Renault electric cars on test drive

Achim Hartmann
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N ot just clear above the Renault development center in Guyancourt near Paris the clouds of mist on this cool November morning. The ambitious electrical program of the French is slowly gaining shape: the production sites for four battery vehicles have now been established, as is the factory for 100,000 lithium-ion batteries per year. 'Now there is no turning back,' says project manager Christine Tissot with a smile.

Renault Twizy has no heating

The electricity fleet will go on sale as early as 2011, no other manufacturer relies so much on purely electric driving. But as if the start of a new drive age wasn't already demanding enough, astonishes Renault also with wacky vehicle concepts like the Renault Twizy (the Twizy at the IAA). With him, two passengers do not sit next to each other like in the downtown König Smart, but behind each other. Since the wind has narrow camera housings instead of bulky rear-view mirrors, aerodynamics benefit, and LED lamps at the front and rear save electricity. Freely configurable displays in projection technology so that there is only a small frontal area, a comparatively small juice dispenser is sufficient. The top speed, which is limited to 75 km /h, and - given the time of year particularly bitter - the renouncement of heating bring extra kilometers.

With 15 kW, the Twizy is quickly on the move in city traffic

Especially since the designers only understand doors as two safety bars, but otherwise the flanks remain open. Fortunately, the sun is slowly gaining the upper hand, so the first trip is fun even without thermal underwear. Thanks to the free-standing, wide-turning wheels, the flea, which is only 1.1 meters wide, can almost turn on a gully cover. In addition, 15 kW are sufficient to whir at city speed, since the complete torque (70 Nm) - as is usual with electric motors - is already available at the start. A stylized lotus flower on the dashboard also provides information on the battery charge level, the leaves of which gradually close and remind you to go to a power socket after 100 kilometers at the latest. A desolate one can be more lovingHardly design the display instrument.

Renault Zoe prototype is too expensive for series production

Fears that the airy Stromer will only remain a trade fair gag, Tissot with the smile of someone who knows: 'The series version is very close on the concept vehicle. ' With the teardrop-shaped Zoe (the Renault Zoe at the IAA), Tissot is already more reserved, its interior, inspired by a Japanese garden, would be far too expensive for series production. It's a shame, because seats in the form of round-cut pebbles and backrests that are attached to the roof, together with the partially transparent glass dome, create a feeling of space that is just as calming for the occupants as the almost silent drive of the 70 kW motor. A fragrance dispenser from cosmetics manufacturer L’Oréal also sprays essential oils with anti-stress substances after long working days. In addition to the global climate, the indoor climate must also not be neglected.

Replacement battery system is only planned for Israel and Denmark

Solar elements in the roof that operate the ventilation even when the vehicle is stationary are suitable for the new age of mobility. This means that there is no need for power-consuming cooling while driving. If the battery is empty after 160 kilometers, it can either be recharged or exchanged for a full one within three minutes using an exchange mechanism. At the moment, however, there are only concrete plans for setting up an expensive switch infrastructure for Israel and Denmark. The Fluence notchback sedan also gets a replacement battery and the Zoe's 70 kW engine. Since the battery disappears under the back seat, there is a 327 liter trunk that is suitable for everyday use. The easiest way to predict what the final version might look like is the case of the Fluence. Finally, the production model of the Renault Mégane - Offshoot already at the IAA , but in the petrol version, which was released in 2010. It therefore seems particularly unlikely that extravagant details of the electric prototype, such as the video camera rearview mirror, will make it into series production.

Ten percent of Renault cars should be electric by 2020

But such details are likely to ensure the success of Renault's electric fleet, which is also joined by a Kangoo-based van be incidental. It will be much more important to reduce battery prices, which are currently equivalent to the value of a compact car. State subsidies for electrical buyers should spice up the cost balance, as well as reselling the batteries, which are ailing after six years and 120,000 kilometers, but which should still be fit enough for other applications. 'With the prices of stationary batteries, our used cells can easilykeep up ', Tissot is just as convinced as of the prognosis that ten percent of all Renaults will drive electric by 2020. If the target is ever missed, it is definitely not because of boring vehicles


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