Renault will test self-driving Zoe EV in China

Renault follows Volvo with autonomous-driving announcement.

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Last month, we got news that the Renault Zoe electric vehicle will be able to go almost 200 miles on a full charge. Now, we're finding out that the car may be able to go much of that distance by itself. Isn't modern technology wonderful?

Dongfeng Renault Automobile Co. is will start autonomous-driving testing in the city of Wuhan, China, as soon as next month, Automotive News China says. The automating joint-venture, which was founded in 2014, will use a 1.5-mile stretch of road in the city's Caidian district for testing purposes. Using a Chinese city for self-driving tests is appropriate, since part of the appeal of autonomous driving is the ability to sit back in traffic and let the car and its systems do all of the work.

Such a testing process would be at least the second of its kind announced for China. Earlier this year, Volvo said it would run autonomous-driving tests on as many as 100 cars in China. Neither Volvo nor Dongfeng Renault has revealed many details regarding the testing process.

Renault recently announced that the Zoe, which was Europe's best-selling electric vehicle last year, has been improved to go about 250 miles on a single charge, using the relatively lenient NEDC test scale. That translates to about 186 miles on the EPA test, which is still impressive given that the car costs about $26,000 thanks to battery rentals. Renault started working on a self-driving prototype based on the Zoe platform called the Next Two in 2013. As for Dongfeng Renault, that entity started selling its first model, the Renault Kadjar, in March, while the Renault Koleos crossover will begin sales in China by the end of the year.

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