It is starting to look like the 2016 Paris Motor Show, which will start the first week of October, will be an important event for electric vehicles. Mercedes and Volkswagen are both expected to announce new vehicles and release details of their ambitious EV plans.
Now Renault is reportedly jumping on the EV announcement bandwagon in Paris. The French automaker part of the Renault-Nissan alliance is reportedly about to unveil a new all-electric Zoe with a range of ~220 miles – about twice its current range.
The Renault Zoe is a popular vehicle in France and becoming increasingly popular in other European markets – though it’s still not available in North America.
It’s a fairly small 5-door hatchback with a NEDC-rated range of 150 miles – meaning its real use is closer to 90 miles. The car is currently equipped with a 22 kWh battery pack and this is where it becomes interesting, Renault doesn’t sell the battery pack.
The Zoe starts at 21,900€ ($24,500 USD), which is pretty inexpensive, but buyers have to “rent” the battery pack, which starts at 49€ ($55 USD) per month and the cost can increase based on your mileage.
Since it owns the battery packs, Renault is keeping a close eye on mileage, charging cycles and degradation. It is able to remotely limit the charging of a pack if the owner is trying to circumvent the mileage restrictions.
It certainly not an ideal offer, but Renault was able to sell a lot of Zoes under this arrangement, which often tops the list of best-selling EVs in France and other European markets.
Now the automaker is reportedly looking to increase its range, which should increase its potential userbase.
Reports coming from French media, like BFMTV, are claiming that Renault will debut a Zoe with a range of “320 km” (200 miles) at the Paris Motor Show. It’s not clear if we are talking about NEDC range, therefore I would take this with a grain of salt, but the reports are talking about “range under normal conditions”.
The same report from BFMTV is claiming that Renault developed a new smaller electric motor with higher efficiency, but the bulk of the range increase is achieved through using new LG Chem battery cells in the battery pack. No word on the total energy capacity of the new pack.
Nissan, Renault’s partner, has long been working on a new 60 kWh battery pack to introduce in its EV lineup.
We should know more in just a couple of weeks at the Paris Motor Show.