Exclusive: Renault not afraid of Tesla on the European market, Carlos Tavares says

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 1, 2013

In an interview we had, Chief Operating Officer for Renault a.k.a. Mr. Carlos Tavares talked about the electric cars offered by the French carmaker in Europe. Mr. Tavares is very proud that Renault is the only manufacturer in Europe to offer four electric vehicles in its lineup: the ZOE, Twizy, the Fluence Z.E. and the Kangoo Z.E..

Inevitable, we asked Mr. Tavares if the company is concerned about Tesla entering the European market. “We are not worried” he said. “In fact, we are glad that another company is offering electric cars in Europe.” Moreover, he added that the debut of new electric vehicles on the European market will push things even further and in this way EVs will become even better.

Currently, Tesla offers the Model S in Europe, a vehicle that comes with three battery options, each offering different range and performance characteristics. The 60 kWh battery offers a range of 370 km (220 miles) at speeds of up to 88 km/h or 55 mph. The Tesla Model S equipped with this battery is able to hit 60 mph or 96 km/h in 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 120 mph or 193 km/h.

Peak motor power delivered by this model is 302 hp (225 kW). Tesla also offers the 85 kWh battery that gives a range of 300 miles or 482 km at speeds of up to 88 km/h or 55 mph. 0-60 mph (96 km/h) sprint is made in 5.4 seconds, while top speed is 125 mph or 201 km/h. Peak motor power delivered is 362 hp.

The Tesla Model S Performance offers the same 85 kWh battery, with the same 300 miles or 482 km range. Still, performances are improved and the Model S zooms from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.2 seconds, while top speed is limited to 130 mph or 209 km/h. Peak motor power delivered is 416 hp. The Renault ZOE is the first car from Renault to be designed as an all-electric model and was unveiled back in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show.

Offered in three versions (Life, Zen and Intens), the Renault ZOE is powered by a wound rotor synchronous electric motor that develops 65 kW with maximum torque of 220 Nm delivered instantly. The ZOE has a range of 210 km (130 miles) over an NEDC cycle. Further, Renault ZOE is the first electric vehicle that can be charged to any level of power (up to 43 kW) over a period of between 30 minutes and nine hours, using the Chameleon charger, patented by Renault.

The second electric vehicle found in Renault’s lineup is the Twizy, an ultramobile all-electric two-seater vehicle that ships in a choice of three trim levels and two engines, with or withouth driving license. The Twizy has a range of 100 km (62 mph) over a standard urban cycle and can be fully recharged in 3 and a half hours from a domestic socket.

Renault Twizy comes with a 13 kW (17 hp) electric motor delivering 57 Nm. With these numbers, the Twizy hits a top speed of 80 km/h or 49 mph for the version that requires a driving license. The Twizy 45, the version that does not require a license, gets a 4 kW (5 hp) motor with maximum torque of 33 Nm available from start-up and a top speed limited to 45 km/h or 27 mph. The third electric vehicle found in Renault’s lineup is the Fluence Z.E..

This model has an electric motor that is of the wound rotor synchronous type, delivering 70 kW and a maximum torque of 226 Nm. The lithium-ion battery on Renault Fluence Z.E. has an energy capacity of 22 kWh and offers a homologated range of 185 km or 114 miles. The Renault Kangoo Z.E. and Kangoo Maxi Z.E. (two- and five-seater versions) are the first affordable electric vans launched by the French automaker back in 2011.

These models offer a range of 170 km over an NEDC combined cycle. It is clear that Renault has a better offer for the European market and that the French manufacturer is able to sell more electric vehicles than Tesla but the American company is preparing a compact sedan that could steal some sales. Still, this model is under development and the market will need to wait few years until it gets it. Tesla is also preparing the Model X, an electric crossover featuring gull-wing doors, that will debut in 2014 in the United States.

Topics: renault, europe, tesla

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