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Renault Zoe to make electric cars safer and more affordable

Renault Zoe to make electric cars safer and more affordable Renault Zoe side barrier crash test
Tristan Honeywill

Renault’s plans to make electric vehicles more attractive to consumers have received a boost from Euro NCAP, which has given the Renault Zoe electric supermini a five-star safety rating. With industry sales of electric vehicle sluggish, the Zoe’s ability to combine safety and range in an affordable package could be critical to their acceptance.

Renault Zoe pole test driver view In Euro NCAP’s assessment, the Zoe achieved five stars with scores that are just as high as many more conventional five-star cars: the results were generally all good or above average for adults, children and pedestrians. The tests indicated that Renault has been careful to ensure that most child seats can also be installed easily. The only weak points in the car’s crash protection were identified as the chest protection in the severe pole-strike test and the protection against whiplash injuries.

Euro NCAP doesn’t conduct specific tests on the integrity of electric cars’ battery packs, but Renault has stated that 90 Zoe vehicles underwent crash tests to validate the vehicle’s design: “Tests sought to ensure that the structure would efficiently protect the cabin, its occupants, and the integrity of the battery. As a precautionary measure, the airbag ECU immediately deactivates the battery,” said the company.

Driver assistance systems on the Zoe will also help improve safety and range for drivers. A speed limiter device is fitted as standard as well as a system that displays the current speed limit. If electric driving helps to make all drivers more conscious of speed and energy, then they could help to reduce accidents, not just CO2.

Costing £13,650 and the battery hire starting at £70 per month, the Zoe is Renault’s attempt to bring electric vehicles within the reach of more people. Concerns about safety as well as their range have put off a lot of drivers in the past. With five star safety and a range of 60-90 miles depending on your driving style, the Zoe could be the first time that an EV starts to make sense. 

If electric driving helps to make all drivers more conscious of speed and energy, then they could help to reduce accidents, not just CO2


Buyer’s guide

  • UK prices start at £13,650 including government incenties, with battery hire from £70 per month, depending on mileage
  • In France prices start from €13,700 including VAT and eco-bonus. Battery rental from €79 for 12,500km /year over three years

Comments

  1. Jonathan Romero

    I have an idea that would make Renault the leader in EV’s.
    What if EV cars did not need hardly any outside charging ?
    What if they had consistent trickle charging always going on ? What if they had:

    1) PV built into the body providing consistent trickle charge anytime any light is present (i.e., thin film coated like with Aleo Solar (which works off all light, direct or indirect via infrared) or the new one that uses ALL incoming light and has a +90% efficiency),2) permanent magnet DC high efficiency generators in the wheels so trickle charge also occurs every time the wheels move, 3) Ultra capacitors used in order to cut down on battery drawdowns during high power demand times such as initial acceleration (these can extend a battery charge up to 15 times when used with portable power tools), 4) low efficiency magnetic field inducing generators used in regenerative braking for recapture of some energy (or maybe try some flywheel technology, which I haven’t seen used yet, the other items however are all ready to go), 5) Altairnano Nanosafe nano coated titanium dioxide batteries do not heat up, test up to 20,000 recharges, operate well in extreme temperatures, charge in 10 minutes and can be stacked to provide extended ranges and: 6) High efficiency motors by UQM or Dyson. Such a car would rarely need to be “plugged in” to the grid because the high efficiency coupled with the constant trickle charging would greatly extend the life of each battery charge. It would sell very well throughout the world, put more money back into the hands of the people because they would not have to be buying unneeded outside produced polluting energy, erasing much carbon presently being produced alleviating some of the climate change, change the geopolitical, financial and military structures throughout the world, help alleviate the need for us to be spending such great sums of money and precious resources including military on the Middle East, cut down on pollution and the attendant health problems and costs incurred by such, no more oil drilling in ecologically precious areas. Yeah, I guess it makes too much sense. Also, check out the 1996 NESEA Tour de Sol and the ranges of those EV’s, 375 miles Solectria Sunrise, 235 miles Ford’s EcoStar, 125 miles GM’s EV-1.

    • Interesting idea – getting rid of the plug would be a massive step forward. Ideas like this make me more optimistic about the long-term future of electric vehicles. Forward-thinking consumers who share your vision are backing the current generation of electric cars already. I hope we can get there.

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