PHOTO CAPTION: Renault ZOE Ze all-electric concept car.

Renault Goes Electric

EV World's German correspondent reports from opening of Frankfurt auto show with first big EV announcement from Renault.

Published: 15-Sep-2009

Nissan-Renault's CEO Carlos Ghosn kicked off the bi-yearly Frankfurt motor show IAA today with the unveiling of some sensational-looking new electric vehicles.

First of all, the Twizy Z.E., to be marketed (despite totally futuristic looks) in the second half of 2011. It's a kind of four-wheeled, covered scooter with airbags -- and it's an EV. Weird yet totally functional, witha range of 100km, this looks like the kind of urban vehicle scores of megacities have been waiting for.
In the word's of Renault, the Twizy is a "ultra-compact and nimble 1+1 zero-emission city car, with 15kW motor (20hp) and footprint barely larger than a scooter (2.3m long, 1.13m wide and turning circle of 3m). It has a top speed of 47mph, with acceleration comparable to 125cc motorbike". I'd want one!

Then, there's the Zoe Z.E., what Ghosn says will be a core product for introduction in the second half of 2012. It's a C-segment four-seater with a 160km range, looking like an evolution of the Nissan Leaf which was first shown this August. It features a 70kW motor, 21" alloy wheels and retractable rear spoiler for greater aerodynamic efficiency.

The Fluence Z.E. is a D-segment, small family car similar to the Renault Fluence which is also premiering in Frankfurt. Also offering a range of 160 km, it is the car that Better Place has selected for the "Quickdrop" battery system roll-out (where you can change an empty battery within a few minutes at new "changing" stations in strategic locations). The battery can be charged using two othermethods: a standard charge (between four and eight hours), or a quick charge (20 minutes).

Better Place's Shai Agassi a few minutes later proclaimed his company had ordered 100,000 units of the Fluence Z.E., already making it the most-popular EV in 100 years.

Finally, Ghosn presented a not-quite new vehicle: the Renault Kangoo Z.E. concept, which is a small urban delivery van for the "last kilometer of the city transport chain".

Ghosn said that these four new EV's will cement Renault-Nissan's status as the number one low-CO2 car maker and the number one EV maker. Ambitious plans indeed, but the follow-through looks pretty good too, from this (Frankfurt) viewpoint.

Reported by Martin Schwoerer

Renault Electric Car Quartet

Click the 35mm slide icon to view Renault electric concept cars.

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