FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION 4,220 WORDS
MONDAY 17TH OCTOBER 2011
RENAULT FLUENCE Z.E., THE CAR FOR TOMORROW... NOW!
Motoring has reached an historic turning point. Energy-related challenges and essential environmental requirements have seen electric technology establish itself as a solution of tomorrow. In the near future, this form of power will see the development of a range of vehicles that deliver a holistic gain in terms of respect for the environment.
As a pioneer in this field, Renault is introducing Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Van Z.E.
The market's first range of affordable electric vehicles is poised to be extended with the addition of Twizy and ZOE.
First unveiled as a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009, Fluence Z.E. will be launched in the UK in mid-2012. It is aimed at private customers and fleet operators looking for a four-door saloon which is both economical and more respectful of the environment.
Fluence Z.E. is the first affordable, all-electric three-box saloon, and completes Renault's offer in this segment with a version that doesn’t produce any emissions during its use on the road. It features elegant lines, a comfortable interior and a raft of useful technologies. Along with Kangoo Z.E., this model is the first of the Renault Z.E. range to reach the European market from late 2011.
Fluence Z.E. will be manufactured at the OYAK-Renault plant in Bursa, Turkey, on the same production line as that which makes the internal combustion-engined versions of Fluence.
“The first Renault electric vehicles will soon be delivered to their customers... This will be the realisation of an ambitious strategy which seeks to make Renault the leader in zero-emission mobility. Our sales network staff is fully trained and ready to sell and service electric vehicles, with a wide-ranging offer that will include the vehicle, battery rental, battery charging and a package of other services. This is an important moment for Renault, for the Alliance and for our customers who are eagerly awaiting delivery of the first Fluence Z.E.s and Kangoo Z.E.s this year.”
Thierry Koskas – Director, Electric Vehicle Programme
I'VE DECIDED; I'M BUYING A FLUENCE Z.E.!
We're offering you a unique experience: to put yourselves in the shoes of a customer experiencing their first steps with an electric vehicle, Fluence Z.E.
From the dealer's door to the first battery charge, welcome to a connected world!
1- GETTING TO KNOW FLUENCE Z.E.
Step through the door of a Renault dealership and take two minutes to look around Fluence Z.E..
As the saloon segment’s first electric vehicle, it was necessary for Fluence Z.E. to be instantly recognisable.
To distinguish itself from its internal combustion-engined cousin, Fluence Z.E. features the distinctive and defining hallmarks of Renault's electric vehicles. Fluence Z.E. is instantly recognisable thanks to a number of blue-tinted details, from the lights and fog light surrounds, to the front and rear Renault logos and the Fluence badge. Fluence Z.E. also features entirely redesigned rear lights – including a strip of blue-tinted diamond shapes – plus a specific, more open grille design.
With an overall length of 4.75 metres, the electric version of Fluence is 13cm longer than the internal combustion-engined model. This has enabled the batteries to be located behind the rear seats. The sides have consequently been redesigned to maintain the visual balance of the original version. Employing fluid, crisp lines, the design of Fluence Z.E. features longer quarter panels which harmonise with the longer rear overhang.
The rear window, now framed by lengthened quarter panels similar to those seen on some coupes, is extended by a gloss black strip. The lights also contribute to the overall visual balance of the car by extending onto the sides of the body.
In harmony with this distinctive profile, Fluence Z.E. stands out through its gloss black mirror housings, body colour bumpers (standard on Dynamique versions) and charging flaps located on both front wheel arches. The boot lid features a chrome strip with an embossed, blue-tinted Fluence Z.E. monogram. Finally, the lower part of the rear bumper features a black diffuser to reduce aerodynamic drag. In the same spirit, the alloy wheel design, which is unique to Fluence Z.E., has been designed to reduce aerodynamic turbulence. Seven body colours are available, including Energy Blue, a new shade exclusive to Fluence Z.E.
A WELCOMING INTERIOR
Fluence Z.E. is proof that an electric vehicle doesn't have to be a small city car.
Fluence Z.E.’s interior comes with all the features you would expect to find in an internal combustion-engined version. The on-board computer now displays essential 'electric vehicle' information, such as instantaneous and average fuel consumption, range, battery charge and discharge. The 'energy gauge' indicates the battery's level of charge, in the same way as a conventional fuel gauge. The trim strip on the uncluttered dashboard is in an exclusive aluminium shade.
The width of Fluence Z.E. is the same as that of the internal combustion-engined version, which means its cabin is as spacious as that of a saloon car from the next segment up, including elbow room (1,480mm front/1,475mm rear) and rear space among the best in its class.
Thanks to the lengthened rear section, boot capacity remains unchanged at 317dm3, in spite of the incorporation of the battery. A folding panel is incorporated at the back of boot to facilitate storage of the battery charging cable, optimised when this panel is positioned vertically. Access is simplified thanks to the low sill (698mm) and wide aperture (1,020mm).
Fluence Z.E. provides more than 23 litres of storage space in the cabin, including a nine-litre illuminated glove box, a 2.2 litre cubby in the centre console and front door bins of 2.6 litres each.
ERGONOMIC DRIVING POSITION
It takes no time to adapt to Renault Fluence Z.E. thanks to its carefully designed ergonomics and simplified interfaces.
It is easy to find the ideal driving position thanks to a range of adjustment possibilities, as well as controls within easy reach. It is possible to adjust the angle of the seat back and head rest, modify the lumbar support, adjust the height of the steering wheel or adapt the seating position (height and fore/aft position adjustable through 70mm and 240mm respectively).
Fluence Z.E. features a raft of useful technologies, such as an integrated navigation system, networked and adapted for electric vehicles, Bluetooth® telephony and dual-zone automatic climate control, plus automatic headlight and wiper activation. In order to make them easier to use, these systems are perfectly integrated to ensure outstanding ergonomics: controls for the radio, telephone and cruise control, for example, can be reached without moving one's hands from the steering wheel.
NETWORKED SERVICES FOR OPTIMUM MOBILITY
Fluence Z.E. includes a large, centrally-positioned screen which serves as the control panel for your new electric world.
A suite of networked services permits intelligent mobility aimed at optimising range, finding the ideal route and, in the case of business customers, optimising the management of fleets.
With the My Z.E. Connect Pack, you can also access range-related data from outside your vehicle, on your smart phone or computer. At work, at home or wherever you may be, it is possible find out about the status of the battery (level of charge, time required for it to be fully charged, vehicle range, etc.), receive a warning that the battery charge is getting low or consult your battery charging history.
2- ON THE ROAD TO A NEW EXPERIENCE
The first surprise when you test an electric vehicle is the silence when you're on the move. There's no engine noise, and careful attention has been paid to the cabin’s soundproofing to make the most of this new environment. At standstill, the car seems to be 'switched off', although an audible signal – coupled with a 'GO' light – tells you that Fluence Z.E. is ready to drive. It pulls away in total silence, but you soon become guided by wind and road noise. Driving is calmer, more serene; motoring has never felt quite so Zen...
The second surprise is its electric motor. Peak power of this synchronous electric motor with rotor coil is 70kW (equivalent to 95hp) at 3,000rpm, while maximum torque is 226Nm. This torque is delivered instantaneously and ensures crisp, immediate and constant acceleration across the power range. Having maximum torque available every time you press the throttle guarantees a safe and enjoyable drive. It's a unique, astonishing feeling, and perfectly suited to today’s mobility needs and driving challenges. You no longer need to shift gear, either; you just concentrate on the road ahead. Driving is as fun as it is reassuring.
Fluence Z.E. also signals the end for exhaust fumes; no unpleasant smells, no more smoke... Clean and quiet, Fluence Z.E. will radically change the quality of life in built-up areas.
A BESPOKE ARCHITECTURE
Fluence Z.E.'s architecture has been modified compared to the internal combustion-engined Fluence in order to meet the specific requirements of its electric motor.
Fluence Z.E. has been completely rethought. Not only is it longer, but its weight distribution is also influenced by the electric motor which is lighter than any of the internal combustion engines available for Fluence (160 kg compared to 200 kg for an entry level diesel powerplant). The front end has consequently been designed with softer suspension. At the rear, however, the battery has introduced additional mass, 280 kg, although its location near the drive train – between the rear seats and the boot – has no detrimental impact on handling. The redesigned rear end contributes to Fluence Z.E.’s safety performance and driving enjoyment, since the revised weight distribution ensures a well-balanced and easy handling package.
Fluence Z.E. is fitted with low rolling resistance tyres. The Goodyear-developed EfficientGrip reduces fuel consumption thanks to extensive work on its carcass and sidewalls. The tread pattern, which is identical to that of a traditional tyre, permits a high standard of road holding and braking performance.
The electronic driving aids – ABS and ESC – have been recalibrated to match the different weight distribution resulting from the addition of the battery. In terms of passive safety, the structure of Fluence Z.E. has been modified to ensure the same level of safety as the internal combustion-engined version of the car. Meanwhile, the rear sub-frame and chassis rails have been strengthened in order to accommodate the battery. Fluence Z.E. is extensively equipped for its segment, with safety features including double seat belt pretensioners and six airbags as standard.
MILLIONS OF MILES OF TESTING
Hot and cold weather, dry and wet climates, rough and dusty roads... The shock treatment inflicted on Fluence Z.E. during its testing phase confirmed its strength and robustness in all conditions.
Fluence Z.E. has benefited from a design process that goes well beyond that of Fluence. It has been subjected to numerous extreme endurance tests in order to guarantee optimal reliability and durability, particularly with respect to the demanding driving conditions encountered in certain markets. It has also been developed to deliver optimum safety thanks to a long list of equipment including ABS and emergency brake assist as standard features, ESC, up to six airbags, three-point seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters, cruise control and speed limiter, etc.
In the course of its development, Fluence Z.E. underwent a gruelling endurance test programme in extremely exacting conditions (extreme heat, cold weather, poor roads, dusty conditions, etc.). More than 100 test vehicles completed almost five million kilometres. In addition to the standard procedures, additional tests were carried out to cover the specific requirements of electric drive.
As an electric vehicle, Fluence Z.E. launched new ways for extreme testing of a new car, from fire tests and flooding to electronic compatibility and cutting open, etc. This work was carried out in close collaboration with specialist engineers, fire fighters and France’s Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Lodging, but Fluence Z.E. came through every test with flying colours.
Months of more conventional road tests also enabled Fluence Z.E.'s ability to cope real-world motoring conditions to be validated.
3- A SIMPLE ALL-INCLUSIVE OFFER
Renault UK has appointed a network of 20 Renault Z.E. Expert Dealers who have invested in specialist tooling, training for both sales and workshop staff (including accreditation to a European standard for electrical safety from both the IMI and Lloyds Register) and showroom display. In addition these Z.E. Dealers will have a demonstrator for each model in the Z.E. range.
The whole Renault network will however have a role to play in the sale of electric vehicles handling initial enquiries and passing these to the nearest Z.E. Dealer and are also able to carry out non-specialist maintenance operations.
In the Z.E. Dealership, customers will receive a comprehensive explanation of the electric vehicle technology. During handover of the vehicle, the technician starts the Z.E. services. In order to help you familiarise the driver with their new car, tutorials are available on the internet. Finally, a Customer Relations Freephone Hotline has been established for any questions you they have and, from November 2011, owners will also be able to chat to Customer Relations direct from the Renault UK Z.E website.
RENAULT Z.E.: AFFORDABLE MOBILITY
Renault electric vehicles come with a sale or lease price comparable to that of their diesel-engined equivalents (after the Plug-In Car Grant, ‘PiCG’ financial incentive).
Depending on market and tariffs, the cost of the energy used by a Z.E. vehicle is between five and 10 times lower than that of the fuel burned in an internal combustion-engined vehicle. For example, with Fluence Z.E, a range of 115 miles costs approximately £3 (depending on price per kWh) which marks a clean break compared to the fuel budget required for an internal combustion-engined vehicle. With an electric vehicle, the battery hire cost must also be included in the calculation. For an annual mileage of 9,000, for example, the additional cost is just under 11p/mile (based on a monthly hire agreement of £81 over 3 years). Further mileage and duration permutations will be available nearer the launch date.
Renault electric vehicles are affordable both to buy and run, and stand out as an attractive option for business customers and ordinary motorists alike.
Summary of purchase and battery hire prices
Fluence Z.E. Prime Time £22,850 on the road
Less PiGC £5,000
Net price £17,850
Monthly battery hire (3 years, 9,000 miles per annum) £81.00
A SIMPLE, COMPLETE OFFER: THE Z.E. BOX
It couldn’t be easier to enter Renault's electric world thanks to the Z.E. Box, a practical all-in-one pack, which you collect upon delivery of your Fluence Z.E. It answers every question you can ask about electric mobility. The Z.E. Box includes all the useful information and contracts related to the vehicle, battery, battery charging and related services. Renault has thought of everything to guarantee peace of mind.
The Z.E. Box contains all the contracts associated with their new electric vehicle:
- Z.E. Car: a vehicle with zero emissions in use, tailor-made and intelligent
The price of Fluence Z.E. includes Carminat TomTom Z.E. LIVE navigation as standard equipment. This system has been specially designed to the meet the needs of Renault Z.E. motoring.
LIVE services include:
Owners also benefit from My Z.E. Connect, a package of simple and practical services to remotely monitor your vehicle's range using a computer or smart phone via the ‘Z.E. Services’ application.
- Z.E. Battery: a battery that's always operational
When you purchase your Fluence Z.E., you don't actually buy the battery in the car. This remains the property of Renault via RCI Financial Services. Customers take out a hire agreement which guarantees a battery at an affordable price, fully operational and a level of performance.
An almost inexhaustible range of mileage and contract length options will be available to business customers and private motorists. These contracts can be extended indefinitely. Meanwhile, should the vehicle be sold on, a new contract is signed with the new owner.
- Z.E. Charge: battery charging at home… and everywhere else
The quickest and safest solution is the Wall-Box, a wall-mounted charging point installed in a garage, car port or parking place. It is installed by the local energy provider. A standard charging cable is delivered with your Fluence Z.E. for battery charging at the home via a Wall-Box or at a public battery charging point. For occasional charging, Renault proposes an optional lead which can be connected to a domestic 220V power supply. Renault has endeavoured to simplify every step.
- Z.E. Services: permanent assistance
As part of the battery hire, and regardless of the pricing plan you have chosen, you receive a comprehensive 24/7 breakdown cover. It also covers flat batteries, whereby you will be towed to the charging point of your choice, within a distance of 50 miles. A temporary replacement mobility solution is also offered to enable you to reach your destination (replacement vehicle, taxi, accommodation, etc.).
Fluence Z.E.: manufacturer’s warranty
In addition to the basic manufacturer’s warranty, Renault offers warranty extension options and specifically tailored servicing contracts for electric vehicles, with durations and mileage parameters to suit the customer’s choice:
- ‘Planned servicing’ adapted to the way the customer uses their vehicle (years/distance covered)
- Warranty extensions up to seven years (excluding electric drive train),
- Renault also offers insurance specifically tailored to electric vehicle customers
4- CHARGING FLUENCE Z.E.'S BATTERY
DAILY DISTANCES SUITED TO Z.E. USAGE
Some 87 percent of daily journeys involve driving less than 60km (37 miles). Do you really need a range of 500 miles for everyday motoring?
With an NEDC combined cycle range of 115 miles, Fluence Z.E. is well-suited to the majority of daily journeys. In real-world use, range can be as high as 125 miles in favourable driving conditions. In extreme conditions (combining severe weather, a sporty driving style, hilly terrain, etc.), range can fall to around 50 miles. In effect, the range of electric vehicles varies more than that of internal combustion-engined vehicles and depends on factors such as speed, the terrain, use of the climate control system or heater, the outside temperature, driving style (sporty, normal or ‘eco-driving’), etc.
In contrast to internal combustion-engined vehicles, electric vehicles are most economical in built-up areas, in heavy traffic. This is partly explained by the fact that, when an electric vehicle is at a standstill (red lights, heavy traffic, etc.), it consumes almost no energy. At the same time, thanks to the system which recovers energy under deceleration, frequent stops partially compensate for the energy consumed while on the move.
HOW DO I CHARGE MY BATTERY? THE DIFFERENT OPTIONS
There are two ways to charge the battery of your Fluence Z.E. As networks of battery charging facilities expand rapidly, you will always find a way to ‘fill up’ on energy.
In collaboration with public bodies and private partners, Renault has been working for three years on battery charging infrastructures. The Renault-Nissan Alliance has signed more than 100 partnership agreements with public authorities (national, urban and regional) across the world, energy providers, infrastructure operators, research and development centres, shopping malls, public car parks, hotels, etc.
In Europe, contracts have been signed in all major markets with governments and electricity suppliers (RWE in Germany, EDF in France, Acciona in Spain, a2a and Enel in Italy, and a number of the Plugged-in-Places, ‘PiP’ regions in the UK). These commitments lead to a prediction of some 50,000 charging points across Europe for the first half of 2012.
AT HOME OR AT THE WORK PLACE
The easy-to-use Wall-Box is essential equipment for conventional battery charging at home. As its name suggests, it is a wall-mounted unit, similar to an electricity meter. In addition to working as a transformer, it incorporates a specific high-voltage socket. As it must be installed by an approved electrician and to make life easier for the customer, Renault has appointed strategic partners in each market. The chosen partner in the UK is British Gas who will carry out a survey of the premises before supplying and fitting a Chargemaster wall-mounted charging point (the Wall-Box) for £799 (including VAT) for a typical domestic installation with the additional peace of mind of a 3 year HEC (Home Electrical Care) policy.
The main advantages of this type of charging point are its speed, compliance with standards, user-friendliness and its ability to communicate with the electricity network in order to benefit from the most attractive rates, at night or during off-peak periods. A complete battery charge takes between six and eight hours.
For occasional charging, Renault provides a cable that can be connected directly to a 240V home supply. With this method, charging takes between 10 and 12 hours.
ON THE MOVE
Vehicles in the Z.E. range can hook up to any public charging facility for a full standard charge (between six and eight hours). Indeed, Fluence Z.E. complies with the standards that cover electric vehicle battery charging station networks.
The majority of these points are located in places where vehicles usually park, so you don’t need to drive off-route to ‘fill up’. Across Europe Renault has already begun partnerships with the likes of E. Leclerc supermarkets, Unibail Rodamco (shopping centres), Vinci Park car parks, etc.
For an even faster 'charge' in some countries, you can swap your empty battery for one that's ready to use. This process takes less than five minutes – the time of filling a tank of petrol – in partnership with Better Place at dedicated facilities. They are currently planned in Israel, Australia and Denmark, while negotiations are ongoing in other countries.
SOME TIPS FOR REDUCING CONSUMPTION
You can view the parameters related to your vehicle's range at any time using the Man Machine Interface specially developed for the needs of electric vehicle owners. This interface includes a battery charge gauge, an on-board computer which calculates the vehicle’s potential range, plus an indication of average and instant energy consumption (kWh), as well as the remaining kWh.
An econometer explains how energy is being consumed: high consumption in red, normal in light blue and energy recovery in dark blue. An intelligent navigation system (Carminat TomTom® Z.E. LIVE) comes as standard equipment and locates the nearest charging points. It indicates their availability (depending on country), includes them in route planning and enables the driver to see how far he or she can travel as a function of the vehicle's remaining range.
Even more so than with an internal combustion-engined vehicle, you too can play an active part in extending the range of your electric vehicle. For example, by following a few eco-driving guidelines, you can extend your range by up to 18 percent.
An Eco Mode function is available on Fluence Z.E. Activating this button restricts the climate control and heater functions for a range gain of up to 10 percent.
When the driver's foot lifts from the throttle pedal, kinetic energy is recovered by the motor, which converts it into electric current. This current is then used to charge the battery.
Fluence Z.E. is equipped with pre-heating and pre-air conditioning systems. While the vehicle is plugged into a wallbox or charging point, it is possible to set the required cabin temperature remotely. Fluence Z.E. therefore offers maximum temperature comfort as soon as you get inside, and the system has no impact on range as it’s all been done using mains electricity.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY BATTERY RUNS FLAT?
Electric vehicles offer a unique feature: unlike internal combustion-engined vehicles, running out of energy is covered by the battery hire contract.
The vehicle's range, which is two or three times superior to the daily requirement of most drivers, plus the fact that batteries can be charged almost anywhere should mean running out of energy is a very rare occurrence. Nevertheless, if you reach the limits of your battery, the vehicle doesn't come to a sudden stop but continues to drive at reduced speed for several miles. This allows you to get away from traffic, so that you can call assistance, who will tow your vehicle free of charge to a battery charging point. If you experience other problems linked to battery performance, the network will immediately exchange the battery or offer a replacement vehicle.
DO YOU WANT TO HEAD OFF ON HOLIDAY?
Meanwhile, in light of the limited range of electric power when heading off on holiday for example, Renault is introducing a mobility guarantee, no matter what the destination.
As a Z.E. customer, you have access to short-term rental of an internal combustion-engined vehicle for longer journeys at preferential rates. This service will be available through Renault Rent, Avis and Europcar, which ensures significant territorial coverage. The service will also be available through My Renault, which can be accessed through Renault.co.uk. Hire costs are payable as and when the service is used, at the agency or via the internet.
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