• Dec 19, 2012
Arnaud Montebourg, France's Minister of Industrial Recovery, was handed the keys to the first Renault Zoe electric car on December 17 by Carlos Tavares, Renault Group's chief operating officer. Renault calls the Zoe the "first broadly affordable full-electric car," and the EV qualifies for a 7,000-euro government incentive in France, bringing the price down to 13,700 euros (including VAT).

Montebourg is the first customer to take delivery of a Zoe before the widespread launch in the Renault network in the spring of 2013. In a press release (available below), Tavares said the delivery, was a "vital step in Renault's electric vehicle offensive." The way the French government has supported Renault is "a decisive advantage for making France a robust cornerstone of electric vehicle development and serves to reinforce Renault's position as a French champion on the international stage," Tavares said.

Frost & Sullivan's senior consultant Nicolas Meilhan might see Tavares' statement as being far from the truth. While Renault has placed itself at the forefront of producing EVs in Europe, it's one of the vehicle manufacturers with the worst performance in Europe, Meilhan said. Renault has invested about $5 billion in EVs, but the company is way off the mark, in Meilhan's perspective.

"A lot of people think the EV is the perfect car for the city. But the truth is it only addresses the local pollution issue; it neither addresses the congestion problems nor the parking issue most cities face today," Meilhan said in an interview.

Reducing vehicle weight is the best way to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption, especially in cities, he said. As an example, a gasoline-powered Twizy (if there were such a thing – there's only an electric version of the tiny car on the market) would weigh about 500 kilograms and would emit less CO2 than the Zoe, which weighs about 1,400 kg.

Meilhan would like to see a more far-reaching strategy embraced by European governments and automakers than EVs – like bicycling. "If you compare the same Renault Zoe (EV) with a bike, the easiest means of transport in the city, then you have to put more than 140 people into the car in order to make it as energy efficient as your 10 kg bike," he explained.

What's even more strange has been how long it's taken Renault to produce and deliver the Zoe to the market. Earlier this year, Renault said the Zoe would be on the market and selling more units in Europe by the end of the year than its electric cousin, the Nissan Leaf. Renault just delivered the first Zoe late in the year. If it's so "vital," what's took so long?
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"For More EVs on European Roads, OEMs Have to Significantly Reduce Conventional Car Weight, while Governments Put the Necessary Legislation in Place"

Frost & Sullivan's Senior Consultant Nicolas Meilhan on Renault and what he thinks can change the car market into an electric one

Paris, France – 17 December 2012 - According to the latest AID newsletter, Electric Vehicles (EVs) & Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) sales reached 20,558 units in Western Europe for the first 10 month of 2012. During the same period, the United States registered 38,000 units sold, half of it being Chevrolet's Volt. Worldwide not more than 100,000 electric vehicles are expected to be sold in 2012. While the penetration of sales in the U.S. stands at 0.6 per cent for 2012, it is even lower for Europe with 0.21 per cent

European Renault, though at the forefront of producing EVs in Europe, is one of the vehicle manufacturers with the worst performance in Europe.

Renault invested approx. $5 billion in the production of electric vehicles, which prevented them from investing in new models of conventional cars. Whether this strategy pays off and the Renault Zoé attracts much interest remains to be seen.

"The current EV market is a fleet market, a B2B market, not a B2C market," Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Nicolas Meilhan, said in an interview. "A lot of people think the EV is the perfect car for the city. But the truth is it only addresses the local pollution issue; it neither addresses the congestion problems nor the parking issue most cities face today."

According to Mr. Meilhan, it is all about weight. "If you really want to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption, especially in cities, then governments and local authorities should only allow cars with a maximum 500kg weight. A 500kg gasoline car – a gasoline Twizy for example (which does not exist) - emits less CO2 in its lifecycle than a the Renault Zoé EV weighing 1400kg."

"If you compare the same Renault Zoé (EV) with a bike, the easiest means of transport in the city, then you have to put more than 140 people into the car in order to make it as energy efficient as your 10kg bike" he explained.

50 years ago, the average weight of a French car was 758kg, 500kg lighter than today's average weight of 1266kg – car weight increased by as much as 10kg per year for the last 50 years. A car of approx. 500kg of weight is as big as the iconic little 2CV, for which production was stopped 20 years ago, but which could be the car of the future in cities. So in the opinion of Mr. Meilhan, weight reduction and the change of regulations and norms is the way forward in the quest to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Such light vehicles consuming 2L per 100km already exist. The Aixam or the Ligier are quadricycles with a consumption of 2.5L, which do the most important thing a car should do in a city: take the driver from A to B. You can almost park two quadricycles in one car park where one 5m length BMW 7 Series would fit. And finally, it reduces congestion as it is smaller.

The car of the future for cities is small and - above all, light. "First reduce the weight and the size of the car, then add a small battery (because for a small car, you can use a small battery), then you have the ultimate city car." Mr. Meilhan advised.

However for major European car OEMs to focus on the production of such light weight electric cars, the authorities have to put legislation in place to promote lightweight small vehicles. "The BMW's 7 Series weighs up to 2t just to carry 70kg. This is an energetic non-sense," said Mr. Meilhan.

The Kei-car in Japan on the other hand, is the car to look at with a 660cc engine and a maximum of 3.4m length. But the most important advantages of this vehicle are all related regulatory advantages, reduced taxes, reduced annual road taxes, reduced insurance etc, granted by the Japanese government. "If you really want to move towards such a car, you need to have a strong legislation on the weight of the car, and not only the CO2 emission".

If you want to develop a successful EV, you need to minimise battery size as well, as it is heavy and expensive." The major difference between an EV and a normal car is that for the EV the petrol station is in your house" so you can "fill the tank" everyday. "If you can 'fuel' your car every day at home, you do not need a big battery. 80 per cent of daily drips are less than 60km so there is not a single reason to put in a battery which has a larger autonomy than 60km. Of course you need to add a small range extender to cover 20 per cent of the daily trips where you drive longer distances."

The future of EVs depends on regulations from governments and the European Union, incentivising the consumer to buy them. The car of the future is a small city car, but not necessarily electric. Legislations for taxing weight size and engine power will help produce and sell such a car. Making parking even more expensive for regular cars will help. Other incentives for small cars, such as being allowed to drive in bus lines, as practiced in Norway, will certainly improve the business case for EV.

The financial subsidies introduced by the French government to support electric vehicle uptake, is a drop on a hot stone. Incentives are measured for up to 50,000 cars. But the total car market in France stood at 2 million vehicles. "Governments should consider to pass legislations increasing tax on ordinary cars based on their weight as well as make car parking more expensive – 200€ per month instead of 12€ per month for residential parking in Paris for example. That way you might have a chance to change the car market into an electric one, or at least one that emits less CO2 and consumes less energy, whether it is electric or not."

Nicolas Meilhan is a Paris based Senior Consultant at global Growth Partnership Company, Frost & Sullivan. If you would like to speak to him directly, please contact Katja Feick, Corporate Communications, katja.feick@frost.com.

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants.

Our "Growth Partnership" supports clients by addressing these opportunities and incorporating two key elements driving visionary innovation: The Integrated Value Proposition and The Partnership Infrastructure.


Renault presents the keys of the first ZOE to Arnaud Montebourg
December 17, 2012 | ID: 41751
  • Renault has presented the keys of the first ZOE to Arnaud Montebourg, French Minister of Industrial Recovery.
  • The first delivery of ZOE, the first broadly affordable full-electric car, comes ahead of further deliveries set for between now and the end of 2012 and mass launch in the Renault network in first-quarter 2013.
  • The delivery is fully in line with the French government's policy, as set out in the "Plan Automobile", of building a sector of clean and competitive vehicles. It also underscores the importance of introducing an extensive network of charging stations.
After ordering a vehicle at the Paris Motor Show in September 2012, Arnaud Montebourg, Minister of Industrial Recovery, was presented today with the keys to the first ZOE in the Cour d'Honneur of the Bercy Finance Ministry by Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer of the Renault group.

ZOE, the spearhead of Renault's Z.E. range, is the Group's first full-electric car. The widely affordable vehicle qualifies for a €7,000 government environmental bonus, bringing the starting price in France down to €13,700 (including VAT).

ZOE targets consumers and professionals alike. It is ideal for daily journeys and embodies Renault's excellence in electric technology. The mobility-enhancing model features the most advanced technology in terms of range, user friendliness (with the installation of a charging station at motorists' homes or workplaces) and connectivity. It is a key symbol of the Group's commitment to the electric revolution.

The Minister of Industrial Recovery is the first customer to take delivery of ZOE before mass launch in the Renault network in spring 2013.

Commenting, Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer of the Renault group, said: "The first ZOE delivery is a vital step in Renault's electric vehicle offensive, aimed at making zero-emission mobility affordable for the greatest number. The commitment of the government and Mr Montebourg, as confirmed today, is a decisive advantage for making France a robust cornerstone of electric vehicle development and serves to reinforce Renault's position as a French champion on the international stage."

The launch will be accompanied by the widespread development of public and private charging stations with the support of the taskforce headed by Philippe Hirtzman and tasked with stimulating and backing infrastructure projects in large urban agglomerations.

The initiative is ideally embodied in the installation by the Ministry of Industrial Recovery of charging stations at the Bercy Finance Ministry. The move is part of the "Plan Automobile" announced by the French government on July 25, 2012 and providing for the installation of charging stations at government ministries and the inclusion of electric vehicles in public fleets.

Key figures:

At end-October 2012, Renault had put 16,600 electric vehicles on the road in Europe.
At end-September 2012, Renault led the European electric PC + LCV market (excluding Twizy) with a 28.2% share.
Renault led the French EV market with sales of 4,566 units (including 1,999 Twizys) at end-October 2012.
Some 10,000 charging stations had been installed in Europe at end-2011. This figure has now risen to roughly 15,000 (up 50% on end-2011).
In France, the 2,000 to 3,000 Autolib stations are accessible to other EVs besides the Bluecars. Considerable efforts have been made in the Seine Aval area, in the Alsace, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Nord-Pas-de-Calais regions, and in cities such as Rennes, Rouen and Angoulême.


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  • 43 Comments
      ericmarseille
      • 2 Years Ago
      First I'd like to make a mea culpa : I declared on this site that the first Renault ZOE had been delivered to "Marsu Pilami", a French blogger, two months ago...Obviously it hadn't, although I still wonder what this Zoe did in his personal garage... Second : here in France, and if one isn't too obsessed with range anxiety (what an incredible obsession here, esp. knowing that even single Americans have several cars generally!) and has a personal garage, hence his own house, there's every reason to buy a Renault Zoe. - running costs lower than petrol and same as diesel - Good savings in maintenance - esp. for diesel - Perks (better parking at the hypermarket for instance, free charging at some places, etc.) - Pleasure to drive an electric - Novelty factor and ecology pride If I had the money to buy a new car and if my personal parking space was equipped with electricity (which, sadly, is not), I would buy it in a blink of an eye, and so would many tens of thousands of people. I still say that this car will sell around 20000 in 2013, 40000 in 2014, and nearly 100000 in 2015 (total sales, not France only)
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      "If you compare the same Renault Zoe (EV) with a bike, the easiest means of transport in the city, then you have to put more than 140 people into the car in order to make it as energy efficient as your 10 kg bike," Who'll accept the challenge, and do the math on this claim? Please?
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Cycling at moderate pace uses around 50 calories per mile: http://www.livestrong.com/article/135430-calories-burned-biking-one-mile/ That is around 60wh/mile http://www.onlineconversion.com/energy.htm The Nissan Leaf wall to wheels does around 3.4 miles/kwh, or 300wh/mile So the Zoe which is smaller and does more miles than the Leaf uses around 5 times the energy of a bicyclist. If a car is powered on the typical US grid mix then the total energy input to make the electricity is around 3 times as great, or 900Wh/mile. If it is running on nuclear that doesn't really make any difference as the cost of the fuel is trivial, it is the equipment that is expensive, and certainly for CO2 emissions the extra is negligible. If you are looking at the energy cost of producing the food to cycle a mile then it depends on what you eat, with much lower energy inputs to produce grains etc than meat, cheese etc: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/660S.long Assuming that you don't live solely on plant protein then the cost if going to be more than 2.2 times the calorie value of what you eat. I certainly am not going to work through more precise calculations to detail what is in any case the proposition of a nutter, as society is not going to go back to just riding bikes, but an average of 10 times the calorie value to have a mixed diet of plants and meat etc would put the energy cost of riding a bike at around 600Wh/mile There is embodied energy in the car, but so there is in the machinery to produce and process the food. An electric bike probably has about the lowest energy use, but as I said this is magazine in dentist's waiting room filler stuff, not of serious interest on energy issues. As I have also said, he is simply ignoring what is the source of most of the electricity which will power to Zoe, and whilst even thinking about nuclear may cause all your children to start glowing in the dark, or whatever is the latest the lunatics are claiming, it will not produce much CO2 at all.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        I don't have the details, but I can take a back-of-the-envelope cut at it. An eBike only has to move a single person, 200 pounds total, at speeds of up to 40 mph. Range is short and recharge is takes minutes, so it carries very little excess battery weight. A sub-1 hp motor is plenty sufficient for a 1-person eBike. A Zoe weighs 3000 lbs, or 15x, and is highway capable. It needs roughly 140x the motor power, so would need to carry 140x the people for the same in-city function. Note that this is a general car v bicycle issue. Modern bikes are super-efficient at what they do.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        How does the bicycle do in crash tests?
          Warren
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          It is all relative. Require commercial license for any vehicle over 2000 pounds! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8taP4ZxpCqU&feature=youtu.be
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      If Mr. Meilhan rides a bike there will be better room for our electric cars.
      Eideard
      • 2 Years Ago
      All my years in enviro issues I get bored to death with the 4th Estate - or is it the 5th Column - offering up the ivory tower analysis that gets lead coverage. Useless.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      The article is referring to a typical bicycle, not an E-Bike. Thanks for the reply, still.
      Electron
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ah, so a bike would be more energy efficient....I can see why they pay him the big bucks at Frost and Sullivan. Wonder why he is quoted raining on Renault's parade in the first place, saying things that are either wrong (CO2 emissions from nuclear power plants) or that a child could think of.
        ScubaChris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Electron
        Exactly. France has a lot of nuclear so where exactly are you pushing your CO2 emissions to? Perhaps the driver should stop exhaling so much ;o)
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ScubaChris
          And the bicyclist will breath heavy . . . maybe it will have higher CO2 emissions! ;-)
      karlInSanDiego
      • 2 Years Ago
      How do you vote a whole article down? This is redonkulous. According to Mr. Bill..ium Ford...ishnismford, working for the unknown consulting group Suk-it-GM, the Volt has a snout only a mother could love and 142% of all owners wish they'd purchase a Ford F150 instead. Their reasoning (collectively, yet strangely identical) was when asked if they could haul 1200 lbs of manure in the back of their Volt, they checked the box saying a Ford F-150 was more appropriate had they purchased one instead of their Volt. Nail in Coffin. Trying to gauge CO2 emissions used by a BEV is a fool's errand. And trying to say they're worse for any BEvehicle (save a plug in NASA-OV) than an equivalent gas or diesel powered one is obviously not taking the time to do the cradle to grave emissions required to procure, refine, and ship that fuel. Who paid Mr. Nicolas Meilhan for this "interview"?
      EV Now
      • 2 Years Ago
      ABG is taking EV bashing to an extreme. Renault delivers the first of their long awaited EV and they spend most of the space talking about some "analyst" bashing EVs in egeneral. Bravo, well done.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      On the topic of CdA, (claimed) CdAs (in SF) of real-world production vehicles: 3.95 = 1996 GM EV1 5.10 = 1999 Honda Insight (1st gen) 5.40 = 1989 Opel Calibra 5.84 = 2010 Toyota Prius III 6.00 = 1991 Subaru SVX 6.24 = 2000 Toyota Prius I 6.51 = 2010 Chevy Volt 6.52 = 2009 Toyota Corolla Getting back to the bikes, if one is on "aerobars", CdA is probably closer to 0.30, possibly 0.25 m2 = 2.70 to 3.22 square feet. Not one of the cars is anywhere close to that. GM holds the enviable distinction of producing the only a street legal mass-production automobile with a CdA of 4.0 sf or less. While, the Toyota numbers are likely low (due to Toyota tending to be rather "optimistic" in how they calculate Cd), they are nicely illustrative of how big the gap is. The SVX and esp. Calibra show just how good a well-done fastback sport coupe can be (and whisper quiet under 100 mph). The embiggening of cars, with their high rooflines, is hurting CdA more than the slicking. Point also, CdA only matters much at highway speeds (or faster). Bikes generally don't go that fast, typically well under 35 mph on the flats and 45 mph descending. At the speeds at which they typically travel (10-20 mph), the efficiency is incredible, and aerodynamic drag can be almost entirely discarded. But getting something carlike down to bikelike drag? Not in the foreseeable future.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      To counter the negative slant of this article, here is how I see electrification and automation changing our cities: I think automation will combine with the mobile phone and electrification of transport to change the paradigm of personal ownership of vehicles. Cars are only used a fraction of the time, and cost a lot of money for that occasional use, as well as taking up huge areas of land and making walkable neighbourhoods difficult. We already have the technology to make door to door on demand public transport possible: http://www.taxibus.org.uk/ 'Journeying by taxibus is delightfully easy. Prospective passengers request a taxibus ride simply by submitting their current location and desired destination addresses to the IGT computer system, typically using an ordinary cellular telephone. Regularly-used addresses would be pre-programmed on the passenger's phone, so this address submission is very straightforward. As soon as a taxibus journey is requested in this way, the IGT computer system searches its database for a nearby taxibus vehicle whose current itinerary is compatible with the passenger's submitted itinerary. Once a suitable taxibus is found, it is immediately diverted to pick up and convey the new passenger. New passengers are collected extremely quickly, generally within three minutes of submitting their journey request. Such rapid pick-up is feasible because IGT operates with a large fleet of taxibus vehicles spread across the city, continually travelling the road networks, constantly conveying passengers. A new passenger is allocated to a nearby taxibus vehicle already on the roads carrying commuters, this vehicle's itinerary being modified on-the-fly to incorporate the new passenger.' The major cost of public transport is wages for the driver. That goes away with automation, and the fleet can have all sorts of sizes of vehicles so that during rush hour big buses are connected to on the major routes so optimising use of road space. Automated car parks could hold the vehicles not in use, and they could be much more compact than current car parks as there would be no need to provide access for people or their head height, so they would be stacked really tightly. Welcome back our city streets! Hello e-bikes and pedestrians! Goodbye lethal traffic fumes! Goodbye almost all road deaths!
      Warren
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looking back at the Geo Metro based Solectria Force, from the 1990's, the only real difference is the lithium batteries. And the Solectria Sunrise prototype was better than anything yet offered by the majors. http://www.evalbum.com/655
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Warren
        The laws of physics are not changing.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, this is the vehicle that will really test market acceptability for small, urban EV's. Although I am very pessimistic at the prospect of mass sales of low range EV's, I still wish Renault well, and hope that ZOE is a success. Jon LeSage always seems to work a little poison into each article. Who the hell cares what some utterly irrelevant pundit pontificates about bicycles ? The Zoe is a car ! (The giveaway being 4 wheels and 4 seats!) Zoe's not a sedan-chair, bicycle, skateboard, canoe, etc ! Zoe is another small car, but fueled by electricity. The argument that a set of circumstance could manufactured whereby an EV could be less environmentally friendly than an ICE, is just plain silly ! Even if the concept had any validity, it still doesn't answer the problem of oil depletion. Zoe can take 4 people 120 miles, in less than two hours. This is a feat so far beyond the capacity of any bicycle, as to render any comparison calculations completely irrelevant ! If you want to ride a bike in the city, that's your prerogative. Most people don't (or can't). Cycling in many cities (such as Amsterdam) is quite a pleasant experience, but in many others, the experience is dirty, dangerous and exhausting. Cyclists can also be a dangerous hazard for pedestrians, with the number of injuries (or even fatalities) to pedestrians from errant cyclists rising dramatically in recent years. (cyclists usually are uninsured). Zoe, is a "make it, or break it vehicle" for Carlos Ghosn's huge investment in EV technology. Zoe must not only succeed in it's home market, but became an established export asset. If Zoe fails, it will be because the general public not not see sufficient convenience in short range EV's, it won't be because they prefer the bicycle ! Jon LeSage does no one any favours by publicizing the irrelevant pontifications of jerks like Nicolas Meilhan.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        I agree that the Zoe is the make or break battery electric car. I am not optimistic, but am witholding judgement. We will know by the summer where we stand. Of course the super little Smart ED is still around, but that is a niche vehicle. The VW E-Up is also to come around then, and VW are unlikely to have made a cock of the battery durability as Nissan/Renault have done, but VW are explicit that they see battery electric cars as a niche product and will probably price to suit, although one lives in hope.
        Warren
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Marcopolo, "Zoe can take 4 people 120 miles, in less than two hours." Are you really saying that the Zoe will only use 156 Wh/mile, with four aboard, at better than 60 mph? Or are you planning a fast charge in there too?
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Warren
          @ Warren I'm not saying it, I'm simply quoting from the Renault website. "210 km (130 mi) (NEDC), with a maximum speed of 84 mph " ! Now, I'm not one to split hairs, so I'll tell you what , let's be really generous and ask the average person how far he can cycle with with his wife and kids in tow? Or how about a young wife shopping t the mall with her mum, and 2 children ? Or one elderly pensioner and his wife off to visit the grandchildren, or 3 three intoxicated young ladies and a designated driver going home after a nights clubbing (with Ezee asleep in the hatch) ? Even a worried young mother taking two children and a favorite pet to the vet in an emergency ? ........or any of the thousand and one things that cars do, and bikes don't ! That's the point. A contest between a car and a bike is absurd ! (Unless you construct a specific scenario to favour a bike)
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