A few days ago, Renault announced it had finalized the production design of its first two electric vehicles and would start taking pre-reservations for the Kangoo Express Z.E. and Fluence Z.E. The Fluence is the bigger news since it will also be the vehicle that Renault provides for distribution in Israel by Better Place. Thus, it will be the first production electric vehicle with quick-swap battery capability.
The transformation from a conventionally powered family sedan to battery electric comes at a price though. The back end of the Fluence Z.E. has grown by five inches in length, which is not that big of a deal. Because the Fluence is a conversion rather than a dedicated EV design like the Nissan Leaf, it is not exactly weight optimized and the electric sedan weighs some 660 pounds more than the conventional model.
Part of this is likely due to the swappable battery and the body structure will probably need some extra reinforcement to support the battery. It will be very interesting to watch how successful the whole battery swap concept turns out in Israel, because right now almost no one else has bought into it.
[Source: Globes Online]