the integral central front armrest includes the stop/start button, the air-conditioning and audio volume controls, as well as the new touchscreen Samsung Jet phone. This phone comes with a hands-free function, and also enables occupants to listen to music or enjoy a film on the screens which have been built into the front seatbacks. The central rear armrest incorporates the climate control and volume controls, plus another Samsung Jet telephone and two remote controls for the two screens. 

Significant care has also gone into the design of the door panels: the door handles echo the rounded form of the centre console and electric window controls are flush with the surface, while the viewing screen for the rear-view cameras is integrated discreetly yet effectively. 

Fluence Z.E. is not respectful of the environment simply because it runs on electricity. Indeed, the entire car has been thought through to optimise energy use:

  • photovoltaic cells meet part of the car's energy requirements with a view to complementing the power supplied by the battery,
  • headlights use high-performance electroluminescent diodes which deliver an excellent trade-off between efficiency and energy consumption,
  • triple-zone climate control system allows occupants to achieve just the right settings for the two seats at the front and at the rear. The air vents also feature a dynamic lighting code, with blue representing the passage of cold air and red representing warm air,
  • the car's aerodynamics have been meticulously honed to minimise drag, including streamlined rear-view mirrors with integrated rearward facing cameras, a completely enclosed underside incorporating a diffuser at the rear, and spiral-form wheel rims,
  • Fluence Z.E. Concept runs on low-rolling resistance Michelin tyres. 

Fluence Z.E. Concept is powered exclusively by an electric motor located near the front axle, in conjunction with a lithium-ion battery positioned between the rear seats and the boot. Renault's designers and engineers worked closely together to develop a safe, practical vehicle capable of accommodating a large enough battery to ensure good range (100 miles), while also providing sufficient carrying capacity to cater for the requirements of an active family (327dm3). 

 

THREE BATTERY-CHARGING TECHNIQUES

The driver has three options when it comes to 'filling up' on energy:

A standard charge: takes between four and eight hours, via a charging socket situated on the outside of the vehicle.

A quick charge: in 20 minutes, using the same socket at specific charging points.

The 'Quickdrop' system: three minutes at a rapid battery exchange station. 

Fluence Z.E. Concept hints at the forthcoming electric version of Fluence, and represents a solution to zero-emission motoring in the world of tomorrow.

 

TECHNICAL DATA    

 

MOTOR

 

Type

Electric

 

Transmission type

Direct drive with forward/reverse inverter

 

Maximum power EEC (kW/hp)

70/95

 

Maximum torque EEC (Nm)

226

 

BATTERY 

 

Type

Lithium-ion

 

Range 

100 miles

 

STEERING

 

Power steering

Electric variable-rate power steering

 

DIMENSIONS

 

Rims (inches)

21

 

Length (mm)

4,820

 

Width (mm)

1,882

 

Height (mm)

1,520

 

Wheelbase (mm)

2,696

 

Front/rear track (mm)

1,672/1,672

 

Front/rear overhang (mm)

996/1,135

 

Unladen weight (kg)

1,600

 

Tyres

175/55 R21

 

Boot volume (dm3 VDA)

327

PARTNERS

Body

Protostyle

Tyres

Michelin

Sealing

Rehau

LED lighting

Osram

       

 

KANGOO Z.E. CONCEPT 

  • Kangoo Z.E. Concept is based on Renault Kangoo and brings zero-emission mobility to the professional road-user.
  • Kangoo Z.E. Concept is powered by a 70kW electric motor which delivers 226Nm of torque, in conjunction with a lithium-ion battery. Energy consumption is minimised thanks not only to the careful attention that has been paid to its overall design, but also to the energy optimisation, without the necessary high standard of comfort suffering in any way.
  • Kangoo Z.E. Concept's many information functions make it a particularly user-friendly, efficient and interactive vehicle.
  •  

AN URBAN AND SUBURBAN CALLING 

Kangoo Z.E. Concept's dimensions (length 3.95m, height: 1.85m) ensure that it is perfectly nimble and manoeuvrable in and about town. Its high torque (226Nm) is instantly available to ensure responsive acceleration performance in built-up areas.

 

ZERO-EMISSION MOBILITY, TOO, FOR THE PROFESSIONAL ROAD-USER 

The Kangoo Z.E Concept provides a hint at future mobility promises for urban-based transport and delivery companies, while at the same time carrying over the same acclaimed strengths as Kangoo - travelling comfort, roominess and safety performance. To facilitate loading, the hatch-type rear door and wide, folding tailgate ensures that parcels and other types of loads are easy to slide into the boot.

 

DESIGNED TO OPTIMISE ENERGY CONSUMPTION 

The design of Kangoo Z.E. Concept is in keeping with its mission as an electric vehicle which needs to minimise energy consumption, yet maintains modern comfort-related refinements.

The use of heat-reflective paint and bodywork featuring large surface areas reduces temperature fluctuations. Indeed, the bodywork functions along the same lines as a Thermos flask and comprises two insulating panels with a sandwich of air in between. Air, which is still the most effective insulant known today, serves to moderate temperature extremes between the exterior and the interior of the car. Thermal insulation is further optimised thanks to special treatment of glazed surfaces, meaning that less call is made on the climate control and heating systems which are big consumers of energy. 

Roof-mounted solar panels power a temperature regulation system inside the car. Keeping the cabin cool uses a significant amount of energy, but ensures a pleasant temperature to be maintained inside the cabin, even at a standstill or when parking, and avoids having to put the climate control system on boost when first getting in the car on a hot day. 

The entire layout of the heating and climate control systems has been developed to achieve a particularly efficient trade-off between performance and energy consumption. For example, the impression of heat is especially felt by the face and hands. Accordingly, if the cabin temperature is, say, 15 C, warmth is channelled as close as possible to these more sensitive zones (in the form of a heated steering wheel, for example) in order to ensure that the driver feels comfortable, while using less electrical energy. 

Conventional drag-producing exterior mirrors have been replaced by streamlined, low-energy cameras which are powered by the roof-mounted solar panels. These cameras provide improved all-round visibility, which is especially practical when manoeuvring. The full-disc aluminium alloy wheels produce less drag, too, while the headlights use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which are not only long-lasting but also low consumers of energy. 

 

INTERACTIVE AND USER-FRIENDLY 

The Kangoo Z.E. Concept car enables the driver to communicate with the vehicle making the most of its technology. For example, logos light up to signal that the vehicle recognises occupants as they approach. 

As a socially responsible car, it is also equipped with polyurethane gel bumpers which deform easily to soak up minor knocks, while customers and pedestrians can be reassured by their absorbent aspect. 

Like the charge indicator of a mobile phone, a linear display on the outside of the door provides an indication of how much range remains even before the driver gets inside the vehicle. 

Innovative navigation system contributes to intelligent management of the vehicle's energy requirements. The idea is to simplify journeys to use as little energy as possible. The Man Machine Interfaces (MMI) inside the car provide information concerning the location of the nearest car park or charge station as a function of how much range remains. The car not only warns and calculates, but it also thinks ahead. Information is communicated to the driver via a cell phone which slots into the dashboard. Using this cell-phone for navigation avoids having to run an energy-consuming in-car computer. 

The dashboard itself is divided into distinct functional units:

  • a new-format minimalist display providing data specifically relating to the electric motor
  • a remote control positioned between the seats incorporating a touchpad to key in data.

 

Kangoo Z.E. Concept provides a preview of the user-friendly, practical and efficient Renault electric utility vehicle of the future. 

 

TWO BATTERY-CHARGING TECHNIQUES

The driver has two options when it comes to 'filling up' on energy:

  • A standard charge: takes between four and eight hours, via a charging socket situated on the outside of the vehicle,
  • A quick charge: in 20 minutes, using the same socket at bespoke charge stations.

 

TECHNICAL DATA 

TECHNICAL DATA

Motor

Electric

Maximum power EEC (kW/hp)

70/95

Maximum revs (rpm)

12,000

Maximum torque EEC (Nm)

226

Drive train

Electric

Batteries

Lithium-ion

Tyres

245/35 R21

DIMENSIONS

Length (mm)

3,945

Width (mm)

1,856

Unladen height (mm)

1,748

Height with hatch open (mm)

1,902

Wheelbase (mm)

2,406

Front/rear track (mm)

1,572/1,572

Front/rear overhang (mm)

794/745

Weight (kg)

1,520

PERFORMANCE

Range

100 miles

Top speed (mph) capped electronically

81

PARTNERS

Bodywork

D 3

Pilot Sport PS2 tyres

Michelin

Samsung F480 cell phone for communicating with the vehicle

Samsung

 

ENERGY MANAGEMENT: THREE BATTERY-CHARGING TECHNIQUES AND AN INTELLIGENT NAVIGATION SYSTEM 

  • A STANDARD CHARGE using a domestic 220V 10A or 16A socket requires between six and eight hours to charge an electric vehicle. This method is best suited to a car parked overnight in a private parking area or during the working day in a shared car park. A secure automatic key system will prevent any kind of vandalism from disconnecting the cable during charging. This type of charging point could easily be incorporated in a private garage, or in shared domestic parking areas. The plug socket can be easily adapted to the current grid by an electrician.

For example, in France, EDF and Renault have been working hand in hand since October 2008. They have recently signed an agreement for a system termed 'Power Line Communication' (PLC). This allows confidential data transfer between the charging point and the vehicle while the battery is being charged, such as the vehicle's identity or billing information, for example. 

  • A QUICK CHARGE employs a 400V socket capable of operating from 32A to 63A triple phase using infrastructure that is under development. This system will charge a 20kWh battery in just 20 to 30 minutes, according to the available current. Charging points will be installed close to residential areas, offices or shops.

A group of 20 manufacturers, including Renault, as well as a long list of energy providers, have been working with the German company RWE on the development of a multi-purpose common charge plug that will cover the range of electricity from 230V/16A single phase to 400V/63A triple phase. This specification will allow charging infrastructures to be normalised across Europe, while also taking into account the variable capabilities of the different power grids and electric vehicles. The standard charge plug was launched last April in Hanover and will be suitable for recharging Renault's forthcoming range of electric vehicles. Approval by the usual standardisation authorities (ISO, IEC) is currently underway.

      

  • An IMMEDIATE CHARGE using the QUICKDROP system for rapid battery exchange.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has been working for two years in close collaboration with Project Better Place to develop rapid battery exchange stations.

The automatic battery exchange process takes approximately three minutes – the same amount of time needed to refuel with petrol or diesel filling station. It is also cleaner and more convenient for drivers as they will not need to leave their vehicle. The thinking behind the system is very straightforward and simply involves safely and rapidly removing the empty battery and swapping it for a fully-charged replacement. 

The battery exchange station will resemble a car wash, in the sense that the driver will enter the facility and stop the car in a precise location. This will allow the robot positioned underneath the vehicle to easily locate the attachment points of the battery that needs to be replaced. 

The system operates with two battery change robots on an automatic conveyor. The first robot takes the fully-charged battery that will be inserted, while the second removes the empty battery. At the end of the process, the conveyor belt transports the empty battery to a storage area where it is recharged in 20 to 30 minutes and then re-employed in another electric vehicle. The battery change robots have been designed to work with varying battery sizes which will allow them to handle different brands of electric vehicle. This is because the first electric vehicles to reach market will be modified versions of internal combustion vehicles. It is expected that fully electric vehicles will be designed around a common battery standard.

The only restriction is the need for a standardised system of battery attachment points to allow the robot to work as quickly as possible. 

The battery exchange technology on display today indicates the state of progress of the project, which will be rolled out in Israel initially. Battery exchange stations will be built to enable journeys longer than 100 miles, or for specific uses such as in taxi fleets. For example, the majority of taxis in and around Paris cover between 90 and 120 miles a day. They would need just one battery change to complete a day's work, or in other words a stop of just three minutes before they're back on the road with a fully-charged battery. 

Both at rapid charge points and at rapid battery exchange stations, the intention is to introduce a system which permits automatic recognition either of the charging socket or of the car itself in order to enable automatic billing. Drivers won't even need to get out a credit card.

 

  • INTELLIGENT NAVIGATION SYSTEM FOR RANGE OPTIMISATION

Range optimisation is the greatest challenge for electric vehicles. This is why Renault is working hard to make the process as simple and efficient as possible by planning for all types of charging needs and methods. 

A dedicated MMI (man-machine interface) has been developed to inform the driver of the vehicle's remaining level of charge and range. A new navigation system has been developed to meet the requirements of electric vehicles. It gives a precise indication of:

  • the location of the nearest charging points or battery exchange stations,
  • advance reservation of a charging point,
  • the precise remaining range,
  • the optimum route, taking into account the vehicle's range and the location of charging points. 

 

ENDS

 

Press enquiries: Contact Mike Gale on 01923 697653 or Jeremy Townsend on 01923 697592 at the Renault UK Press Office. E-mail is firstname.surname@renault.co.uk. This Press release, photos and videos are available to download from www.press.renault.co.uk.

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