October 4, 2008 Renault has taken a holistic approach to energy saving with its latest concept car. Based on the new Renault Kangoo be bop, the Z.E. (Zero Emission) Concept incorporates a number of innovations across all aspects of the vehicle to ensure optimum range is achieved from the lithium-ion battery powered 70kW (95hp) electric motor. These include the use of heat-reflective paint, acid green-tinted glass and air-insulated body panels designed to reduce reliance on energy-sapping climate control systems, along with roof-mounted solar panels, extensive use of LEDs and aerodynamic enhancements like the replacement of drag-producing exterior mirrors with low-energy cameras. There's also an on-board electric scooter that uses the car's charging system and provides an even greener option for short city trips.
The body panels are designed to mimic the properties of a Thermos flask, using a layer of air sandwiched between two insulating panels to keep temperature fluctuations between the inside and out to a minimum. This is further boosted by the "always on" solar panels which are used to regulate temperature even when the car is parked, as well a heating system that cleverly targets key comfort zones like the face and hands (where a heated steering wheel is used) rather than a blanket approach to heating the entire cabin.
The efficient thinking also extends to the navigation system which leaves out the on-board computer in favor of a mobile phone which connects directly to the dashboard. The system is designed to locate the nearest car parks equipped with charging stations and it relates this information to the vehicle's remaining charge. The amount of charge left in the system is also shown on a linear display on the outside of the door so the driver knows the situation before getting on the car, and exterior logos also light-up when the approaching occupants are recognized.
Renault has also given thought to those outside the car, using polyurethane gel bumpers designed to to soak up minor knocks and protect pedestrians.
The Z.E. Concept is also constructed using very few fluids that need recycling at the end of its lifecycle.
Renault aims to bring these types of vehicle to market in 2011 as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced earlier this year.
Z.E. Concept in brief:
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