08 May 2009

Electric potential

Renault shows off all-electric Kangoo prototype. It’ll be on the road in two years…

Renault Kangoo ZE

Renault is serious about bringing an electric car to market in the next two years. At the Paris show last year, the French company showed off the Zero Emissions Concept, and now it has shown off this, the Kangoo ZE.

It’s an all-electric ‘prototype vehicle’ that demonstrates the technology that will, says Renault, appear in its road cars from 2011.

Based on the production Renault Kangoo Be Bop, it’s powered by a lithium ion battery pack driving a 59bhp electric motor that puts out 140lb ft of torque and revs to 12,000rpm.

Which means it won’t exactly be quick. Renault says that the Kangoo ZE has a top speed of 80mph and a range of 62 miles, meaning it’s more a tool for urban commuting than a genuine first family car.

However, the first production electric Renaults should have a range of around 100 miles.

The Kangoo ZE can be charged from the mains in six to eight hours, though a quick-charging three phase socket will allow an 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes.

However, Renault is working with other car manufacturers to develop a 400-volt plug that will completely recharge the ZE in just 20 minutes.

If they can nail that one, it’ll overcome one of the biggest current objections to electric cars. Pun unintended, sorry.

Renault says its first all-electric model will be a family saloon for Israel in 2011, followed by a Kangoo variant for Europe.

That should open the floodgates for a raft of all-electric Renaults, including a Clio-based supermini.

Now, how about an all-electric Renaultsport Clio?

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