A fleet of 500 all-electric Renault ZOE superminis will be arriving in Madrid this month with the car-sharing service ZITY, the result of a cooperation between Renault and the urban services operator Ferrovial. (Earlier post.) This new car-sharing scheme covers a wide area of the Spanish capital. Madrid has the highest rate of daily car-sharing in Europe due to the city’s size, population, traffic problems and air pollution issues.
At times of intense air pollution, electric vehicle parking in Madrid is free; EVs are still permitted access to the city center at times when entry restrictions on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are at their most drastic. In June 2018, Madrid’s “Hyper-center” will be permanently out of bounds to ICE vehicles. These conditions led to Renault and Ferrovial to sign an agreement in August to launch ZITY.
The ZOEs in the scheme benefit from RIDECELL technology with a GSM smartphone connection completed by a Bluetooth link. That means the ZOE can be contacted even in places where connectivity is poor, such as underground car parks, and the time taken for the vehicles to respond to smartphone instructions sent by customers is reduced. RIDECELL also lets customers lock and unlock the cars using their smartphones.
With the new 68 kW, 225 N·m R90 motor and Z.E.40 battery (41 kWh), ZOE’s range is 250 miles/400 km (NEDC). Renault estimates that in real-world driving conditions that this equates to around 186 miles (300 km) in summer and 124 miles (200 km) in cold winter conditions.
ZOE Z.E.40 can charge from zero to 80% full in as little as 65 minutes with its Chameleon Charger that allows it to make the most of the widest range of power supplies and also keep charging times to a minimum. The Chameleon charger, patented by Renault, can adapt to the available power supply—whether single or three-phase—from 3kW up to 43kW.
The basic concept of the Chameleon is to divert the motor and inverter from their role in providing traction so that they can also contribute to charging the battery. The charging process is managed by the junction box, a new Renault-developed sub-system which changes the AC current to DC and communicates with the charging station. The unit is only slighter larger and heavier than the 3kW charger found on most other electric vehicles, but with its inverters and motor windings, it allows charging power to reach 43kW.
ZOE is equipped with a charging cable that can accept power levels between 3kW and 22kW. It is connected to the car using a socket on the front of the car, which can be unlocked using the hands-free card or a switch to the right of the steering wheel. Fast-charging stations (43kW) have their own built-in cable that is connected to the car.
Renault’s Range OptimiZer technology ensures ZOE is highly efficient with its heat pump, a bi-modal braking system and Michelin ENERGY E-V tires.
ZOE was the first model to be equipped as standard with Renault R-Link, an integrated, connected multimedia system that gives easy access to wide range of information, communications and entertainment functions through its 7-inch touch screen. These include navigation, radio, telephone, Bluetooth audio streaming, music, portable device connection and connected services.
On ZOE, R-Link provides a number of features dedicated to electric vehicle driving, such as the range bubble on the TomTom Z.E. LIVE navigation system, with a radius determined by the vehicle’s remaining range. When the driver enters a destination, the system will indicate whether the vehicle has sufficient charge to make the journey. If not, it will give directions to a convenient charging point on the way. It can also suggest the most economical routes in terms of energy use and display charging stations close to the vehicle’s location, or at its destination.
R-Link is connected to the vehicle’s ECU, enabling further new functions. Drivers can monitor their car’s energy consumption in real time, or the energy flow between the battery and the electric motor, air conditioning and heating. Once they have arrived at their destination, drivers can assess their eco-driving performance using the Driving eco2 function, which analyzes the driving style and gives tips on how range and efficiency might be improved.
ZOE is the best-selling electric vehicle in Europe; more than 4,500 ZOEs have been sold since launching in the UK. ZOE is one of four models in Renault’s diverse all-electric vehicle range, which also includes the Twizy quadricycle, the Kangoo Van Z.E.33 and the forthcoming Master Z.E. large panel van.