Renault Showcases the Future of Urban Travel with the EZ-GO Autonomous People Hauler
There once was a day when a concept like the Renault EZ-GO would be deemed as too outlandish and nothing more than a figment of someone’s wild imagination. Those days are obviously gone. It’s still a crazy-by-comparison concept, but it’s become par for the course in an industry that’s now embracing its autonomous future. So here’s the EZ-GO Concept. It’s a driverless, electric concept that’s built for on-demand autonomous ride-sharing. Yep, welcome to 2018.
Someone Spotted Renault’s Geneva-Bound Mobility Concept and Boy is it Fugly!
2017 Renault Symbioz Concept
While there’s certainly no shortage of automakers out there offering visions of our inevitable all-electric autonomous future, Renault is one of the few that’s actually taking the idea into new, unexpected directions. For example, what if your car could integrate with your home as a spare room, a smart electric energy grid, and a mobile multimedia center? It’s called the Symbioz, which is a play on the word symbiosis, and it was recently on display alongside a full-size model home at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Renault frames it as a vision of things to come in the year 2030, offering passengers a chance to “enjoy a cabin that feels like home and has been designed for autonomous motoring. On the road, the car becomes an extension of the home. When parked inside the home, it doubles as an extra mobile, modular and multi-purpose room,” adding, “The car is complementary to the home and also an extension of it,” finding common themes of “major architectural design choices, common materials and styling.”
Indeed, Renault is the first automaker to bring a full-size home to a car show, but it goes a long way to proving a point. The Symbioz project brought together “designers and engineers, academics and architects, startups and sociologues,” all in the name of finding out how to make the most of upcoming technologies. Interested in learning how your car could become an integral part of the Internet of Things? Read on for the details.
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Renault Symbioz Is Like A Mobile Room
It seems like you could throw a stone in any direction at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show and you’d end up hitting some kind of autonomous, all-electric concept car. Renault is contributing to that with something it’s calling the Symbioz, but unlike other concepts, this Renault is taking a more... “holistic” approach. The Symbioz name appears to be a deliberate misspelling of symbiosis, and as such, it moves beyond the idea of a car as a standalone object to also encompasses the home where it’s parked. Renault even went so far as to place the concept inside a mock-up home at the auto show to display how “fully connected” it is to its environment. Framed as something you might see by the year 2030, the Symbioz gets the usual electric motivation and autonomous capability, but in addition, the interior was crafted to feel like a home, and indeed, acts as a modular and mobile room when parked, connecting with its “parent” house in a number of ways.
“No longer can we think of car design in isolation from the ecosystem surrounding us, or the evolution of major changes like electric energy use, connected and autonomous drive technologies that influence our lives as we move from place to place,” says Laurens van der Acker, Senior Vice President of Corporate Design. To that end, Renault tapped a variety of “planners, designers and engineers, academics and architects, startups and sociologues” to create this unique concept.
Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Symbioz concept.
Renault Megane R.S. Is Proof that the French Need to Return to America ASAP!
After no fewer than eight years on the market, the third-generation Megane was finally replaced in 2016. The redesign brought a significantly more modern vehicle in showrooms, as well as proof that Renault can deliver pretty cars. Of course, the company’s most recent design language looks appealing on just about any nameplate that uses it, but the Megane is particularly attractive due to its balance, hatchback body style. For more than a decade now, a new Megane was always followed by a redesigned Megane R.S., so it’s far from surprising that Renault brought a new rendition of its performance hatchback at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
With the hot-hatch heavily based on the standard Megane and most R.S. features borrowed from the existing Clio R.S., the new Megane R.S. is far from surprising if you ask me. I mean, it’s just like I imagined it and all the recently launched R.S. features are there. This isn’t a bad thing though. On the contrary, the new Megane R.S. is stunning to look at, and I think it trumps everything else in this segment styling-wise, including the Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus RS. Okay, so maybe the Focus RS is hard to beat, but the Megane R.S. is still cool enough to get us frustrated over the fact that Renaults aren’t available in the United States.
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2017 Renault Alpine A110
It took Renault about three years to transform the 2012 Alpine A110-50 Concept into a production-friendly vehicle, and the road-ready sports car is finally ready to hit the market. Come 2017 and the French company relaunched the Alpine brand at the Geneva Motor Show. As expected, the production model shares many design features with the concept cars Alpine showcased in recent years. The most recent of them is dubbed Alpine Celebration Concept and broke cover ahead of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was featured again a couple of weeks later in the year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and looked ready to hit the streets with minor modifications here and there.
As the name suggests, the Celebration Concept celebrated six decades since Alpine was established in Dieppe, France. Also, it pays homage to the classic 1961 -1973 Alpine A110, a sports car the French built from 1961 to 1977. Introduced as an evolution of the A108, the two-door "Berlinette" was designed by Giovanni Michelotti and used a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Among being Alpine’s most iconic model, the A110 was also a successful race car, winning the manufacturer’s title at the end of 1973 World Rally Championship. All told, the new Alpine has a lot of heritage to build on and this is more than evident in the final production model.
Continue reading to learn more about the new Renault Alpine.
Renault Captur Gets Mild Tweaks and More Refined Interior
This year’s Geneva Motor Show may be packed with loads of flashy supercars and special-edition models, but the event is also about daily drivers focused on practicality and affordability. One of them is the Renault Captur, Europe’s best-selling B-segment crossover in 2016, which has received some light mid-cycle tweaks.
Identical to the outgoing model for the most part, the Captur retains its two-tone body color option and gets two new hues. In all, customers now have access to 36 color combinations. New features include full LED headlamps (optional), a fixed glass roof for models with the two-tone paint, and new 16- and 17-inch wheels. The Captur also gained a few features from the bigger Kadjar model, including a chrome strip on the front grille and new skid plates for both bumpers.
Inside, the crossover features more upmarket materials for the steering wheel and a revised gear lever. Renault also crafted new seats with enhanced lateral support on some trims, while a new Signature S Nav trim adds heated Nappa leather seats, full-grain Nappa leather steering wheel, leather door panels, aluminum pedals, and chrome trim.
There’s no word of any drivetrain modifications, so it’s safe to assume that the Captur carries over with the previous engines. Options include the 0.9-liter three-cylinder with 90 horsepower and 100 pound-feet, the 1.2-liter four-cylinder with 116 horses and 140 pound-feet, and the 1.5-liter diesel with 90 horsepower and 162 pound-feet.
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This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán!
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
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The New Alpine A110 Is A Nice Tribute To The Past
The Alpine A110 from the late 1960s and early 70s was a fine vehicle, but the name was laid to rest a long time ago. That’s true up until 2012 when we first laid eyes on the Renault Alpine A110-50 concept. Since then, two other concepts have come and gone, with the Alpine Vision Concept of 2016 showcasing the closest representation of the production model that you see here. So what does the new A110 bring to the table? Well, to put it simply, it’s a heritage-filled sports car with stunning looks, a mid-engine configuration for a near-perfect weight distribution, a lightweight platform, and beautiful interior appointments that will keep this reborn sports car relevant and competitive for some time to come.
It all starts out with an aluminum platform and body that are bonded, riveted, and welded to help increase strength and rigidity. Because of the materials and assembly procedure, the car – without options – has a curb weight of just 2,380 pounds (1,080kg.) Like its predecessor from the 1960s, the new A110 is also ready to hit those windy, mountain roads thanks to the location of the engine, which brings an optimal weight distribution of 44 percent in the front and 56 percent in the rear. Pair that with the fuel tank being located up front and you have an exceptionally low center of gravity – perfect for stout maneuvers and spirited driving.
So, what can the Alpine do in the performance department? Well, I’m glad you asked. Renault Alpine managed to cram a 1.8-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder above the rear axle that delivers a cool 252 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Shifting duties are handled by a Getrag, seven-speed, wet-clutch, DCT that has specially tuned gear ratios. With that curb weight of 2,380 pounds, this drivetrain setup will push this sexy little sports car up to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph. And, it does so without the need for a spoiler thanks to strategic aerodynamics and a drag coefficient of just 0.32.
Suspension duties are handled by double wishbones front and rear which, according to Renault Alpine, offers a combination of “excellent handling performance” and “great ride comfort and daily usability.” To put that into perspective, the Porsche 911 with its 370-horsepower flat-six can hit the 60 mph sprint in 4.4 seconds.
Little has been said about the interior, but the model we’re looking at here is the Premiere edition. The few images we have showcase a leather-wrapped steering wheel with cross stitching, a leather wrapped floating center console, seats with a quilted stitching pattern, and a leather wrapped dash – all of which have blue contrast stitching that stands out against the black leather. The infotainment display floats in front of the center stack, just above a row of push buttons that control various features like the hazard lights, locks, etc. The seats themselves are of the racing variety and look to be compatible with five-point racing harnesses. They also feature an Alpine plaque fixed to the headrest and an embroidered “A” in the middle of the seatback.
All told, it’s a fine vehicle and, when you compare it to the model that precedes it, it’s clear that this thing is built with heritage in mind. Even the exterior design nods to the original A110 from the 60s with the recessed headlights, round driving lights in the nose, and the roofline that is unmistakably Alpine. It even has the wider lower body like its predecessor. So, with that said, let’s travel down the page and talk a little about the Premiere edition that is being offered and produced before other production models hit the assembly line.
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2017 Renault Zoe
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.
2016 Renault Trezor
So, the biggest days of the Paris Motor Show are over with. Brands like Ford, Volvo, Rolls-Royce, and Bentley all decided to skip out, but over in Renault’s little corner of the show sat the Renault Trezor – the all-electric grand tourer that we’ve all be waiting for. To put things simply, this two-seater has 350 horsepower on tap from a pair of batteries that are strategically placed with weight distribution in mind. There’s some interesting technology inside to go with F1-inspired interior styling and a rather interesting way to enter and exit the vehicle.
Laurens van den Acker, the Senior Vice President of Renault’s Corporate Design Division, said, “The Renault range has now been completely renewed and upgraded with a spectrum of complementary models, each one of which has its own assertive identity. With the Trezor, we have pursued this renewal by introducing a new lifecycle sequence. This concept car is the fruit of a freedom of expression and prepares the way for the trends we are likely to see in our upcoming vehicles. These trends fall into two categories: French Design and Easy Life.”
So, does the Trezor concept do exactly as Acker claims? Is it a representation of trends that we’ll be seeing in future vehicles? Well, that’s hard to say for sure, but it is essentially an evolution of the styling cues that we saw on the DeZir a few years ago. So, with that said, let’s take a better look at the Trezor and talk a little more about it.
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Renault Zoe Debuts In Paris With Record 250-Mile NED Range
Normally, a car like the Renault Zoe doesn’t generate the same type of excitement in auto shows compared to those limited edition supercars that pop up every so often. But, when it’s said that the Renault Zoe promises something that no other car of its kind can do, that’s when it becomes a lot more interesting. Such is the case at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, where Renault unveiled the Z.E. 40 battery-powered Zoe EV that packs a record NED cycle-certified 250-mile range, or the equivalent of 186 miles in real-world traffic conditions.
The range figure may not be as high as the 315-mile range of the Tesla Model S P100D or the 238-mile range of the Bolt, but it completely laps the field against its more direct competitors, including the Fiat 500e (87 miles), Kia Soul EV (93 miles), and Volkswagen e-Golf (83 miles). That’s an impressive feat brought about by the automaker’s groundbreaking Z.E. 40 battery’s high-energy density lithium-ion technology that Renault developed in collaboration with LG Chem.
Together, the two companies were able to devise a method that resulted in the increase of energy density in the battery cells, all while retaining the battery’s physical characteristics, and improving its overall safety and reliability. The result is a battery that has 41kWh of usable energy, close to double the capacity of the battery being used by the current model. It also allows for quick recharging. In fact, with a 30-minute charge, the battery can recoup an extra 50 miles of range, which if you do the math, already accounts for 60 percent of the Soul EV and e-Golf’s overall battery range.
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