Renault is planning to release its first production electric vehicles in early 2011, but drivers around Europe will soon get a chance to try out electric "motoring" with the be bop Z.E. Renault showed off a concept electric version of the Kangoo be bop last fall at the Paris Motor Show. The green glass and some of the other concept-only bits have now been discarded for a more conventional running prototype. Come 2011, production electric versions of the Kangoo and the Megane will go on sale in Europe and Israel (as part of the Better Place program). Renault is also planning an electric city car and a variant of Nissan's dedicated EV for 2012.
The Be Bop ZE uses a 60 hp electric motor and a 15 kWh lithium ion battery pack that currently provides a 60-mile range. The range is expected to be increased to 100 miles when the production version arrives. Prototypes of the production version should be available for test drives in mid-2010. The current prototypes don't feature swappable batteries, but Renault will offer that option, at least in the Megane for the Israeli market. The Renault press release is after the jump.
June 29, 2009
RENAULT'S KANGOO BE BOP Z.E. ELECTRIC VEHICLE DEMONSTRATOR TO BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR TEST DRIVES
• In a world first, Renault is to make its Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. prototype electric vehicle
available for test drives. The technology seen on this car is very similar to that which will feature
on the brand's upcoming production vehicles currently under development.
• The mass-marketing of affordable Renault electric vehicles is poised to begin in 2011.
• The Renault-Nissan Alliance is targeting to become the leading manufacturer of mass-market
The Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. prototype is powered by a 44kW (60hp) electric motor and is equipped with a 15kWh battery. With 18 months remaining before the release of Renault's forthcoming production electric vehicles, Kangoo be bop Z.E. provides a range of approximately 100km. By the time of their launch, Renault's electric vehicles will have benefited from an evolution to their battery technology which will take their real-world range to 160km.
Optimizing the range of electric vehicles is a key parameter, which is why Renault is taking all the necessary steps to make this aspect of electric vehicle use as simple and efficient as possible.
For many motorists, driving an electric vehicle will be a new experience. The absence of noise from the motor, the immediate availability of peak torque and the linear acceleration curve mean that drivers will need to develop new habits. This has led Renault to give motorists an opportunity to the sample Kangoo be bop Z.E. which previews the brand's forthcoming technology.
As a volume car manufacturer and leader in the field of safety, Renault is also doing everything in its power to produce electric vehicles which meet the same exacting standards as the brand's current internal-combustion-engined vehicles.
The aim is to produce electric vehicles which boast exactly the same advantages delivered by Renault's current line-up, namely comfort, cabin space and safety. Electric vehicles are models in their own right.
Electric vehicles are a perfect fit for Renault's eco² environmental stance which seeks to mass market products that have a minimal ecological footprint across their full lifecycle.
Electric vehicles represent a breakaway solution which permits sustainable mobility for all. In compliance with Renault's environmental stance as expressed by its Renault eco² hallmark, mass- marketed electric vehicles are seen as a means to achieve substantial environmental savings.
THE ALLIANCE'S ELECTRIC VEHICLE STRATEGY 4
The Alliance's commitment to electric vehicles 4
Synergies within the Alliance 6
Renault's product plan 7
The different phases of the launch of Renault's electric vehicle range 8
RENAULT KANGOO BE BOP Z.E. 9
Specific, functional styling 9
An all-electric motor 9
Latest-generation lithium-ion battery 11
Charging methods 12
Driving an electric vehicle: new habits 13
Safety: a core priority 14
Technical data 15
THE ALLIANCE'S ELECTRIC VEHICLE STRATEGY
A commitment to electric vehicles
The Renault-Nissan Alliance intends to mass market zero-emission vehicles.
This commitment is founded on the underlying principle that electric vehicles – unlike all other technologies
(internal-combustion engines, hybrids) – are zero-emission vehicles during their use on the road.
Depending on how the electricity they use is produced in the different countries where they are driven,
their well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions (equivalent carbon dioxide) can vary significantly. That said,
electric vehicles generally tend to emit less greenhouse gases than equivalent internal-combustion-
engined vehicles, as illustrated in the graph below which compares the well-to-wheel emissions of internal-
combustion-engined and electric vehicles over a standard NEDC European homologation cycle:
In the case of nuclear electricity, or electricity produced from a renewable source (hydro-electric, wind-
generated, photovoltaic electricity), the well-to-wheel performance of an electric vehicle is undoubtedly
superior. Even based on the techniques currently employed to produce electricity in Europe, the CO2
emissions of an electric vehicle are half those of an internal-combustion-engined vehicle.
* CCS = CO2 capture and sequestration
* IGCC = Integrated gasification on a combined cycle
Source: efficiency calculations of fuel and electricity production processes using the methodology
employed by Well-To-Wheels Analysis of Future Automotive Fuels And Powertrains In the European
Context (JRC-EUCAR-CONCAWE), 2006.
Mégane 1.5 dCi 85hp
Mégane 1.6 115hp
Mégane 1.6 115hp
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
Coal-fired power station
Nuclear power station
production across Europe
CO2 emissions (g/km) Well to wheel
Tank to wheel
The carbon footprint is even more favourable in the case of a vehicle which is charged at night. This is the
most commonly employed method and enables motorists to:
- use electricity produced during the night at off-peak times which would otherwise be wasted since
electricity cannot be stored,
- achieve real savings thanks to the off-peak rates introduced by energy providers. In France, for
example, EDF's off-peak electricity is up to 40 per cent cheaper than peak rates.
- use the cleanest electricity production method (hydraulic, nuclear, wind-generated) when thermal
power stations are on stand-by.
Electric vehicles represent a breakaway solution which permits sustainable mobility for all. In compliance
with Renault's environmental stance as expressed by its Renault eco² hallmark, mass-marketed electric
vehicles are seen as a means to achieve substantial environmental savings.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) in the 2008 edition of the annual World Energy Outlook claimed
that the worldwide demand for energy is likely to increase by 1.6 per cent per year on average between
2006 and 2030 if no new policy is implemented; a figure which would represent a global increase of 45 per
cent over the period. This would lead to the same increase in CO2 emissions if the energies employed
continue to be principally oil or coal based.
The report also reviews policy options for tackling climate change after 2012, when a new global
agreement – to be negotiated at the UN Conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year – is introduced.
Renault and Nissan rank among the leading carmakers in terms of their commitment to achieving
significant results regarding the cutting of carbon dioxide emissions. Since the implementation of this
ongoing effort several years ago, Renault emerged once again as one of the three most efficient European
carmakers in terms of CO2 emissions in 2008.
- 60 per cent of vehicles sold by the group (Renault and Dacia) in Europe in 2008 emit less than
140g of CO2/km (compared with 48 per cent in 2007).
- 20 per cent of vehicles sold by the group in Europe today emit less than 120g of CO2/km.
Meanwhile, when Renault unveiled its strategy in January 2008, it announced that it would mass-market
electric vehicles by 2011.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance is set to market a comprehensive range of high quality, reliable and
innovative electric vehicles at affordable prices. Electric vehicles, which are particularly quiet and which
emit zero-emissions during their use on the road, represent an affordable, breakaway environmental
Synergies within the Alliance
The Alliance is actively forging associations with governments, city authorities and energy companies with
a view to promoting the widespread use of electric vehicles across the world. The Alliance has already
signed 26 such partnerships (up to the end of May 2009).
In May 2009, 10 years after the establishment of the Alliance, Renault and Nissan announced that their
cooperation is to be stepped up. A small, bespoke team has been introduced with the mission to speed up
and extend the synergies that are expected to enhance the performance of the two companies, and more
particularly in the field of electric vehicles.
The electric vehicles produced by Renault and Nissan, for example, will be equipped with jointly-developed
batteries. The Alliance is pooling its expertise with a view to achieving synergies at all levels and to enable
key electric assemblies, such as the drive train, to be shared. Renault and Nissan are also merging their
purchasing activities and pursuing the standardisation of components in order to obtain the economies of
scale required to permit the development of mass-market electric vehicles.
Although Renault and Nissan are seeking to share components, they are developing distinct line-ups of
electric vehicles, with each line-up to be marketed and distributed separately.
Renault's product plan
In 2011, Renault will begin by introducing two electric derivatives of vehicles which have until now been
powered by an internal combustion engine. The first will be a family saloon and will go on sale in Israel and
in Europe. The second, also scheduled for release in 2011, will be an electric version of Renault Kangoo
Express which will above all target professionals and fleet operators.
The electric vehicle line-up will then expand into other segments, with two new cars featuring specific,
particularly innovative styling and architecture engineered to house an electric motor. This vehicle, too, is
planned to be introduced in 2011, while a fourth model is due to come to market at the beginning of 2012.
The different phases of the launch of Renault's electric vehicle range
It was back in January 2008, that Renault released details of its strategy regarding electric vehicle
development. This announcement came three years ahead of the planned launch of its upcoming
production electric vehicles in 2011 (NB: new vehicles are currently developed over a period of three
- Renault's first electric concept car was Z.E. Concept which was shown at the 2008 Paris Motor
- The next step in the programme is the release of a demonstrator vehicle – Renault Kangoo be bop
Z.E. – for test-drive purposes. With 18 months remaining before the launch of the first
commercially available models, this demonstration car features technology currently under
development. Kangoo be bop Z.E. does not preview the production electric Kangoo Express. Its
aim is to enable drivers to get a feel for the sensation of driving an electric vehicle and to
familiarise themselves with the new technology.
- In 2010, Renault will bring out prototypes of the forthcoming electric Renault Kangoo Express for
road-test purposes and to show how the project has progressed, as well as continuing to introduce
Renault customers to this new form of zero-emission mobility.
- The first production electric Renault Kangoo Express will be available in the Renault sales network
by the middle of 2011.
Paris Motor Show
RENAULT KANGOO BE BOP Z.E.
Specific, functional styling
Like the Z.E. Concept, which was unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Kangoo be bop Z.E. is equipped
with low-energy LED (light-emitting diodes) front and rear lighting with a view to optimising energy use.
Again in a bid to reduce energy consumption, its aerodynamics have also been significantly reworked.
Kangoo be bop Z.E. sits on full disc wheels, and its ground clearance has been lowered by 20mm
compared with that of the production Kangoo be bop.
An illuminated gauge on Kangoo be bop Z.E.'s body sides displays how much charge is left in the battery
by simply activating the remote central locking control. Inside, another gauge to the left of the instrument
panel provides the driver with a permanent indication of how much battery charge remains.
Kangoo be bop Z.E. is derived from the production Kangoo be bop but is instantly recognisable by its
Energy Blue body colour, while the Renault logos on the grille and wheels are picked out in satin-finish
blue-hued chrome. Inside, satin-finish chrome and metallic fluorescent green details provide a unique
ambience which is enhanced by the specific grey velour upholstery and embroidered 'printed circuit' motifs.
An all-electric motor
Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. is an all-electric zero emission (in road use) vehicle. It generates no
emissions of CO2, smoke or particulates.
The car is powered by a 44kW (60hp) electric motor which boasts energy efficiency of 90 per cent, a figure
which is far superior to the 25 per cent of internal-combustion engines (a lower performance due to energy
losses). This motor revs to 12,000rpm and immediately delivers peak torque, which is a constant 190Nm.
Acceleration and pull-away from low speeds are particularly responsive. The electric motor is also very
Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E.'s electric motor is coupled to a reducer which replaces the gearbox
traditionally mated to internal-combustion engines. This reducer has a single output ratio and ensures
linear, stepless acceleration. This motor cannot stall since there is no clutch.
• Power electronics
Electrical energy is transmitted to the motor via a power electronics unit which incorporates a controller.
This transforms the 400V direct current into three-phase alternating current to power the motor's rotor and
stator. It also regulates the power and torque of the electric motor.
Situated near the controller, the convertor converts the 400V DC stored in the traction battery into 12V DC
to feed Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E.'s conventional onboard electrics and auxiliary functions (interior and
exterior lighting, audio system, electric windows, etc.).
The junction box distributes the power current to the motor functions (battery, climate control and heating
systems). This junction box also includes the charger which converts the 220V AC into 400V DC for
battery charging purposes.
Latest-generation lithium-ion battery
The battery comprises 48 power modules, each of which incorporates four elementary cells. It is inside
these cells that the electrochemical reactions take place, enabling electrical current to be produced or
energy to be stored. Each module is of the size of a laptop computer. They are positioned in two rows, side
by side. The four cells of each module store 8.4V, making a combined total of 400V for the 48 modules
which make up the battery.
The battery of this prototype has a capacity of 15kWh. Kangoo be bop Z.E. ensures a range of
approximately 100km. In 18 month's time, however, production Renault electric vehicles will benefit from
an evolution to their battery technology which will deliver a real-world range of 160km.
Kangoo be bop Z.E. is equipped with compact, innovative lithium-ion batteries produced by AESC
(Automotive Electric Supply Corporation), a Nissan-NEC joint venture founded in April 2007. The
performance of these batteries compared with former-generation nickel metal hydride batteries is superior
in every area, including range, performance, reliability and safety. Lithium-ion batteries do not suffer from
the so-called memory effect resulting from incomplete charge cycles which can ultimately lead to a fall-off
in capacity. The AESC battery is maintenance-free and is expected to deliver between 80 and 100 per cent
of its original capacity for an average duration of six years. It will also be possible to charge it for short
cycles with no adverse effect on capacity.
The compact dimensions of lithium-ion batteries enable the vehicle's architecture to be optimised and a
wide range of applications to be envisaged. In the case of Kangoo be bop Z.E., the 250kg battery is
housed underneath the floor, between the front and rear seats. Its fitment necessitated several
modifications to the structure compared with the standard Kangoo be bop:
• The central section of Kangoo be bop's floor was modified to house the battery without having to
modify the wheelbase.
• To accommodate the battery, the floor is 45mm higher. As a consequence:
o the front seat rails are located directly beneath the seats in order to maintain the same
o the car's ride-height has been lowered by 20mm to ensure the same easy access for rear
The battery of the production electric Kangoo Express will be located underneath the boot floor, without
affecting cargo space.
The battery is cooled by ambient air flow thanks to the heat dissipation properties of its aluminium casing.
Last but not least, lithium-ion batteries are recyclable and the Renault-Nissan Alliance is actively working
on establishing recycling processes and infrastructures suited to automotive batteries. It is important to
remember that lithium-ion batteries – which are made up of non-toxic materials (lithium, manganese oxide
or iron phosphate, and graphite) – do not present any danger for the environment, unlike former nickel-
cadmium batteries. To put the demand for lithium supplies into perspective, the Alliance's 250kg AESC
batteries contain just 3kg of lithium. According to the mining companies Chemetall and SQM, lithium
reserves are currently estimated to be between 14 and 17 million tonnes.
Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. is charged via a socket located behind a flap at the front of the vehicle
alongside the right-hand headlamp.
• Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. permits two different battery-charging methods:
o a conventional charge via a household mains supply (10A or 16A 220V) which can charge
the vehicle in between six and eight hours. This method is perfectly suited to vehicles which
are parked up overnight or during the day at the workplace.
o a faster charge using a 32A 400V three-phase socket (infrastructure in the process of being
developed) enables 80 per cent of Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E.'s battery to be charged in
approximately 30 minutes.
Although Kangoo be bop Z.E. is not equipped for rapid battery exchange, the so-called "quick drop"
system, this facility will be available on the other vehicles of the future range.
• A standard connection
Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. is equipped with a so-called MarechalTM-type socket which will not feature on
the production electric Kangoo Express.
Twenty or so car manufacturers – including Renault – and energy groups are currently working with the
German group RWE with a view to developing a universal standard plug.
This universal standard plug was shown in Hannover last April and will be employed to charge Renault's
forthcoming electric vehicles. This three-phase plug can be used with a 400V supply and, by the time
these vehicles come to market, will enable a complete battery charge in approximately 20 minutes. This
multi-partner agreement marks a significant step forward regarding the development of mass-market
• Range optimisation
Range management is a key consideration when it comes to electric vehicles, and this is why Renault has
made a point of making optimisation as straightforward and efficient as possible.
In addition to the information provided by the exterior gauges, a specific MMI (Man Machine Interface) has
been developed to keep the driver informed about the vehicle's current state of charge and remaining
- A gauge alongside the speedometer displays the battery's level of charge,
- An 'econo-meter' uses a new a new colour-coded system to tell the driver how economical his or
her driving is in terms of energy consumption (light blue for 'normal' vehicle use, dark blue for
'optimal' driving and red for excessive energy consumption likely to reduce the vehicle's range).
- The trip computer is adapted to the needs of electric vehicles and indicates the number of kWh
remaining, average and instantaneous energy consumption and remaining range (in kilometres).
EDF and Renault recently signed an agreement concerning a battery charging system known as Power
Line Communication (PLC) which permits communication between charge terminals and electric vehicles.
This EDF-developed technique enables the safe exchange of data between the charge terminal and the
vehicle with a view to transferring invoicing details and the location of the nearest station as a function of
the vehicle's remaining range. Renault will carry out integration tests with this system onboard in its
upcoming vehicles, and the news marks a concrete step forward to bringing customers additional services
likely to contribute to the growth of the electric vehicle market in France.
Driving an electric car can even be fun, trying to accelerate as gently as possible with a view to minimising
Driving an electric vehicle: new habits
Driving an electric vehicle is a new experience. The silent-running motor along, immediate availability of
peak torque and linear acceleration call for new driving habits.
An electric motor's inherent features are its high torque at low speeds and the immediate delivery of
power. Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. consequently pulls away briskly, while mid-range acceleration is
sprightly from low speeds. The reducer ensures that this acceleration is particularly progressive (from
standstill to 50kph in six seconds) and this in turns contributes to a sensation of driving comfort.
When the driver presses on the accelerator pedal, the lithium-ion battery provides energy to the electric
motor which converts this electricity into the mechanical energy necessary to drive the wheels. The battery
charges during deceleration: when the driver lifts, kinetic energy is recovered by the motor which converts
it into electrical energy. The current generated in this way is used to charge the battery.
Meanwhile, ride performance (body-roll control, steering, etc.) is identical to that of the internal-
combustion-engined Kangoo be bop.
The noise generated by the electric motor when running also requires a different mindset. At idle, the
motor is totally silent and the driver only knows that it is running thanks to an audible signal and a green
warning light. When the vehicle is moving, the faint whining sound which is specific to electric motors
provides the driver with audible, if muted feedback. Last but not least, the electric motor produces very few
vibrations to deliver an appreciable level of ride comfort compared with that of a internal-combustion
Safety: a core priority
As a volume manufacturer, Renault has benefited from its significant knowledge in the realm of safety to
produce electric vehicles which meet the same exacting standards expected of a current internal-
Renault's safety experts have added their own particular line of expertise to that of all those involved in the
project. The advanced tools at Renault's disposal include a range of structural dimensioning calculation
software, failure and crash simulators, and physical prototype evaluation.
The incorporation of a 250kg battery in the vehicle has naturally not been without effect and has called for
specific bracing of the body structure in order to protect against impact. Given that the battery is as
sensitive a component as a conventional fuel tank, it, too, has undergone bespoke strengthening with a
view to ensuring that its modules are effectively protected. The layout of the electrical wiring has also been
optimised with a view to preventing chafing, while the power supply is immediately switched off in the case
of a big impact.
RENAULT KANGOO BE BOP Z.E. (prototype demonstrator)
Length (mm) 3,871
Overall width with/without exterior mirror
Height (unladen) (mm) 1,812
Wheelbase (mm) 2,313
Front track (mm) 1,522
Rear track (mm) 1,536
Ground clearance (unladen) (mm) 185
Weight (kg) 1,591
Motor Electric motor
Revs (rpm) 12,000
Transmission Direct drive with reducer
Battery energy 15kWh
Wheels 18-inch full disc wheel
Top speed (electronically capped) (kph) 130