Although not quite as prestigious on the electric racing scale as the upcoming Formula-e series, the relatively new "Zero Emission, No Noise" (ZENN) series does give manufacturers a venue in which to put their electrics up against competing teams. Held in the rainy hills in and around Monte-Carlo last month, the race saw Renault’s ZOE dominate in not one, but all categories, essentially sweeping the series.
The Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN is an event open to electric-only vehicles with a maximum range of 250 km (155 miles). Making its racing debut, under what were considered horrendous rainy conditions in Monte-Carlo last month, Renault’s diminutive ZOE not only took first place overall, but also captured the podium for the Regularity Prize, the Energy Consumption Prize, the Autotest (auto slalom) section on Monaco’s harbor, and the Teams Challenge.
The race was made up of three special stages, with distances ranging from 46.51 km (28.9 miles) to 88.08 km (54.73 miles). Each of the stages was broken up into four regularity tests, where manufacturers challenged other teams in various time trial events and mileage/range tests. Other entrants included Citroen’s C-Zero, Mitsubishi’s i-Miev, Think Global’s Think City car and Volkswagen’s e-Up! Overall there were 18 entries from seven nationalities, with roughly 200 km (120 miles) of race stages completed by the competitors.
Introduced to the market in 2012, Renault’s all-electric ZOE features a 22 kWh lithium-ion battery that provides power to an electric motor capable of delivering 220 Nm (162 lb.ft) of torque and 65 kW (87 bhp) to the front wheels. ZOE’s NEDC range of 210 km (130 miles) is further enhanced by Renault’s Range Optimizer system that, according to the French manufacturer, helped keep the car’s available range from ever dropping below 42 percent during the race. Readers may also recognize the ZOE from 2012 when it claimed the world record for the longest distance traveled in 24 hours by a production EV.
The Monte-Carlo Rallye took teams up into the mountainous regions behind the Mediterranean city into towns like La Turbie, Peille and Sainte Agnès. The race was held March 21 to 23.