New ZOE innovations that benefit the environment

Published by on 09.13.2019 - 3 min

New ZOE renews Groupe Renault’s strong commitment to protect the environment throughout the vehicle’s entire life cycle. Its upholstery is made from recycled materials and its battery can be given a productive second life, demonstrating the virtues of the circular economy when its principles are applied to the automotive industry.

Groupe Renault is increasing the number of its research projects and programs aimed at reducing the environmental impact of its electric vehicles. One part of this process is focused on optimising the resources used to manufacture a car, such as limiting the sites of the different industrial activities associated with a single country, as Renault has done by manufacturing ZOE in France. This approach also leads to a consideration of how best to collect, reuse and recycle the parts and materials that come together in the construction of the vehicle.

Fabric made from 100% recycled materials

On its ZEN and INTENS levels of equipment, New ZOE premieres a fabric made entirely from recycled materials. This fabric – which adorns the seats, the dashboard cover and the base of the center console – is made using scraps left over from the manufacture of seat belts. The recycled fibers are processed in a traditional manner, using a carding method that disentangles the fibers without any need for melting or chemical processing, before weaving them. This short loop recycling process utilises textile waste from automobile production, which means it comes from very near its industrial point of origin. That’s a first in this sector! The fabric also contains PET fibres from recycled plastic bottles.

The entire manufacturing process of New ZOE’s ZEN and INTENS upholsteries is highly innovative and was made possible by a collaboration between Groupe Renault, Adient – a worldwide supplier of car seats – and Filature du Parc – a specialist of carded yarn located in the southwest of France.

Inside the New ZOE

Recycled plastic in the cabin

New ZOE boasts 22.5 kg of recycled synthetic materials, a greater amount than the previous generation. Most of these materials are traditionally used for housings and other hidden parts of the car that provide protection. Floor mats are usually the only visible parts made from these recycled synthetic materials. New ZOE, however, marks not only their first appearance as a component of the seat covers (with the ZEN and INTENS fabrics), but also as parts of the cabin, which are made from recycled polypropylene.

These exposed parts of the passenger compartment, which provide the same benefits as virgin materials when it comes to aesthetics, UV resistance and durability, account for nearly 35% of the total recycled synthetic materials used in the vehicle.

Recycled polymer scheme

Promoting the energy transition process

The environmental issues connected to the car’s usage on the road have not been ignored either. An electric vehicle like New ZOE can even be an active player in the energy transition process, a key part of the electricity grid considered as a whole.

How? Groupe Renault is studying different ways to harness the lithium-ion battery to support carbon-free electricity produced by renewable energy sources, all while offering drivers new and useful features. That’s the thinking behind technologies like smart charging and vehicle-to-grid.

And after their “first” lifetime, ZOE batteries which no longer meet the operational demands of a car can still be useful as part of stationary energy battery storage systems. Not only does this encourage the production of green electricity, it also makes it possible to use each battery to its fullest, delaying the moment when it must be recycled.


Copyright : OHM, Frithjof – Agence : Frithjof Ohm INCL. Pretzsch, Pagecran