A new battery adds significantly more miles to the car’s range

The Renault Zoe came to be in 2012, as part of the company’s Z.E. electric car initiative that also includes the Twizy city car and the Kangoo Z.E. compact panel van. Originally launched with a 22 kWh battery that returned a 93-mile range, the Zoe received a second battery good for 150 miles in 2015. At the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Renault announced the introduction of a brand-new battery for the Zoe. Boasting 41 kWh of useful energy, the new stack returns an NEDC driving range of 250 miles and a real-world range of up to 186 miles.

Set to go on sale in 2017, the updated Zoe will hit the streets in the same form as the original hatchback. Aside from the new battery and upgraded infotainment apps, the Zoe will carry over unchanged inside and out. However, the new battery makes it the most capable, affordable electric car on the market, at least until the Opel Ampera-e lands in showrooms.

The updated electric arrived just as Renault sold its 100,000th Zoe, an impressive achievement in this market. Although not as popular as the Leaf, which sold more than 230,000 units globally as of 2016 (note that the Leaf is also offered in the U.S.), the Zoe is the best-selling hybrid in France and a notable competitor for the Nissan in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Norway.

Will the more powerful battery make a difference and boost Zoe sales in Europe? Let’s have a closer look at the numbers before we draw a conclusion.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Zoe.

Exterior

2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Exterior
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Although it received a new battery, the Renault Zoe remains unchanged on the outside. The traditional hatchback body and the rounded fascias are identical to the model Renault launched in 2013. The slender headlamps that wrap around the front hood, the big rhombus emblem, and the boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights are still there. Around back, the familiar wrap-around bumper, the rhombus-shaped taillights with clear covers, and the roof spoiler have also been carried over. Onto the sides, we can notice the same alloy wheels with the intricate four-spoke design and the rear doors with handles concealed in the C-pillars. Renault didn’t say whether or not the Zoe will get new paints and wheel designs with the upgrade.

Interior

2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Interior
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2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Interior
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2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Interior
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The Zoe also comes with a new Z.E. smartphone app, through which the user can forward his route to the car's navigation system.

The interior also carried over unchanged, featuring the same clean design and the wide center stack housing the infotainment display and climate-control knobs. Standard features include an 80-watt, four-speaker sound system, R-Link infotainment with TomTom navigation, USB port, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The more expensive trims get a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 140-watt stereo, and different upholstery colors.

The Zoe also comes with a new Z.E. smartphone app, through which the user can forward his route to the car’s navigation system. Once in the car, the driver can access the pre- programmed itinerary automatically. After parking, the app takes over and indicates the final part of the journey on foot. Drivers can also use the app to help find where they parked their vehicles.

What’s more, owners can remotely check information, such as the car’s charge level, the estimated remaining range, and the time remaining until the vehicle is fully charged. The app also sends messages when charging begins and is completed. The cabin’s pre-conditioning system can also be controlled via the smartphone app.

Drivetrain

2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Exterior
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The revised drivetrain takes its juice from a brand-new battery with increased storage capacity. Called the Z.E. 40, the new battery boasts 41 kWh of useful energy, a significant increase compared to the car’s standard 22-kWh stack. A more efficient battery also means more miles traveled per charge. According to Renault, the Zoe now delivers a record NEDC driving range of 250 miles, which is twice the distance delivered by the hatchback at the time of its original launch in 2012.

The company estimates that the range will peak at 186 miles in urban or suburban areas.

But as spectacular as it may sound, this range won’t be achieved in real-world driving anytime soon. The company estimates that the range will peak at 186 miles in urban or suburban areas. Despite the drop, the Zoe still has a tremendous range, being the longest of any mainstream and affordable all-electric car available on the market. To put it into perspective, the range-topping Nissan Leaf can travel up to 155 miles on a single charge, meaning that the Zoe offers an extra 31 miles.

However, the Zoe will no longer offer the longest range for affordable EVs once the Opel Ampera-e hits the market. The European version of the Chevrolet Bolt will have a range of around 238 miles in real-world conditions, 50 miles more than the Zoe.

Renault Zoe Debuts In Paris With Record 250-Mile NED Range
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The new Z.E. 40 battery is also a significant update over its predecessor. Developed in partnership with LG Chem, it uses high-energy density lithium-ion technology and it was optimized by working on the chemistry of the cells in order to increase energy density, rather than stacking additional battery modules. As a result, Renault has succeeded in increasing storage capacity without making the battery any bigger or a lot heavier.

Despite being more powerful, the time required to charge the Z.E. 40 battery is similar to that of the standard battery. For instance, charging the battery for an extra 50 miles of driving range using one of the many public charging points in operation in Europe takes only 30 minutes on average.

In order to simply charging at public stations across Europe, Renault also introduced two new services. There’s Z.E. Trip, which helps customers locate charging points, and Z.E. Pass, which gives them access to a high number of charging stations.

Prices

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There’s no pricing information for the Zoe with the larger battery, but it’s safe to assume it will cost more. With the current base model retailing from ‎€22,100 (about $24,750) in France, the upgraded Zoe could fetch around ‎€23,500 (around $26,310) before options. It’s not yet known whether the old battery will be offered alongside the new one.

Competition

Nissan Leaf

2016 Nissan Leaf
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Launched in 2010, the Nissan Leaf is one of the oldest affordable EVs on the market and a popular nameplate in both Europe and North America. Although it has carried over mostly unchanged since its introduction styling-wise, the Leaf received several technology and drivetrain updates over the years. Initially rated at 109 miles on the NEDC cycle, the Leaf now comes with a range of up to 155 miles on a single charge thanks to its new, 30 kWh battery. Pricing for the Leaf starts from €19,700 (around $22,030), which makes it significantly more affordable than the Zoe.

Find out more about the Nissan Leaf here.

Opel Ampera-e

2017 Opel Ampera-e High Resolution Exterior
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Unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show as a rebadged version of the Chevrolet Bolt, the Opel Ampera-e is the brand’s first commercial EV and the car that will offer the best range for affordable electric cars when it hits the market. Opel says the hatchback returned more than 310 miles in testing and that it will be able to travel for at least 238 miles in a real-world environment. The Ampera-e is also a good performer, needing only 3.2 seconds to hit 31 mph on its way to a top speed of 93 mph. Pricing information is not yet available, but based on the fact that the Chevy Bolt costs $37,500 before incentives, the Ampera-e will cost significantly more than the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf.

Learn more about the Opel Ampera-e here.

Conclusion

2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Exterior
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Granted, the Zoe model that Renault unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show is far from being new. It’s actually identical to the vehicle that hit the market three years ago but, while it lacks new features inside and out, it comes with an important drivetrain update. And this is what makes it significantly different than its predecessor. The Z.E. 40 isn’t the company’s first battery update for the Zoe. In 2015, a new stack increased the range from 93 miles to 150 miles. However, the latter did not allow quick charging. The new battery solves this problem and also enhances range even further, enabling the Zoe to travel twice as much compared to the original car. Couple that with the fact that the hatchback still looks fresh design-wise, and you get quite the attractive package for just a few grand more than the Nissan Leaf.

  • Leave it
    • * The Opel Ampera-e will cover more km per charge and offer better technology

Press Release

Photo Credit: Renault

A Renault ZOE with the longest range of any mainstream electric vehicle – 250 miles (400km) – was unveiled today by Carlos Ghosn, Groupe Renault Chairman and CEO during the Mondial De L’Automobile Paris 2016. It will go on sale in the UK in November.

“This month Renault surpassed 100,000 electric vehicles sold and now ZOE will travel up to 250 miles (400km) without recharging. We are continuing to push in areas where innovation matters most for Renault customers. Making it easy for them to choose electric, with new connected services to enhance their driving experience, is a top priority for us and for ZOE customers.”

Carlos Ghosn – Groupe Renault Chairman and CEO
“Renault has added a new dimension to the world of electric vehicles now that the ZOE’s range stands at 250 miles (400km) NEDC. It’s a breakthrough in all-electric motoring that will provide the range needed to make any motorist comfortable choosing electric.”
Eric Feunteun – Vice President, Electric Vehicle Programme

2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Exterior
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DOUBLE THE RANGE FOR EVEN LONGER JOURNEYS
As the pioneer of all-electric mobility and Europe’s number one seller of electric vehicles, Renault has stepped up its innovation programme and the deployment of its Z.E. strategy (Zero Emissions (1)).

Fitted with the new Z.E. 40 battery, the Renault ZOE now delivers a record NEDC driving range of 250 miles (400km), which is twice the distance delivered by the model at the time of its original launch.

In real-world driving, Renault estimates the new Z.E. 40 battery has a range of 186 miles (300km) in urban or suburban areas.

The range offered today by the new ZOE is the longest of any mainstream all-electric vehicle and motorists can take advantage of this step forward now. The ZOE is the best-selling electric vehicle in Europe and provides a real alternative to internal combustion- engine cars, since average daily commuting distances are well within the ZOE’s capabilities.

The new battery removes the final psychological barrier that stands in the way of buying an electric car, so-call ‘range anxiety’, since ZOE users can now travel further and enjoy a wider variety of driving situations without worry about charging.

The time required to charge the Z.E. 40 battery is similar to that necessary for the standard battery, so ‘topping up’ doesn’t take long at all. For example, just 30 minutes is required on average to charge the battery for an extra 50 miles (80km) of driving range when plugged into one of the many public charging points in operation in Europe(3). The ZOE continues to be available with the Quick Charge function to take full advantage of the maximum capacity of fast charging points located predominantly along motorway corridors.

2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Exterior
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AN INNOVATION THAT DOUBLES BATTERY CAPACITY WITH NO INCREASE IN SIZE

The ZOE’s new Z.E. 40 battery boasts 41kWh of useful energy, equivalent to almost double the storage capacity of the ZOE’s standard battery (22kWh of useful energy).

Developed in close partnership with LG Chem, the battery uses high-energy density lithium-ion technology.

Renault and LG engineers have succeeded in increasing storage capacity without making the battery any bigger or a lot heavier. It was optimised by working on the chemistry of the cells in order to increase their energy density, rather than stacking additional battery modules, a commonly used technique.

This major new technology has been developed while ensuring the battery’s reliability and safety.

The battery’s large storage capacity ensures longer range for the ZOE thanks to the meticulous work that went into integrating the battery in the vehicle. The electronic management system of the battery optimises the ZOE’s energy use on the move, while the new air circulation system maintains the temperature of the ZOE’s battery at a constant level, making the car economical to run in very hot or very cold weather.

2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Exterior
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THE ZOE: DESIGNED AND MADE ENTIRELY BY RENAULT

Just as it conceives and manufactures the majority of its powertrains, Renault designed and makes the ZOE, thanks not only to the expertise it has acquired as a pioneer in the world of electric-vehicles mobility and as Europe’s number one electric-vehicle brand, but also to its technical and sporting partnership roles in the FIA Formula E Championship. Groupe Renault’s know-how is chiefly rooted in France where its high added-value vehicles and components are primarily designed and produced.

Like the 22kWh battery, the new Z.E. 40 battery is assembled at Renault’s Flins plant, near Paris. The same factory is responsible for the production of the Renault ZOE, alongside the Renault Clio. The ZOE was designed and engineered at the Renault Technocentre in Guyancourt, also near Paris.

The R90 motor is made at Renault’s Cléon factory in Normandy, a flagship facility in the field of engine and transmission production for the group. Launched in the spring of 2015, and originally known as the R240, this motor was entirely developed by Renault and led to the filing of 95 patents.

The housing that permits the battery’s integration in the ZOE, as well as the model’s front and rear suspension systems, were all conceived by Groupe Renault’s Chassis and Electric Vehicle Engineering Division and are manufactured at Renault’s Le Mans plant.

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Z.E. TRIP AND Z.E. PASS: TWO NEW SERVICES TO SIMPLIFY CHARGING AT PUBLIC CHARGING STATIONS ACROSS EUROPE

About 80,000 public charging stations are in operation across Europe. To provide ZOE owners with easy access to them, Renault has released two free services: Z.E. Trip helps customers to locate charging points, while Z.E. Pass gives access to a high number of charging stations.

Z.E. Trip: Using the R-LINK navigation system to locate all charging points

Z.E. Trip makes long-distance driving a breeze in the ZOE by allowing drivers to locate all public charging points in some of the main European countries(4). Z.E. Trip can be accessed directly via the Renault R-LINK navigation system using the steering wheel-mounted controls or via the internet to prepare trips in advance. The service indicates the real-time availability of each charging point, as well as its type and whether it is compatible with the car. The driver can select a charging point based on its charging capacity so the speeds suit their requirements.

Z.E. Trip began its rollout to ZOE customers in certain European markets in September and is anticipated to be rolled out in the UK in the coming months.

Z.E. Pass: a single access and payment solution for most public charging points

The Z.E. Pass app makes charging the ZOE easier at most public charging points in Europe even though they are owned by various operators. The driver can pay using the smartphone app or with an RFID badge. They can also locate available charging stations and compare prices at different stations nearby using their smartphone or tablet without having to be a registered member of each network.

Developed in association with Bosch, the service was released in Germany in September 2016 and will be rolled out over the next few months in France, UK, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Exterior
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Z.E. SMARTPHONE APP ENHANCES TO INCLUDE DOOR-TO-DOOR NAVIGATION

New features will be added to the Z.E. app that is freely available to all Renault Z.E. customers, in the first half of 2017 to make journeys in the ZOE even easier, including door-to-door navigation.

Thanks to this feature, the user can enter his or her complete trip using their smartphone app and then forward it to the ZOE’s navigation system (Renault R-LINK). Once in the car, the driver can access their pre- programmed itinerary automatically.

After parking, the app takes over from the ZOE’s navigation system to indicate the final part of the journey on foot. The driver can also use the app to help find where they parked their ZOE or to look up their trip history and any other information in their trip computer.

Remote battery charging management

The Z.E. smartphone app keeps ZOE drivers connected to their car, even when they are not driving, in order to optimise battery charging.

2017 Renault Zoe High Resolution Interior
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ZOE owners can remotely:

Check information, such as the car’s charge level, the estimated remaining range, the time remaining until the vehicle is fully charged, etc. It also receives messages when charging begins and is completed.
Operate some of their car’s functions, including the cabin’s pre-conditioning system (cabin temperature) and activating the battery charging process, as well as taking advantage of off-peak electricity rates and different CO2 footprints depending on type of electricity generation (i.e. renewable energy sources may be more widely used by energy companies during off-peak periods)

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