Europe’s one and only all-electric model
All Electric Cars – There’s good news for green motoring and it’s coming from France. Renault is breaking new ground with the production of the first electric-only car, the Renault Zoe. Previously, motor manufacturers have chosen to adapt existing models to run on an electric charge rather than develop a completely original electric model.
However, the Zoe will not have a gasoline version, which heralds an exciting new step in the development of electric vehicles and gives a clear signal that car makers believe electric cars have a serious future.
The Zoe, classed as a supermini, was launched in France last year after the first production model was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. It’s a five-door vehicle, slightly larger than its sister the Renault Clio. In terms of power, the vehicle has a 22kW-h lithium battery that in ideal conditions gives the car a range of 130 miles but in typical usage, it’s more like 60 to 90 miles.
For battery charging, Renault has patented a new system called Chameleon which allows the car to be charged at various levels, depending on the power available. This means the car can be charged to 80 per cent of its capacity in an hour. Importantly, the car scores well on emissions – the Zoe emits 58g of CO2 per kilometre compared to the 89g of the new Toyota Prius hybrid.
The first production Zoe was symbolically delivered to French Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg with the next 10 going to the Leclerc chain of stores who are leading the way in providing charging points for electric vehicles across France. The cars are now beginning to roll out across the country and shipping is also beginning to other countries across Europe.
Bizarrely, the company did face one potential problem with the launch of the car in that the parents of two girls called Zoe Renault took them to court to stop them using the name, claiming their children would be ridiculed as a result. Fortunately for the car maker, the ruling went in its favor so the Renault Zoe is here to stay.