Archive for the ‘Renault Zoe’ Category
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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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 said 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, while also 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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The race between auto manufacturers to bring real, self-driving cars to the market is as bad as the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. that started back in the mid-1950s. With Tesla holding the trophy for the most advanced system so far, other manufacturers are closing in fast and relentlessly. But, as it turns out, a little company that you may not even have heard of has already brought a self-driving car to the masses. It’s a self-driving taxi from a company known as NuTonomy, and it calls Singapore its home turf.
To be a little more specific, when consumers open up the smartphone app and request a taxi, a Renault Zoe or Mitsubishi i-MiEV that has been modified for autonomous driving will show up and pick them up. For now, however, the cars don’t come all by themselves. An engineer from NuTonomy will be riding in the driver’s seat to keep an eye on things and to take over driving duties should human intervention be needed. The company hasn’t announced just how many of these self-driving taxis are buzzing around Singapore at the moment, but this trial run should lead to it launching a fully autonomous fleet as early as 2018.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, their very own Jake Watts has already taken a ride in one. His impression wasn’t all bad, but he did claim that the Mitsubishi he was in lacked the polish of something like Tesla’s Autopilot. It was reported that the car did very well avoiding obstacles like pedestrians and parked cars, but it hesitated often and was very overcautious. Of course, that’s how it’s going to be for a while until the technology is perfected, but we’re well on our way to driverless cars.
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