Renault ZOE Shatters Distance Record For An Electric Car

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The Renault ZOE sets a new world record, traveling 1,618 km in 24 hours

The Renault ZOE sets a new world record, traveling 1,618 km in 24 hours

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If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times: range-anxiety is one of the biggest hurdles facing electric car manufacturers. If consumers don't believe that an electric car is going to get them from Point A to Point B (without a time-consuming battery recharge), vehicle sales will stall.

Thankfully for EV automakers, there's good news to crow about today: the Renault ZOE has just destroyed the record for distance traveled in 24 hours by an electric car.

Until recently, the farthest that an electric vehicle had driven in a 24-hour perior was 1,280 km, or about 795 miles.

But on June 1, two Renault ZOEs quietly slipped onto a test track in Normandy, France. All day and all night, a team of 15 drivers took turns at the wheels of the two electric cars, and 24 hours later, they'd traveled 1,618 km and 1,506 km, respectively, or about 1,005 miles and 935 miles. That's an improvement of about 25% over the previous record. 

How was this possible? Most of the credit goes to the car's Caméléon charger, which makes the ZOE compatible with any socket and any power level. That allowed the Renault team to recharge the ZOE at 43 kW, restoring an 80% charge in less than 30 minutes. All told, the ZOE that traveled 1,168 km was fast-charged 18 times in the space of 24 hours, or about once every hour and 20 minutes.  

The Renault ZOE rolls into European showrooms later this year. If it proves popular, we'd love to think that Nissan could cajole a version from Renault for the American market, but that's probably just wishful thinking.

No matter which side of the Atlantic you call home, you can learn more about the Renault ZOE in Nikki's very intriguing preview.

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Comments (20)
  1. Nissan might like to see sales of the LEAF tick up a little before expanding the EV product line in the USA.

  2. That's very interesting, that they used quick charging. And it does show that well placed level 3 chargers would easily allow for long distance travel.

  3. My understanding is this is not “Quick Charge”, as in the CHAdeMO DC Quick Charger used by the Nissan Leaf, which is an off-board external charger. This is an On-Board charger capable of using single and three phase power up to 43kW that would NOT require the expensive Quick Charge device now used by CHAdeMO or SAE. In the ZOE, if your there, so is fast charging.

  4. Hmm, thanks for the info Kei.

  5. CHAdeMO quick-chargers (15k$+) actually turn out to be a cheaper solution when you realize they can be used by more than one vehicle.

  6. No mention of how much those "quick charges" would cost you. Some of "peak rate" electricity bills are close to $0.50 per KWHr for Northern California's PG&E.

  7. Xialong, as someone who moved from the Bay Area to Michigan in 2004, wow! I can't even remember what we paid for electricity per KWH, but in Michigan, we pay $.16 and for off-peak, when I charge my Volt, we pay $.036, I believe, so what a difference... It's under $.04, but could be $.034 or $.038.

    With a couple of "extra" cars at home, we just switch cars occasionally and rent, as well, but it's still good to see what else is happening to make EVs more viable to a larger segment of the general populace.

  8. Level 3 chargers open the door to long distance travel by EV. Most people would only need to use this high rate of charge on rare occasions and probably would not be upset by spending $9 or more for a full quick charge at a retail station.

  9. Will the Zoe be battery-switch compatible?

  10. Zoe is engineered to make this possible. They'll only do it if Better Place commit to buying it. Problem is, Better Place have probably over committed on the Fluence (they agreed to take 100,000 of those).

    I'm a customer, I don't have any inside knowledge, but there is no desire in Better Place Israel to talk about future models: they only want to discuss what they have in stock now.

  11. The bigger the battery the slower the charge. At 50kW we're nudging up against the kinds of power delivery that can ever be reasonably expected to be handled by the public. Even if that nudged a long way up to 100kW that wouldn't fill Tesla's biggest battery in 30 mins.

    EVs are pretty darn efficient, that's why trying to measure the KM per kWh is fairly meaningless as in anything that looks like a normal car (and weighs what a current car weighs) the answer will be very similar from the highest performance Tesla S down to my family car Renault. If you drive both kindly, they'll deliver similar electric efficiency.

    Recharging in situ is not the answer.

  12. Recharging in situ is not the answer. It will never rival gas refuelling for speed. The only EV solution on the table today is battery switching.

    Beyond that some mega breakthrough in storage like an as yet unknown ultra capacitor, whose merest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate.

  13. @Brian, swapping is a temporary solution at best, new faster charging capabilities will come as technologies evolve. Give it time to grow.

  14. @ Brian: For what reason would ~50KW be the maximum of power delivery that can ever be reasonably expected to be handled by the public? Do you have a link?

  15. As far as I know the highest rated chargers that have been put into use unsupervised by untrained drivers are around the 50kW mark.

    Just this morning I saw an article about 400kW bus chargers in China (of course)

    Take a look at the size of the cables and there are two plugged in at the same time!

    There is also going to be huge heat associated with sending in that much power: ever noticed what happens to your phone or laptop temp when you charge it?

    Finally 6 of those bus chargers makes a peak load of 2.4MegaWatts. Israel has entire power stations as small as 10MW. Now imagine a string of those chargers all along I95.

  16. @ Brian, Thanks for the reply. The cables on those Chinese buses seem smaller than those found on regular fuel pumps but it's the weight that counts of course. Still I have a feeling they are hardly the problem. Heat: you make the cables bigger to avoid that...
    Load on grid: if in some hopefully not too distant future everybody drives plug-ins with~100KWH or so batteries and is happily fastcharging them at a dense network of ~200KW chargers it will be a predictable load throughout the day that the grid can be adapted to., I don't think 50KW is the limit, nor can it be if there really is to be a future for plug-ins.

  17. Fat (really, really fat heavy hard to bend) cables will stop heat in the cables but that power is all arriving in the battery which is buried in the car. That's hard to deal with.

    Even when my 3kW level 2 charger is slowly putting power into my Renault Fluence ZE the battery makes all sorts of cooling noises never heard while driving and the trunk gets hot. I'm sure it doesn't help that my car is parked underground and the temp there will be 30C+ till November.

    I've seen calcs that for 100 kW and 350 V you'll have ~330 Amp DC. This means a 1.2 cm diameter wire (just the copper: double that to 3cm with insulation) and weighing 3kg!

    I agree, this is a huge limitation and the reason why fast charging is a dead end.

  18. Hmm... yet those buses don't seem to burst into flames when hooked up to 400KW, so apparently the right battery chemistry (lithium titanate in this case) and the right internal wiring/cooling means that extreme fast charging is a real option, that will soon be used for over a thousand buses in Chongqing. Since long recharge times is Better place's main raison d'être I'm afraid it's actually Better Place that is a dead end....

    In fact Honda is already using the dreaded lithium titanate chemistry in it's Fit EV but without fastcharge option at this point (it's only a compliance car...).

    (I don't understand the problem with the rather thin and light copper wire needed for 100KW you describe)

  19. Thanks for the story Richard. What condition were the batteries in after being quick-charged 18 times in a row? That’s one of the concerns…

  20. At least Zoe owner's wont need to worry about that: they'll only be able to lease the batteries not own them. If their capacity departs from the agreed performance envelope, Renault says they will replace them.

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