The French automaker Renault has just unveiled the the Kangoo Z.E. Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the third of Renault’s four electric vehicles that accoding to the company will go into production by 2011, and the the Kangoo Z.E. Concept is the one intended for everyday use.
The concept is powered by a 70 kilowatt motor delivering a maximum of 226 Nm of torque. Power is derived from a lithium-ion battery, that with a full recharge have an autonomy of four to eight hours, while a 20-minute quick charge you can take a short trip around the house.
With a weight of only 1520 kilos, the Kangoo ZE can hit a top speed of 130 km/h.
Press release after the jump.
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 foretaste of what mobility promises to resemble in the future for urban-based transporter and delivery companies, while at the same time carrying over the same acclaimed strengths as Kangoo when it comes to travelling comfort, space and safety performance. To facilitate loading, the hatch-type rear door and wide, folding sill ensures that parcels and other types of loads are easy to slide into the boot.
DESIGNED TO OPTIMIZE ENERGY CONSUMPTION
The design of Kangoo Z.E. Concept has been thought through in keeping with its mission as an electric vehicle which needs to minimize energy consumption, yet without losing sight of the need for 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. This 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 optimized thanks to special treatment of the glazed surfaces, meaning that less call is made of the climate control and heating systems which are big consumers of energy.
Solar panels positioned on the roof are employed to power a temperature regulation system inside the car. Keeping the cabin cool uses a significant amount of energy, but this system also permits 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 steeringwheel, for example) in order to ensure that the driver feels comfortable, while using less electrical energy.
The 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 allround 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 longlasting but also low consumers of energy.
INTERACTIVE AND USER-FRIENDLY
The Kangoo Z.E. Concept enables the driver to communicate with the vehicle with a view to profiting fully from its technology. For example, logos light up to signal that the vehicle recognizes 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 are reassured by their absorbent aspect.
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. This lit display can be likened to the charge indicator of a cell phone. Innovative navigation system interfaces also contribute to intelligent management of the vehicle’s energy requirements.
The idea is to simplify journeys with a view to using as little energy as possible. The Man Machine Interfaces (MMI) inside the car have been designed to 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 the navigation function avoids having to run an energy-consuming in-car computer.
The dashboard itself is divided into distinct functional units which incorporate:
- a new-format minimalist display providing data specifically relating to the electric motor.
- a remotely-positioned control between the seats incorporating a touchpad to facilitate the keying in of data.
Kangoo Z.E. Concept provides a foretaste 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.