The Renault Zoe e-sport concept, a sporty two-seat version of the car maker's electric Zoe, has been unveiled at the Geneva motor show, with the concept drawing on technology developed from the firm’s involvement in the Formula E racing series.
A faster Zoe has long been the subject of speculation but increasing performance while preserving a credible driving range has been the issue. The concept won’t make production but instead shows “what’s possible for a performance electric car,” said a Renault spokesman, much like its Trezor concept at Paris motor show last year showed what was possible for an electric GT.
Renault Europe boss Jean-Christophe Kugler described the e-sport concept as “a link car: a styling exercise intended to connect the Zoe road car with what Renault is doing in Formula E racing, and to send a message that EVs are fun to drive. It’s not a signal of the future for Zoe, and we have no intention to develop a performance version.”
“We are benefitting a lot from the technology developed in Formula E,” Kugler explained, “and creating technology that will one day be used on the road. But for now we must continue to focus on bring the EV into the mainstream. We are EV pioneers and are beginning to benefit from our bravery. Zoe ZE40 is helping us to convince customers that we are solving the biggest challenges to the adoption of an electric car with its more usable autonomy.”
He added: “But our EV customers aren’t interested in performance applications yet. Perhaps BMW and Mercedes can use performance to sell their EVs, just like Tesla does – but it’s a long way off for us.”
The Zoe e-sport concept has two electric motors developing 460bhp and 472lb ft at 4,300rpm. The car can sprint from 0-62mph in 3.2sec and 130mph can be reached in under 10sec, claimed Renault.
The concept’s two motors are identical, with one sited at the front and the other at the rear, each driving an axle. As in Formula E, the motors use high-capacity permanent magnet technology to maximise energy efficiency. The car is fitted with a 40kWh battery, which is the same as that used in the standard Zoe.
The Zoe e-sport uses the same air and water cooling systems as Renault’s Formula E racing car to ensure the battery and control systems work at an ideal temperature. The concept has four driving modes, giving the driver the choice of more performance or a longer driving range.
The concept uses a tubular steel chassis based on those used by Renault Sport cars competing in hill climbs and ice races.
Using carbonfibre for its bodywork, the car weights 1400kg including the battery. It has a lowered ride height, wider tracks and four-wheel-drive, with the aim of improving cornering ability compared with the standard Zoe road car.
The car is fitted with double-wishbone suspension, 20in wheels, bigger brakes and four-way adjustable dampers that are the same as those fitted to the Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R hot hatch.
The exterior styling has been enhanced to provide better aerodynamics, with a new front air dam, flat undercarriage, Formula E-inspired diffuser and a large carbonfibre spoiler.
Inside, the e-sport has two Recaro bucket seats, a rectangular steering wheel and Formula E-style controls.
Renault's electric vehicles boss Gilles Normand said "Today is all about passion and that is what the concept is all about - the RS brief was simply to have fun. Its French design expresses passion and shows all the victories in Formula E. The concept shows how far EV tech can take us."
Watch the eRally Renault Zoe take on the Ford Fiesta ST200 and a Go-kart in the video below.