|The Fluence Z.E. Click to enlarge.
Renault has unveiled the finalized designs of Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Express Z.E., and has opened pre-reservations on the website www.renault-ze.com. Registration allows prospective buyers to choose their electric vehicle and benefit from priority availability as soon as it comes onto the market.
Renault estimates that electric vehicles will account for 10% of the world market by 2020. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is investing €4 billion (US$5.4 billion) in its electric mobility and a 2,000-strong team (1,000 at Renault and 1,000 at Nissan) is already working on electric vehicles.
Fluence Z.E. Renault says that it is targeting the Fluence Z.E., which is due to go on sale in Israel, Denmark and the rest of Europe from 2011, at motorists and fleet operators who are looking for a “status-enhancing vehicle” that is both economical to run and respectful of the environment.
Renault strove to make the Fluence Z.E.—the compact segment’s first three-box electric vehicle—recognizable at first glance. To distinguish it from the internal combustion engined-version, it comes with a package of specific features and details that associate it with Renault’s electric vehicle range.
The electric version of Fluence stands at a length of 4.75 meters, which is 13 centimeters longer than its internal combustion-engined cousin in order to accommodate the battery behind the rear seats.
Fluence Z.E. is powered by a synchronous electric motor with rotor coil. Peak power is 70 kW000 rpm,000rpm, while maximum torque is 226 N·m (167 lb-ft). The weight of the motor—excluding peripherals—is 160 kg.
The capacity of Renault Fluence Z.E.’s lithium-ion battery is 22 kWh. The battery weighs 250 g and is located behind the rear seats in order to free up a trunk volume of 300 dm3 (VDA/ISO). An energy recovery system enables the battery to be charged when the car decelerates.
Charging is possible in one of three ways: via a household mains supply (10A or 16A, 220V) which will fully charge the battery in between six and 9 eight hours; at fast charge stations using a 32A 400V supply which enables the battery to be charged in approximately 30 minutes (available in 2012 or 2013, depending on model); and the QuickDrop battery switch system which will enable Renault Fluence Z.E.’s battery to be swapped in approximately three minutes at bespoke battery exchange stations.
In order to adapt the ride to Renault Fluence Z.E.’s specific characteristics (dimensions, weight distribution), the suspension has revised settings compared with the layout seen oncombustion-enginedionengined versions of Fluence. The front suspension setting is softer, since electric motors are lighter than all the internal combustion engines available for Fluence. Meanwhile, the rear suspension has been revised to cope with the heavier weight due to the presence of the battery.
Renault Fluence Z.E. runs on low rolling resistance tires. The Goodyear-developed EfficientGrip enables lower energy consumption thanks to extensive work on tire casings and sidewalls. The tread is identical to that of a conventional tire in order to ensure high-performance road holding and braking.
The ABS and ESC electronic driving aids have been recalibrated. On the passive safety front, Renault Fluence Z.E.’s body structure has been strengthened in order to deliver the same high standard of safety performance as the shorter and consequently lighter internal combustion-engined version.
Range is 160 km (99 miles) NEDC combined cycle. Top speed is 135 km/h (84 mph).
Renault Fluence Z.E. will be manufactured at the OYAK-Renault factory in Bursa, Turkey, on the same production line as the internal combustion-engined versions of Fluence. Production will begin in the first half of 2011. This solution will enable Renault to minimize capital outlay and get production under way rapidly.
|The Kangoo Express Z.E. Click to enlarge.
Kangoo Express Z.E. This light commercial vehicle aimed at business users will be released in the first half of 2011 and with an operational range of 160 km (99 miles). The 22 kWh battery pack is located in a central position beneath the floor, enabling the electric version of Kangoo to offer the same carrying capacity (from 3 to 3.5 m3) as the internal combustion-engined version.
Renault Kangoo Express Z.E. is powered by a 44 kW electric motor, with a peak torque of 226 N·m. Renault Kangoo Express Z.E. is charged via a socket located behind a flap alongside the right-hand headlamp. A conventional charge via a household mains supply (16A 220V) will charge the vehicle in between six and eight hours. This method is perfectly suited to vehicles that are parked up overnight or during the day at the workplace, Renault says.
Renault has chosen to manufacture the electric version of Kangoo Express at its M.C.A. facilities (Maubeuge Carrosserie Automobile) in northern France. Production is due to begin in the first half of 2011. The new vehicle will be manufactured on the same line as internal combustion-engined versions, and will consequently benefit from the same know-how, supplier network and logistical framework as the current Kangoo.
The Maubeuge plant has specialized in van production for 20 years and is capable of adapting both to the broad range of specifications associated with this type of vehicle (short and long versions, with or without windows, etc.) and to demand. The choice of Maubeuge will enable production to get under way rapidly.
Batteries. Battery production will become one of the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s core activities. Renault and Nissan will produce lithium-ion batteries on three continents—America, Asia and Europe—in order to supply the assembly plants for the forthcoming EVs from a local source.
Batteries will initially be purchased from the Nissan-NEC joint venture AESC and imported from Japan. Factories will then gradually be established as close as possible to the vehicle production facilities. Battery production facilities are currently under development in:
- Flins (France),
- Sunderland (UK),
- Cacia (Portugal),
- Smyrna (Tennessee, USA),
- Zama (Japan)
This multi-localization will lead to secure supplies and lower logistical costs, while also permitting higher production volumes, according to the Alliance. Annual produciton capacity will eventually reach 475,000 units.