And it’s all-electric

Often slammed for producing cheap cars that do not compare with premium offerings from Germany, Renault is one of the very few automakers that actually has a solid racing program. Involved in Formula One, endurance racing, as well as several single-seat or production-based series, the French carmaker builds a few outstanding performance vehicles. When it comes to road-legal cars, the Clio and Megane are the best RenaultSport products you can buy, and a third model based on the ZOE could be underway.

Launched at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the ZOE e-sport concept is a standard hatchback on steroids in terms of both looks and performance. It’s like Renault used everything it learned from the Clio RS to build a pocket rocket, but this concept is different from any other performance model from the brand. What sets it apart? The drivetrain is electric.

Specifically, the ZOE e-sport concept draws on Renault’s three years of success in the FIA Formula E Championship and uses a similar drivetrain. Featuring a lightweight body structure made of carbon-fiber and two electric motors that deliver close to 460 horsepower and 640 Nm (472 pound-feet) of torque, the car accelerates from standstill to 62 mph in only 3.2 seconds. As in Formula E, an air-and-water cooling system with a front-mounted radiator is used to make sure that the battery and control systems operate at the ideal temperature, while the tubular steel chassis is based on those used by RenaultSport cars competing in hill climbs and ice races. The Öhlins four-way adjustable dampers are also borrowed from motorsport and can be adjusted to suit different tracks or driving styles, similar to those offered in the Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy-R.

The unique drivetrain is backed by a custom exterior wrapped in a livery that matches that of the Formula E Renault e.dams team. The Satin Blue body has flashes of bright yellow on the front bumper, mirror caps, and rear diffuser. The carbon-fiber finish bumpers, lip spoiler, and air intake surrounds, and the 20-inch diamond-cut aluminum wheels in black and Shadow Chrome complete the look. The interior was also transformed to reflect the sportier nature of the concept, receiving Recaro bucket seats and a rectangular steering wheel, both wrapped in Alcantara, blue accents, and aluminum trim.

Unfortunately, Renault didn’t say how these modifications affect the car’s 250-mile range

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it Matters

This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Exterior
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This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Interior
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Naturally, the first question that comes to mind is whether Renault is planning to put the ZOE e-sport in production or not. Sadly, the French firm had nothing to say about it, so it’s safe to assume that it won’t happen anytime soon. And if it does, it probably won’t have as much horsepower, and it will cost a little fortune. Still, a performance-oriented ZOE with an electric drivetrain is a fantastic idea, and I hope Renault finds the resources for a mass-produced version.

Press Release

The Renault ZOE e-sport concept car revealed at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show showcases Renault’s commitment to the ongoing development of electric vehicles.

Based on the all-electric ZOE’s supermini platform, ZOE e-sport concept draws on Groupe Renault’s three years of success in the FIA Formula E Championship. This all-electric single-seater series, fought on challenging street circuits around the world, has proved a popular and accessible way for the public to enjoy high-performance electric racing.

This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Exterior
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The two-seater ZOE e-sport concept echoes the styling of the latest Renault single-seater race cars, and its colour scheme reflects the livery of the e.dams team. The lightweight body structure is made of carbon fibre, and the car tips the scales at just 1,400kg, including the battery (450kg). This minimal weight in addition to excellent aerodynamics, power close to 460bhp and torque of 640Nm, helps the car to accelerate from standstill to 62mph in 3.2 seconds.

“The brief for the Renault ZOE e-sport concept couldn’t have been simpler: ‘Have fun!’. So we came up with something midway between a production model and a racing car… It’s perfect for lovers of extreme driving sensations!” Stéphane Janin, Director, Concept Car Design

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“At Renault, we believe that electric cars are capable of addressing the needs of all types of customers, with the emphasis on driving enjoyment… The Renault ZOE e-sport concept is a stunning expression of this!” Éric Feunteun, Director, Electric Vehicle Programme

Renault launched a full range of EVs in 2012 and continues to stand out as the market leader today. The brand continues to explore every facet of electric motoring thanks to a programme spearheaded by the ZOE.

The Renault ZOE is an all-electric car that delivers a smooth, agile ride. Uniquely enjoyable to drive, it is built to the highest environmental standards.

This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Exterior
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The New Renault ZOE premiered at the 2016 Paris Motor Show and marks an important step in the development of mass-market electric vehicles. Its driving range is 250 miles (NEDC), equivalent to real-world range of around 186 miles in summer and 124 miles in winter. The New Z.E.40 battery takes the worry out of charging the car while opening up a wider spectrum of journey options. The New ZOE also comes with a new, improved suite of connected services to make electric motoring easier, including Z.E. Trip and Z.E. Pass.

Sporty styling with Renault’s hallmark French design

The ZOE e-sport concept’s connection to Formula E is immediately apparent thanks to a colour scheme inspired by the reigning champion Renault e.dams team’s 2016/2017 livery. The dominant colour is Satin Blue with flashes of yellow on the door mirror and the front and rear bumper beading. The bumpers, lip spoiler and headlight/air intake surrounds have a carbon fibre finish.

The 20-inch diamond-cut aluminium alloy Sport wheels feature contrasting angles highlighted by a two-tone finish in black and Shadow Chrome. These rims come with a central locking nut.

The overall design retains traditional Renault styling cues, plus elegant flourishes from higher-end high-performance models. The ZOE e-sport concept has extra-tinted windows. Its doors are opened by a simple tap on the ‘open’ zone incorporating tactile sensors.

The headlights carry over the C-shape that has become a hallmark of the latest Renault models. The prominent vertically mounted backlit Renault front and rear diamond logos echo the styling of the Renault TreZor concept car unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

Inside the cabin, the colours and materials express the car’s sport pedigree. Black is the dominant colour, with a few splashes of blue and – notably for the controls – aluminium. The seats, steering wheel and door panels are trimmed with overstitched Alcantara.

This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Exterior
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Built for speed – and great handling

The ZOE e-sport concept’s stiff, lightweight structure allows for high performance, with superb grip and handling. Like the Renault e.dams Formula E single-seater, the bodywork is made from carbon fibre. The chassis features a tubular steel roll cage with protective Kevlar panels. It complies with FIA safety standards, allowing the ZOE e-sport concept to be used on race tracks.

Outstanding aerodynamics are achieved with the aid of a front air dam, flat undercarriage, a Formula E-inspired diffuser and a large carbon fibre tailgate spoiler with a linear braking light.

Inside, the ZOE e-sport concept has two Recaro bucket seats equipped with competition harnesses and a driving position that is ideal for track driving. A rectangular steering wheel gives drivers the broader field of vision enjoyed by Renault’s Formula E drivers.

As in Formula E, the driver can adjust the powertrain settings and control energy consumption. The dash panel features three zones that permit management of the gearbox, driving mode (four options available) and brake distribution.

This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Interior
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Energy efficiency from Renault Sport’s unique expertise

The ZOE e-sport concept’s powertrain is inspired by technologies developed by engineers at Renault Sport Racing and Renault e.dams.

Two motors deliver a total of 340kW – almost 460bhp. By comparison, rules laid down by motorsport’s governing body the FIA, limit Formula E single-seaters to 270bhp. The two motors are identical, with one at the front of the car, the other at the rear. And, as in Formula e, they feature high-capacity permanent magnet technology to maximise energy efficiency. To exploit all this power, the ZOE e-sport concept’s battery has a capacity of 40kWh.

As in Formula E, an air-and-water cooling system with a front-mounted radiator is used to make sure that the battery and control systems operate at the ideal temperature.

The ZOE e-sport concept also benefits from Renault’s Formula E experience in terms of optimised power delivery to the wheels. Renault-developed power electronics govern battery energy accurately and dynamically to meet the driver’s needs at any time. Energy management is completely configurable and adjustable after each drive or during race weekends.

The electronic settings offer four driving modes that adapt, depending on whether the driver wants performance or a longer range. They can also be tailored to suit different types of circuit and driving styles, adjusting the power delivery between the two motors to place greater emphasis on front- or rear-wheel drive.

This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Exterior
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Renault Sport Racing: #1 in the FIA Formula E Championship

In addition to its status as an expert in both electric road cars and electric motor racing, Groupe Renault is one of the driving forces behind the growth of the FIA Formula E Championship. It has been involved in the series as a technical and sporting partner since the competition’s inaugural season in 2014/2015.

Renault e.dams is the team with the highest number of titles in the FIA Formula E Championship, setting the standard in the discipline with two Team crowns, one Driver’s title, plus 10 race wins.

The Renault team is led by four-time Formula 1 world champion Alain Prost and DAMS founder Jean-Paul Driot.

Its drivers for Season 3 are the defending champion Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost, and the team is targeting further glory in 2017.

Renault e.dams benefits from the technical support of Renault Sport Racing, Renault’s motorsport department which has enjoyed successful campaigns in every form of motorsport.

The Renault Z.E.16 single-seater features a SPARK-Renault SRT_01E chassis and is powered by a Z.E.16 powerplant developed by Renault Sport Racing at its facility in Viry-Châtillon, near Paris. This powertrain is one of the grid’s most powerful and technically advanced units.

This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Exterior
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Race-inspired suspension ensures superb handling

The design and set-up of the ZOE e-sport concept’s chassis benefit greatly from the expert input of Renault Sport’ Racing’s specialists and their work on Groupe Renault’s most extreme performance cars.

Built by TORK Engineering, the tubular steel chassis is based on those used by Renault Sport cars competing in hill climbs and ice races.

The ZOE e-sport concept has a lowered ride height, wider track and four-wheel drive to guarantee maximum cornering stability. The double-wishbone suspension front and rear was developed for racing and maintains efficient axle geometry in all situations.

The Öhlins four-way adjustable dampers are another by-product of motorsport and can be adjusted to suit different circuit types or driving styles, like those selected for the Renault Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R.

The ZOE e-sport concept’s large, 20-inch wheels are able to transfer all the car’s significant power to the road. Fitted with 245/35 R20 tyres, they are an unusual sight on a racing circuit. Suitably large brake discs ensure competition-style stopping power.

This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Exterior
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Electric motors deliver instant acceleration

The ZOE e-sport concept accelerates to 62mph (100kph) from rest in 3.2 seconds. Its maximum speed is capped at 130mph (210kph) and takes fewer than 10 seconds to achieve it. The high torque output of 640Nm (320Nm per motor) is available almost instantly. Electric motors deliver all their performance the moment they are activated, and it takes only a few tenths of a second for the ZOE e-sport concept’s motors to reach 4,300rpm. The acceleration is linear, uninterrupted by gear changes.

The electric powertrain does not have the jolts or loud noise emitted by an internal combustion engine. Like those generated by a Formula E car, noise levels are limited to the sounds of the transmission and tyre scrub.

This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán! High Resolution Exterior
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ZOE supermini offers unrivalled range

The ZOE supermini is now available with a high-energy-density Z.E. 40 battery, and this large storage capacity converts directly into an extended range of 250 miles (NEDC). This translates to a real-world range of 186 miles in summer and 124 miles in cold winter conditions.

When fitted with the Z.E. 40 battery, the ZOE boasts the longest driving range of any mass-market fully electric car, yet it is still the market’s most affordable electric car. Orders have risen by nearly 40 per cent in Europe since the new version was released in October 2016.

Since 2015, the ZOE has been fitted with an all-Renault motor that combines outstanding efficiency with optimal electronic battery management, which restricts the level of electricity consumption on the move without reducing power.

Driving a Renault electric vehicle is punchy, smooth and reassuring. The all-electric ZOE delivers all these sensations thanks the brand’s EV technology and to management of the delivery of power to the wheels, geared toward driving enjoyment. The ZOE takes a fresh approach to electric mobility by ensuring a dynamic, noise- and vibrations-free experience, with no gearshifts required, and it emits no carbon dioxide or other regulated pollutants during road use.

The ZOE delivers its full potential instantly in the form of crisp, jar-free pull-away and mid-range acceleration performance. High torque is available from very low revs. The R90 motor delivers peak torque of 225Nm in a fraction of a second, allowing the ZOE to accelerate from rest to 31mph (50kph) – the most frequently used range when motoring in built-up areas – in just four seconds.

Being able to pull away swiftly from traffic lights, along with slick manoeuvring in slow-moving traffic and safe overtaking are all facilitated by the ZOE’s immediate response.

The ZOE makes range anxiety a concern of the past. In addition to routine daily journeys, this extended range means the ZOE can also be used for longer trips

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