“Giving a second life to our electric car batteries”
Published by Alexandre Laurent on 06.22.2018 - 5 min
Driving a 100% electric car offers a very specific feeling of approval, which can only serve to improve as the motors evolve. David Mazuir, Head of the electric engine project which runs our ZOE, explains why and how.
How does the new R110 engine, conceived and manufactured by Renault for ZOE, improve the pleasure of driving?
ZOE experienced a major evolution with the arrival of the Z.E. 40 battery 40 and its doubled range. While the car remains suitable for urban and suburban driving, increasing the battery capacity means that we are able to go further, for example, by taking the highway and being able to drive it comfortably. We have therefore begun work on the motor to increase its available power and offer the best speed. With the R110, which has increased its power by 12 kW, it takes 2 seconds less to go from 80 to 120 km/h. This offers added enjoyment and reassurance for the driver.
We often boast about the pleasure of driving an electric car. What are its key factors, in your opinion?
Firstly, silence! It’s what everyone notices when they get into an electric car for the first time. Secondly, speed, mainly on urban roads. Finally, I would say simplicity. You drive naturally, without friction or of course having to change gear.
How do the speed and simplicity compare to a combustion engine?
With an electric engine, the torque available as soon as you put your foot on the accelerator. We say that, where a combustion engine establishes torque at the speed of air, the electric engine does so at the speed of light! This is what gives it the speed that you feel straight away when driving an electric vehicle.
Its simplicity is in the fact that the motor directly drives the wheel. With a combustion engine, you need a clutch to stop the motor from stalling whilst the wheels are stopped and shifting gears. You get none of that with an electric motor: a single speed gear box, a “reducer”, not a clutch. You have one pedal to go, and one to slow down and stop – what could be simpler?
Renault’s expertise is traditionally in the combustion engine field. How have you become specialists in electric engines?
Renault is an automobile manufacturer which has always put itself at the forefront of motoring know-how, but until now, has focused on combustion engines. We have, therefore, had to challenge ourselves. We have learnt to master the technologies and acquire different knowledge than what we have been used to with combustion engines and gearboxes, when it comes to electrotechnics and electric power.
Then we embarked upon a process of continuous progress with regard to our products as well as our know-how. It is important for as far as electric mobility is concerned, as it is a fast-growing industry with immense potential. Since 2013, we have been working to launch our own electric engine. This was achieved in 2015! Since then, we have not stopped progressing. We started with the R75 engine, followed by the R90, then finally the R110. They offer a wide range of power, and all in the same compact and lightweight size. As you can see, we are proud to give them the initial “R”, for “Renault”! They are all 100% Renault engines, developed and manufactured in France. This mastery is indicative of a fast-growing competence which is only in its infancy.
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