Renault’s Zoe ZE took centre stage on the firm’s Frankfurt show stand. The four-metre all-electric supermini is part of a quartet of battery cars that Renault will be introducing to the European market over the next three years, and along with the Twizy city car, one of two models designed from scratch as all-electric.
Introducing the car to the Frankfurt public, Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn confirmed that the Zoe would be the last of that quartet to hit the market, due on sale in mid-2012. “It will be an ideal, zero-emissions second car,” he said, “perfect for the school run, or tackling the daily commute to work.”
While the Twizy, Kangoo Be Bop and Fluence ZE concepts are very close to production-ready, Renault insiders admit that the Zoe concept is a little more far-fetched.
"It’s size, proportions and mechanical details are a good guide for what’s to come,” a spokesman told us, “but the road car will be more conventional in the arrangement of its doors and in its interior layout.”
The car’s more extravagant features are front doors hinged off the A-pillars, rear ones hung from a central spine along the roof that double as the boot opening, and a roof lined with charge-generating solar cells. It has an air conditioning system co-developed with cosmetics giant L’Oreal which is alleged to hydrate and perfume your skin while it cools.
The Zoe Z.E. concept is powered by a 94bhp, 166lb ft electric motor, and is capable of 100-miles on a single charge. Performance is quite impressive: 0-62mph should take just 6.7sec and top speed is 88mph. An 80 per cent charge of its batteries would be possible from a three-phase socket in around 20 minutes.
Frankfurt is alive with electric cars this year, but Renault-Nissan’s commitment sto electric power remains the biggest and most concrete. The alliance has invested 4bil Euros in its pioneering EV business to date, and 200 employees across the two firms are already occupied by it. “Our world is changing and so is the way we move in it,” said CEO Carlos Ghosn. “Renault will drive this change.”