Renault planning three new electric vehicles until 2012

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Renault has started putting into plan a series of electric cars which will consist of a bespoke small vehicle that’s larger than a Twingo, a battery powered version of the Kangoo and a Megane-based saloon. The small car will have five seats seat, with a distinctive design that won’t be available in any other cars.

Renault is dedicated to create an electric car that is totally new, and will provide the car what it describes as an ‘emotional design.’ That means a compact urban car with elegance and style rather than the utilitarian appearance that many small electric cars are currently sporting.

The Megane-based four-door, which is principally intended for the company’s electric vehicle undertaking in Israel, will be available in 2011. The Kangoo should be made available earlier. The vehicles are anticipated to highlight as transport for competitors and VIPs at the London 2012 Olympics.

Renault is making the saloon’s performance as a standard against which all others will be measured, from a standing start against a 100 hp 1.6-liter petrol car, although the company is devoted to emphasize that the electric car’s flexibility between 30 (48 km/h) and 70 mph (112 km/h) will be superior. “It will be very good in urban situations,’” said Serge Yoccoz, the company’s Electric Vehicle Project Director. Its top speed is over 80 mph, “and it will be fun to drive.”

Engineers are focused on the saloon’s smooth performance, which gather in big gains in battery conservation at higher speeds, and the thermal challenge of heating or cooling the vehicle compartment in hot or cold weather, which requires a lot of energy that will certainly limit it range.

Prototypes of the saloon and the Kangoo currently need around eight hours to recharge for a 100-120 miles range from a home-based powerpoint, but Renault envisions a system of high-ampere home and work power outlets that will reduce the time in half, as well as specific rapid-charge points in the street that will reduce this to 20-30 minutes.

As an option it’s also taking into account a quick battery change system that will effectively provide around 100 miles (160 km) in five minutes, which contends well with refueling a regular car. All electric Renault will be equipped with satellite navigation as standard, the system will be able to locate garages with battery exchange capabilities in real time as the journey advances. It will also be possible for electric car owners to refresh their batteries from the mains.

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