One in 10 vehicles sold in 2012 'will be electric'
Renault is placing its faith on the future in electric vehicles.
And, the French manufacturer is confident that 1,000 Renault electric vehicles will be sold in Ireland next year.
That’s according to Renault Ireland’s managing director Eric Basset, who has overseen the marque’s market share double since his arrival in Ireland in 2009.
Speaking at the launch of Renault ZE (Zero Emission), Mr Basset also pledged that Renault vehicles would be “affordable to all”.
And he declared that Ireland was leading the way in Europe for infrastructure and availability of electric vehicles.
Renault launched its electric vehicle offensive in 2008, announcing a line-up of four electric models, the first of which arrived on Irish roads this month.
The Renault Kangoo ZE is now available to test drive at dealerships around the country. It’s priced from €16,400 incl. VRT ex VAT and including the Government grant of €3,800.
Considerable interest in the electric mini-van had already been sparked in France where 15,000 Kangoo ZE have been ordered by some of the country’s largest companies, including La Poste, the French postal service.
Renault is the only manufacturer to introduce a range of 100 per cent electric vehicles, from the Kangoo ZE mini van to the Fluence ZE Saloon, to the Twizy urban quadricycle, and the stylish compact hatch the ZOE, which are all due to paper on Irish roads next year.
The Kangoo ZE battery will cost €75 ex VAT per month to lease (based on 48 months, 15,000km per year).
The Renault Kangoo ZE will be available in three sizes, including the Kangoo Maxi ZE two-seat and five-seat models. A five-year unlimited mileage warranty is standard.
Mr Basset said Renault’s Irish team was “the best trained network in electric vehicles in Europe” following extended training over the past year in technology, after sales and customer care.
“We have committed fully to the arrival of our range of ZE vehicles in Ireland, and recently employed eight Ambassadors who are each fully dedicated experts in electric vehicles,” Mr Basset said.
The ‘vital statistics’ relating to the Kangoo ZE compared to the normal van are: Normal van - CO2 Emissions (137g); Maximum speed & torque: 151 km/h and 180 Nm; Manual Gearbox; 3 Lengths: Compact, Express, Maxi; 3 payloads 1 per length; 5Y Warranty Unlimited Mileage.
And the ZE.. Zero CO2 (0g) & silent (0 noise); Maximum speed and torque: 130km/h & 226 Nm; Automatic Transmission;3 Versions: 2-seater, 2-seater Maxi, 5-seater Maxi; Payload 1 payload for the 3 versions; 5Y Warranty Unlimited Mileage; Driving range 170 km; Power 44 Kw; Price from €16,400 (incl grant & VRT, exc. VAT.
To date, one of the issues relating to electric vehicles generally has revolved around the fact that they are noiseless. Arising from safety concerns, engineers have been working to make the engines sufficiently noisy so that pedestrians, in particular, can hear them.
Development of the innovative vehicles has included an extensive list of tests designed to cover the performance, safety and durability of the new components: the electric motor, power electronics unit and battery.
To this end, Renault established dedicated test facilities at Lardy in an electric mobility test centre, which has been gradually expanded since 2009. The centre spans two buildings and around 100 test benches over a surface area of 3,300 sq metres.
Eight benches at the centre handle the electric motors where a series of controlled tests cover the equivalent of 20 years of operation and/or 300,000kms.
Six benches handle the power electronics unit, while 41 benches deal with environmental chambers, testing lithium-ion batteries. In total, 170,000 hours of testing are carried out over a year at Lardy by more than 30 specialised engineers and technicians.
“The Lardy test centre is supporting Renault’s move into the electric vehicle market, now a concrete reality after the launch of the Kangoo ZE.
“Investing in this centre will enable us to pursue and support new developments in electric power plant technology and make Renault the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles in Europe,” said Jacques Prost, Renault’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain Engineering.