With New ZOE, Renault has introduced not only a new and more powerful motor dubbed the R135, but also a fast DC charging up to 50 kW. Look back at the design of these two major innovations with Eugenio Macua, Renault’s Electric Powertrain Technical Project Manager.
With the R135, we’ve gone from 80 kW of power to 100 kW, which is the equivalent of 135 hp in the world of combustion engines. The torque has also been increased, from 225 Nm to 245 Nm. These changes primarily mean improved acceleration at medium and high speeds.
New ZOE goes from 80 to 120 km/h 2 seconds faster than the prior generation, making it easier for drivers to merge onto a motorway or overtake a car using the fast lane. At the same time, it is just as responsive at lower speeds thanks to its immediately available torque.
The main modifications were to the electronics. One example is that we replaced the inverter that converts the direct current stored in the battery to the alternating current required for the motor to run. Its capacity has gone up from 230 to 280 amperes, allowing significantly more power to be delivered to the electric motor.
At the same time, we changed some sixty parts in the motor’s power electronic controller, that is about 70% of all its components, to support both this increase in power and to keep in step with evolving regulatory standards.
The other major innovation is precisely that, the addition of a unit dedicated to direct current (DC) charging up to 50 kW, which makes it possible to recover 150 km of driving range in only 30 minutes.*
This DC Box was developed entirely by Renault in order to bring rapid charging to New ZOE. Unlike equipment purchased from a supplier, it is manufactured at the Cléon plant (in Seine Maritime, to the northwest of Paris), where our electric motors are also made. To achieve this feat, it was necessary to develop new skill sets in motor design and manufacturing, as well as to invest in the creation of production facilities suitable for the assembly of electronic components.
In addition to its DC fast charging option, ZOE still has all the flexibility offered by its alternating current (AC) Caméléon charger, which gives you the option to charge from an outlet at home or just as easily at a fast charging station at powers of up to 22 kW.
Renault has extensive experience in the electric vehicle market. This keeps us attuned to the fact that our customers expect a high-performance car capable of delivering satisfying acceleration when they need it — and not just at the speeds the media always focuses on! It also shows us that they want a versatile car, especially with regards to its charging capabilities. Finally, they care about the price.
Our job is thus to find the right balance between these different expectations and to propose a car that is simultaneously dynamic, versatile and affordable.
*The duration and distances mentioned here are calculated from results obtained by New ZOE during the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure, standardised cycle: 57% urban driving, 25% suburban driving, 18% motorway driving), which aims to represent the actual conditions of a vehicle’s use. However, they cannot foresee the type of journey after recharging. The recharging time and the recovered range also depend on the temperature, battery wear, power delivered by the terminal, driving style and level of charge.
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