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Old 7th October 2009, 11:46   #1
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Default Electric Mania..Now Renault goes Green!!

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A world without petrol or diesel? Imagine driving on roads without petrol pumps and calling fellow car lovers electricheads instead of petrolheads. Sounds strange doesnt it? But all this could soon be reality with major auto manufacturers planning to go green in a big way. The Frankfurt Motor Show 2009 saw a wide range of electric vehicles being showcased by auto majors from around the globe. One such company is Renault who along with their alliance with Japanese giant Nissan is looking to become numero uno when it comes to electric vehicles. Production of these all the new vehicles begin in 2011. Interesting? Read on to know more.

About Electric Motors:

The electric motors which power the green cars comprise of the following units
  • Motor reducer unit
  • Power electronics unit
  • Junction Box
  • and last but not the least the lithium-ion battery

The Electric motor consists of a stator creating a rotating magnetic field which enables a rotor to rotate around the motor's shaft. A reducer coupled to the motor itself transmits torque to the wheels. This is called the motor reducer unit which helps in smooth and linear acceleration. Your electric car will never stall since there is no clutch. Reverse is selected by simply turning the rotor in the opposite direction. The power electronics unit comprises of a controller which converts the 400V direct current into a three phase alternating current which powers the stator. The convertor which is located near the controller helps convert the 400V DC to 12V DC that powers the vehicle's conventional electricals like your ICE, power windows etc.. The junction box distributes the generated current to the motor functions like the battery, climate control etc.

The electric motor will be powered by a rechargable lithium-ion battery. The size and specification of the battery will vary from vehicle to vehicle. Lithium-ion batteries are way superior to the earlier Nicd (Nickel Cadmium) batteries in terms of overall reliability, performance and safety. Unlike Nicd batteries, the lithium-ion batteries do not have memory effect problems which lead to incomplete charging cycles. The lithium-ion batteries will work to their original charging capacity for an average of six years atleast. Renault is looking to power their vehicles with a battery which gives a range of atleast 160 kms on full charge. The time frame for this is around 1.5 years after full scale production begins.

Now let's take a look at the range of electric vehicles that Renault is introducing to make the world a greener place.

Twizy Z.E Concept:

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The Twizy Z.E(Zero Emission) is a cute little two seater car which is the perfect runabout for the city. The one behind the other seating idea makes it even more unique. The compact dimensions (2.30m in length, 1.30 m wide), four wheel steering concept make it very nimble and easy to drive in traffic and at the same time helps you save the environment. Powered by a 15 KW(20hp) electric motor, the Twizy pumps out 70Nm of torque. Performance can be related to that of a 125cc bike. Top speed is estimated to be around 75 kph.

There has been no compromise on safety either. A deformable structure protects the occupants during a frontal impact. The front seat comes with a four point harness belt while there is a three point harness for the rear passenger. A driver's airbag and two other lateral airbags are standard.

The rechargable lithium-ion batteries are located under the two seats. Charging is via an extendable cable which is inside the Renault logo at the front. The cable can be plugged into any 220V, 10 A or 16 A domestic socket. A full charge takes 3.5 hours and you get a range of around 100 kms.

Zoe Z.E Concept:

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The Zoe is for those who want something more than the 2 seater city car like the Twizy. It is more like a hatchback ideal for those who want a small car that can seat four and be easy to drive in traffic as well.

Aerodynamics have been a key in the design of the Zoe. The innovative roof has been designed as an intelligent protective membrane. This helps protect the occupants of the vehicle from heat and cold apart from enhancing the performance of the climate control. The body shell has an additional second skin protects the car from the small dings and dents you may encounter in city traffic. The car has air intakes on either sides of the car which help cool the batteries that the car comes with. The driver gets perfect rear visibility via two small energy efficient cameras which helps avoid any blind spots whatsoever.

The interiors of the car are totally customizable. The dashboard comprises of a TFT screen which displays all the information right from navigation to charge indicator and remaining range. There is an option of coloured mood lighting which customizes the interior light according to the driver's choice. A sensor in the seat can also match the lighting to the driver's clothes. Nice.

The climate control of the Zoe does more than just adjusting the temperarture inside the car:
  • The hydrating function tends to dry out the air and sprays an active sunbstance via vapiourizers mounted on the dashboard which rehydrate the skin making you feel fresh.
  • The Detox function closely monitors the air inside the car and shuts the air vents if necessary apart from extracting harmful substances.
  • The most interesting function of the climate control is the Active scent function which exhales various types of oils to suit your mood eg something nice and mellow when you are having a relaxed drive.

The Zoe is powered by a 70KW(95hp) electric motor developing 225Nm of torque. Top speed is around 140kph. The rear has a retractable spoiler which automatically comes up once you touch the 90kph mark. The Zoe comes shod with 21 inch wheels too.

The car can be charged in the following ways:
  • A standard charge which takes anywhere between 4 to 8 hours via a charging socket outide the car.
  • A quick charging using the same socket as above and takes around 20 minutes.
  • Lastly the 'Quickdrop' facility which takes only three minutes at an exclusive battery exhange station.


Last edited by Dippy : 7th October 2009 at 13:50.
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Old 7th October 2009, 12:09   #2
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Fluence Z.E. Concept:

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Want a spacious sedan that can seat your family in total comfort and still do your bit for nature? Then the Fluence Z.E is for you. Renault is aiming to have an electric vehicle for all kinds of customers and the Fluence fits in as a top end offering. Here's more on this electric wonder.

The Fluence looks like a luxury car but with that special touch. The cooling ducts, the photovoltaic cells on the panaromic roof etc.. remind you that this is an electric vehicle. The headlights consist of a unique feature by which the beams of the headlights are focussed into a single beam thanks to a system of prisms. The Fluence comes with 21 inch aluminum wheels with blue polycarbonate wheelcaps.

In the interior, you are welcomed with four luxurious seats wrapped in the finest leather uphostery. The floor has a light blue translucent gel mat for passenger comfort. Even the brake and accelerator pedals are covered with gel to give the driver that soft comfort feeling. The dashboard has a TFT screen similar to that on Zoe which displays everything you need.

The centre console has two floating armrests apart from the central front armrest which houses the AC controls, the start/stop button and the audio volume controls and a Samsung Jet phone. Another phone is also located in the rear.

The Fluence is also powered by the 70KW(95hp) electric motor positioned near the front axle of the car. The lithium-ion batteries which power the car are located between the rear seats and the boot. The batteries are charged in ways similar to that of the Zoe and a full charge gives you a range of 160kms.

Kangoo Z.E. Concept:

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An electric vehicle which is also a goods mover. How more practical can you get? The Kangoo Z.E is Renault's answer for those who want to have a decent city car and be able to move around stuff at the same time. Imagine your courier delivery guys driving around in one of these few years from now.

The Kangoo Z.E comes with many new features which take driver-car interaction to a whole new level. The logos of the car illuminate to signal that occupants are approaching the car. There is a charge indicator on the outside of the car near the door which tells the driver the batery charge level even before he can get into the car. The Kangoo comes with MMI ( now havent I heard that term somwhere before) in this case Man Machine interface. The MMI performs a number of functions like locating the nearest car park or the nearest charging station in case you are low on battery charge. The dashboard is divided into two units, one which displays information related only to the electric motor while the other is a control between the seats comprising of a touch pad which helps to key in data.

The Kangoo is powered by a 70KW(95hp) electric motor with 225Nm torque and an electronically limited top speed of 130 kph. The car is shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Tyres. The battery can be charged via the standard or the quick charge method. The 'Quickdrop' facility is not available for the Kangoo.

So there you have it. A peek into the future. The new Renaults will first go on sale in Israel and Europe. India still hasnt woken up the electric revolution in the big way. There have been very few takes for the the Reva, which is the only electric car on sale here. Maybe better infrastructure will change the mindset of the Indian buyer. But only time will tell.

So are you ready to become an Electrichead?

Last edited by Dippy : 7th October 2009 at 13:42.
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