• Mar 9th 2011 at 5:03PM
  • 34
Renault Zoe concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Scheduled to hit the market in the second half of 2012, the four-door electric Renault Zoe will reportedly be one of the first mass-produced, battery-swap capable vehicles. Despite arguments against the battery swapping setup, Renault will apparently stick to its guns and equip the Zoe with this technology. Hey, it got to keep the name.

The striking four-door concept, which Renault claims is a 90-percent accurate representation of the production model, measures 161 inches long, 70.4 inches wide and 60.6 inches high. The Zoe's price tag, which is expected to be approximately 15,000 euros ($20,717 U.S. at the current exchange rate), will not include the cost of leasing the battery pack. However, at an estimated $100 per month, the lease rate for the battery seems rather reasonable.

Powered by a 80-horsepower (60 kW) electric motor that puts out a healthy 164 pound-feet of torque, the Zoe hits 60 miles per hour in eight seconds and can ramble on down the streets for up to 99 miles on a full charge. The Zoe's quick-charge feature means that ten minutes of plugged-in time nets 37 miles of additional range and its battery-swap capability will allow it to be back on the road and ready to go in under three minutes.

  • Renault Zoe preview concept

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Leasing is more expensive than owning over the long term. The battery costs, including spare packs for swapping, and swap station costs, all have to be paid for, and they won't be paid for by BP, it will be the consumer. BP also wants to make a profit, which the consumer also gets to pay for.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You can't extrapolate Better Place's prices in Denmark to elsewhere. For a start electricity costs $0.45kwh and BP include that in the price.
        BP's price will be higher than just leasing the battery, obviously, but how much higher for most countries we simply don't know.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, apologies. My memory was at fault and I should have said Denmark, not Norway.
        I can't really see much to grumble about in a car which will sell for about the price of it's diesel equivalent plus battery lease.
        Making it Better Place compatible just means that the engineers have had to be careful in their battery positioning, and must make the connectors robust enough to stand repeated connections/disconnections.
        You also pay for a fast charge connector in the interests of compatibility although most may rarely use it.
        If you opt for the cheaper Renault alternative then at the end of the 3 years if you think that you would make use of the Better Place swap facilities you can just lease them instead, which would cost more as you are paying for the swapping stations and so on.
        It seems to me an extra convenience, not a problem since the battery prices from Renault are so reasonable.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't believe the $100/month includes enrolment in the Better Place scheme, which would be substantially more expensive judging by it's price in Norway.

        $100/month covers you for up to 10,000 miles pa., which I reckon is pretty reasonable.
        Over 8 years that would be $9,600, which has to be pretty much like the present battery cost. The lease will only be for 3 years though, so you can upgrade as better batteries become available.
        I don't think leasees will miss out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Fast charge vs Battery swap. I don´t know what will win.

        I think the problem of "fast" charge is that is not fast. In the future, 2020, cars like Leaf and Zoe will probably have batteries of 40 kwh to do 150-200 miles with clima and with highway speeds. If your travel is 300 miles, you will stop and charge. And to charge 40 kwh in 5 minutes you need a power of 480 kw. (imagine the cable section). And if there are 5 cars at the same time... ¡¡the station will need a power of 3 MW!!
        Battery swap has the problem of cost and the standaritation, buy with years it will be amortized and batteries will be smaller and similar.
        • 4 Years Ago
        if you travel 300 miles (450+km) - i'd say you should stop atleast once, for atleast 30 minutes, for food and fresh air => 40kWh in 30 minutes means 'only' 80kW, still alot though...
        • 4 Years Ago
        The usual bad writing from ABG. There are only three battery-swap cars planned for production and only Renault makes the two vehicles compatible with Better Place, this and the Fluence Z.E.; the Tesla Model S battery swap at the Tesla store is nothing to do with BP. It would be strange if Renault's second car using the same 22 kW·h battery pack wasn't compatible, and note Twizy and Kangoo Express Z.E. don't use BP battery swap. BP announced collaboration with China's Chery, but no EV car yet.

        If Zoé Z.E. battery cost matches the Kangoo, then BP does indeed look expensive. €72 a month for 16,000 km a year plus you have to buy electricity, which at .15 kW·h/km would be 200 kW·h a month, which is about €20 - €50 a month at European prices ( http://www.energy.eu/ ). For the same battery BP charges €199 to €249 a month for 20,000 km in Denmark (plus mandatory €1341 for a home charger) . To me it makes no sense to buy into BP until they build working battery swap along the routes you want to travel. As and if BP builds out its swap stations in Denmark, the competition with 30 minute DC fast charge will be interesting!
        • 4 Years Ago
        How do you get into the swap network if you aren't enrolled in the BP scheme?
        • 4 Years Ago
        BP is only in Denmark and the lease are $250-$500. In France, Italy, Germany, Spain, etc we will not have these station (maybe in 5 years), so lease are $100.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In Zoe, extra cost for the engineering to have swap battery is very low. View Renault Clio prices and Renault Zoe probably prices.

        In Renault people are not stupid.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So you're paying extra for the engineering to have a swappable pack without being able to swap the pack. Great concept.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Assuming a battery costs X amount to put in a vehicle, and electricity costs Y amount wherever you are, over time BP's system has to cost more because they are not going to graciously eat any costs, plus they have to add their business expenses and profit on top of all that, which we can call Z. X+Y+Z > X+Y
        I agree that during a 200+ mile trip stopping for 15-30 minutes is common, and a good idea.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Renault sticking with battery swap tech for electric Zoe"
      - Hallelujah ! !
      • 4 Years Ago
      Renaults EV pricing is quite interesting. Their cars aren't that much more expensive than an fuel powered car, but you pay a monthly lease for the battery. With other EVs you have to pay 10.000€ für the battery - a number, which never pays back compared to this 80€ a month. With rising gas prices these cars could be even a cheap way to drive in the end.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you did what most people call buying on car and financed the battery as well as the car, then at 5% you are paying 1,000 Euros/year or so, which is pretty much what you pay for the lease.
        The lease is a great option in my view,
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, "normal" EVs are around 30.000€ here.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Are you sure you are calculating the Euro10,000 correctly? If so Renault are actually losing money on batteries. now that cannot be sustainable.

        @ Ben

        What makes you so excited about the prospect of battery swapping? Do you want to be tied to one supplier of power? Do you want you resale value tied to one company alone? What happens when Better Place finally runs out of investors and you are left with an unsalable vehicle?

        How is it that the Leaf is not included in Renault/Better Place plans? Same Company alliance?
      • 3 Years Ago
      It was revealed today without the possibility of battery swap.
      • 4 Years Ago
      $100 x 120 months ( 10 years ) = $12,000.

      But in approx. 10 years, you throw the battery away with a Nissan Leaf. Who knows what a replacement battery will cost in 10 years..

      By leasing, you can get ahead.. unless battery prices continue to drop.. hm.. it is an interesting bet.

      I think a $20k electric car would take off here since we in America tend to forget about the true cost of things. If the energy cost is 1/3rd of that of fuel, and you do a lot of driving you could ultimately benefit from this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You said that it is a pity that I have not visited Australia. How could you possibly know whether I have or have not visited there?
        The rest of your commentary is on a par with this kind of ill-informed assumption.
        I am sorry that you find comprehension so difficult, but I am afraid that I do not have infinite amounts of time to try to get you up to speed.
        Since you also display a want of manners, what your opinion is is of no interest to me, and in future will simply file any comments you make under the 'loony' heading.
        I do hope that your relationship with yourself eventually works out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm putting the depreciation costs on the battery, or rather Renault is, at 10 cents/mile.
        The electricity works out at 3 cents/mile.
        If you trade in a car for $5k, and depreciate the remainder over a 5 year finance, then we can safely assume that the electric car would still be worth more than $5k, in fact considerably more, but no matter.
        So the payback costs $3000 pa without interest, or maybe around $5,000 pa or $400/month or so with interest added.
        For comparable US costs you would have to take off the c.20% VAT. I don't know what charges have to be added in the US.
        At 10,000 miles/year that is around 50 cents/mile without allowing for the absence of VAT.
        So that is about 65 cents/mile for the first 5 years.
        This is comparable to a petrol car. I am not going to take account of reduced maintenance as I will try to estimate that by comparing depreciation, using that as a proxy for maintenance.
        So if we assume that the electric car is still worth $5k after 20 years, but by the time you have finished the 5 year payment the petrol car is worth the $5k and then you replace the petrol car with a new one and begin the process again then you have 15 years or 150,000 miles at zero for the purpose of depreciation cost on the electric relative to running a petrol car.
        Maintenance costs on the petrol car are assumed to remain minimal as you are changing it before it becomes too much of a problem, and also on the electric car as they last so long.
        So over the 20 years your cost for the electric car compared to the petrol one without allowing for any increase in petrol price over the period is about a quarter of that of the petrol car.
        I've allowed $25000 for the purchase of the EV plus interest and $30,000 for electricity and batteries over the 20 years without allowing for any decrease in battery costs.
        For the petrol car and it's 3 replacements you would pay $100,000 plus around $30,000 for fuel.

        So with very unfavourable assumptions for the electric vehicle you might be talking about 40% or so as much as for the petrol car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good points, David.
        Sounds like someone needs to make a cost calculation thingy for this.
        Depreciation of the electric drivetrain is going to be extremely low to none. And what you save in maintenance and smog checks can be credited towards the cost of the battery.

        I really hope we get the Zoe. Nissan would be stupid to not sell it to us.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The real saver on pure electric cars although not on hybrids is on depreciation and not fuel.
        You haven't got most of the bits that go wrong on conventional cars, and of course on hybrids as they still have a full combustion engine and things like exhaust systems as well as the electric bits.
        You do though have to take account of the depreciation of the battery as an offset against petrol costs.
        As Renault in Europe offer to lease batteries for around $100/month to cover 10,000 miles/year that is $1200/year plus the electric which at 10cents/kwh is about $300.
        The petrol at $4/gallon and 30mpg, reasonable for the urban use electric cars compete in, would set you back $1332, so the petrol car works out fractionally cheaper, or perhaps in reality a wash.
        However on the Renaults the first service is at 40,000 miles to check the brake pads, which are likely to last around 3 times as long as on a car without regenerative braking.
        Peugeot for instance offers a maintenance contract on their electric cars at a 30% discount on the equivalent petrol model, and they may be making lots of bucks on that as Smith Electric reckon that maintenance is down 80% on diesel vans.

        The electric motors last virtually forever, and even the LED lights they use for low energy consumption similarly.
        You basically have a car which will last until the body falls apart or you crash it without maintenance going through the roof as it does on a conventional car or a hybrid.

        It's perfectly reasonable to depreciate a car over many years when it is all electric, battery excepted, and that is already accounted for against petrol.

        A 3 year lease on a battery when it's replacement is likely to be much better, and the basic vehicle is likely to depreciate very slowly and last over 20 years strikes me as the best of all worlds.

        Hire of the battery pack for $3600 for the 3 years when that will actually save me the interest on financing the whole cost of the battery pack, and which will be paid for in petrol savings is a bit of a bargain.

        If I depreciate the car over 20 years $1,000 a year on the actual car is pretty good too.

        Keep your fingers crossed you get the Zoe, perhaps even the Gordini version, in the US rebranded as a Nissan!
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ David Martin

        Thank you for your reply, I apologise for the tardiness of my reply, but these posts can get a bit confusing when replying to replies!

        A) Firstly, you assume that your trade-in $5000 is not a factor in the price of your EV. In fact it is. You didn't pay $15,000, you paid $20,000. (Actually you quoted $25,000 as your purchase price, but never mind, maybe Renault gave you a discount!)

        The interest must be calculated on the total price. If you had not traded but sold the trade vehicle, the invested money would have earned interest. But, I agree it's pretty immaterial. Although the interest on an EV may be higher depending on lending criteria. One thing is for sure, only Renault will give you finance on a vehicle when the batteries are leased.

        The price of an EV is the total retail price. Leasing the battery, will not be such a great deal as battery prices start dropping. Nor is Renault going to lose money on every battery indefinitely.

        If you calculate correctly, you must take into consideration the 30-40% price difference between ICE and EV. As other forum participants have pointed out, this is the correct pricing. You also switch between 5 years and 20 years bewilderingly.

        Depending on the country, a five year old small popular hatchback will not depreciate by nearly 80%! But an EV may well do so. No second hand EV market has been established.

        You state " You are arguing that people trade in as a matter of fashion, I would argue that the fashion became so because of the rapidly declining reliability and increased maintenance costs of a petrol car."

        Well that's just plain silly, if that were so, there would be no used car market! Most new car buyers buy new models out of desire, not necessity. As I said, maybe not you, but the majority just get sick of driving the same car for 6 years! In most industrialised nations fleet buyers receive depreciation allowances encouraging replacement in three to five years. EV will be sold by the same car manufacturers as ICE, every three to five years they will release a 'new model', or the sales of cars would slow down dramatically!

        B) Your reply doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Interest rate are really immaterial to the equation, unless you can show me that an EV attracts lower finance rates? My point was that your EV pricing is unrealistic. (although I concede that the 'concept' plan in the article mention $25000 figure without batteries). Who Know what Renault will offer in 2012

        C) You miss out lots of stuff, in your calculation. An EV is only different in very few areas to an ICE mechanically, but far more complex electronically. All of the components age. Why are the seats, head cover lining, interior superior to an ICE? Why is the suspension different? Cables, leads etc all deteriorate. Too many assumptions, too little facts.

        D) Whaaat? I'm not sure what you mean, but it doesn't answer my questions. Why will EV owners buy EV's on a totally different basis to ICE cars, or any other consumer product? The answer is they won't! Any depreciation difference would be ignored.

        E) So what, we all know petrol over 20 years will increase dramatically. But there you go again, switching from 5 years to 20 years to bolster your theory.

        G) (sorry, F couldn't wait twenty years!) Most of what you write in G is perfectly correct, but irrelevant. Your proposition, was(as I understood it)that current model "EV's (Renault in particular) have a uniquely low depreciation factor as opposed to ICE vehicles. As a result are more economic.

        I reply; You are in error due to your lack of understanding that there is no basic difference in the marketing of all cars, EV or ICE. The factors governing depreciation have very little to do with longevity of the vehicle. The economic model you suggest has many flaws. Including the concept that the average motorist wants to keep his vehicle twenty years.

        I agree some, very few, may do just that and your model may have some merit as the early EV may become classics!

        Smiths, vehicles are not a good example, as although they are excellent vehicles, (I own several) they are specialist built industrial vehicles, with very different dynamics. You might as well cite Dunn& Taylor!

        No one disputes the potential for rapid developments in EV's. But again, that was not the context of your original proposition.

        One thing we both agree on is that anyone who purchases an EV, will be in for years of enjoyment.

        David it's a pity, you haven't visited Australia. Australians and NZ'ers, have had the opportunity to purchase a four door EV, similar to the Zoe (which is still only a concept ) for the last 5 years. In fact the new Blade Runner , looks a lot like the Zoe.

        So Australia is probably the
        • 4 Years Ago
        @David Martin,

        Sorry, I may have misquoted you. When you say $25000 plus interest, do you mean the interest is included in the $25,000. Or is $25,000 the price of the EV. If so, it's really immaterial, unless you think that EV's should attract a lower or subsidised interest rate.

        I think that at the very least, EV 's shouldn't pay whatever tax applies on finance contracts.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have necessarily made some simplifying assumptions in a complex calculation, but do not feel that they materially affect the result.
        To answer your points in detail:
        A) I did not actually depreciate the electric vehicle over 20 years, but over the 5 years I allow to pay it off, and assumed a $5k trade in on the old one and a residual value in the EV of the same $5k, hence my interest on $15k not $20k
        This is exactly the same as I treated the petrol vehicle, which seems fair.
        I then however assumed (simplified) that the EV would retain exactly the same $5k value at 20 years. Obviously the cost depreciation curves would be different to that, but the end result after 20 years should be the same.
        I did this on the grounds that depreciation is a function of reliability and maintenance costs, as trade in values depend a lot on how a car is perceived in those respects.
        Of course there is less variance simply amongst petrol cars than between them and EV's.
        The maintenance on an EV after 20 years should be no greater than on a petrol car after 5 years.

        You are arguing that people trade in as a matter of fashion, I would argue that the fashion became so because of the rapidly declining reliability and increased maintenance costs of a petrol car.
        Of course if you do choose to trade in your car before the 20 years you will not get the same benefits as if you hung onto it, but you should get some due to lower depreciation and the rest of the benefits will have been simply passed on to the buyer of the second hand vehicle and will accrue anyway, just to someone else.

        B) As I said under A) above, since I also wished to allow something for interest, I allowed $5k for residuals in purchase and eventual sale for both the petrol and the electric car, so the cost of the car is $20k less the $5k deposit and residual.
        However this is the price in Europe with around 20% VAT, so for the States arguably I should have used $16k less $5k, so $11k, but I am not familiar enough with US prices and taxes to use that.

        C) Depreciation of the battery pack is already accounted for in the figures I used.
        Running costs for the EV such as tyres etc should be the same as for the petrol car, or for some things such as brake pads significantly less due to regen braking.
        So I simply assumed that they are about the same, and don't have good figures anyway so ignored them in the calculations as I did insurance etc.

        D) See A) above. The benefit of the car lasting ages with little maintenance will happen anyway. I people want to change as a fashion statement it just means that someone else will get some of the benefit, although for whatever time they keep the car depreciation on an EV should be low ex-battery.

        E) I also assumed that petrol prices would not rise more than CPI over 20 years, which is a pretty heroic assumption, and far more favourable to the petrol car than assuming constant electric prices for the EV! If you check out the history of the price of electricity vs petrol you will find that the latter has increased far more.

        G) (What happened to F? :-) ) Since in the US around 2/3rds of families own more than one car, and the number in the new-car buying demographic will be significantly higher, then the cost of having a second vehicle for long trips or hiring one is hardly going to have much effect.
        The range of electric vehicles is also going to rise in the future even without radical change such as lithium air batteries.
        If you repeated make long distance journeys and don't own a second car, then an electric vehicle would be a poor choice.
        I believe I qualified my remarks by saying: 'in the urban commutes for which the electric vehicle is currently competitive' when estimating mileage for the petrol vehicle.
        No one car is going to suit everyone, electric or otherwise.

        I would differ from your concluding remarks that I have made assumptions which are unduly favourable to electric vehicles.
        I assumed:
        1) No improvement in battery costs or technology.
        2) No increase in petrol price greater than the rate of increase of electricity prices.

        These seem to me to be heroically favourable assumptions in favour of the petrol car, not the electric.
        The only 'assumption' that I have made is on the life expectancy and hence depreciation of the electric vehicle.
        This is based on the experience of Smith Electric, which has been building and maintaining electric vehicles since the 1920's, and state that they last until the body falls apart as maintenance costs on the rest never rise enough to justify scrapping them before.

        The only other favourable assumption that I can see is that in areas where roads are heavily salted the body may deteriorate faster than I have allowed.
        Bodies are becoming increasingly robust though and incr
        • 4 Years Ago
        Better Place and the whole concept of battery swapping is logistically illogical and based on a very defective business model.

        I can support this assertion, not with my own words by that of Shai Aggasssi's leading acolytes, when interviewed before the ASAE. The interview is too long to print here, but I can do so if anyone is interested.

        The analysis of by David Martin of the economic merits of EV's is very detailed and descriptive.

        However, it makes a number of assumptions to arrive at it's conclusion. Some of these assumptions are in the 'only time will tell category' and who knows whether they prove to be accurate. In time David may be proved right.

        But some assumptions can be tested . For instance,:

        A) David uses a 20 year ownership model ! Now David may keep his car for twenty years, but the average motorist changes cars every 3-4 (business) 5-6 years (private). Obviously this depends on the country of residence.

        B) David assumes that his EV will cost $25000 plus interest! Even on a 5 year HP or chattel mortgage loan this would make the cost of a new EV around $15000! Which EV retails at that price?

        C) David says that his EV will still be totally without depreciation after years because it doesn't age. Why? He also argues that EV need no worn parts replacing. This is not the experience of EV owners. An EV is exactly the same as an ICE, except for the drive train! The rest of the car will age, tyres, suspension, etc..An ICE model can replace it's engine more cheaply than a battery pack. I have a 1966 Mark 11 Jaguar, still going strong!

        D) David assumes that motor vehicle depreciation is due solely to the technical ageing of the vehicle. This is untrue, mostly it's a matter of style and fashion. Why will EV's be different? Or rather why will owners be different.

        E) David assumes that electricity rates will only rise proportionately with CPI.

        G) David assumes that the EV owner will never drive more than a commuter distance,(certainly not in a $15,000 EV!), maybe in the UK, but if not, the EV owner must own a second ICE for long or heavy load trips. David doesn't factor in that cost.

        I could continue, but there is little point. Davids analysis is calculated to produced the result he wants, and that's quite fair. However, as a general analysis for EV purchasing by Joe Public, it's unrealistic.

        That's not to say that David's assessment of the economic virtues of EV's are altogether wrong, just very biased and wildly optimistic!

        Still it's good to see David optimistic!

      • 4 Years Ago
      Zoe in 2012 will have a range of more than 120 miles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't like this leasing the battery thing. Shouldn't I be able to buy my whole car, then swap a fully charged battery, and only pay for the charge on it? Makes sense to me. And, if the battery is swappable, should I be able to install a larger capacity battery when they are available? Seems to me, Renault just want to keep sucking money out of their customers for ever.
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