If there's one part of the automotive industry that's innovating like no other, it's consumer electric vehicles. With new technologies, a booming market, massive investments from manufacturers, electromobility is on track to revolutionise the transportation of tomorrow. And as we race towards the future, records are falling one by one. Here are 5 as proof.
Inductive charging at up to 100 km/h
This is a major step for electric mobility, an unprecedented achievement. The stakes were high since in the future, this innovation could revolutionise the use of electric cars.
In May 2017, two Renault Kangoo Z.E.s took part in full-scale tests on the Satory test track, located in the French city of Versailles. It’s a new kind of road, equipped with
a dynamic charging system for electric vehicles over a 250-meter stretch.
To do this, Renault engineers, partnering with American company Qualcomm Technologies and the French VeDeCoM Institute, literally pushed our technological limits: the two electric vans were able to charge at speeds up to 100 km/h, an unprecedented leap forward. The technology is promising, once an economic breakthrough on the cost of equipping roads is achieved.
400 km range (NEDC) for a ZOE
Such a high level of performance had never been reached by a vehicle from the electric city car market. In 2016, Renault announced a record range for its new ZOE, newly equipped with the Z.E. 40 battery: 400 kilometres (NEDC*) or, in actual use, 300 kilometres on average for urban and suburban routes in variable weather conditions.
That is equivalent to driving from Paris to Brussels in one go, without stopping at a charging point. Four years after the release of the first ZOEs, these new versions doubled their range! It is rare to see such rapid technological progress in such a short period of time.
200,000 electric vehicles sold in Europe
In February 2019, Renault passed the symbolic milestone of 200,000 electric vehicles sold in Europe, 100,000 of which were in France! With more than 36% sales increase in 2018, Renault has confirmed its leading position in the European electric vehicle market for the 4th year in a row!
Such success is due to the indomitable Renault ZOE, of which 40,000 units have been sold, as well as the Kangoo Z.E., Europe’s No. 1 electric van, with more than 40% of market share in 2018. But this is just the first step for the successful diamond brand, which announced in June 2018 that it was investing more than one billion euros in its French factories, to make France a centre of excellence for the production of electric vehicles.
5,000 km, -35°C rally in a ZOE
From February 11 to 25, 2019, as part of the Green Expedition, electric vehicles participated in a 5,000 km rally headed to the North Cape, in the Arctic Circle.
Despite temperatures below -35°C, the electric cars and motorbikes involved made it through 400 km stages, thanks to the ingenuity of their drivers and the reliability of their machines.
As for the two Renault ZOEs participating, they were able to cover more than 200 km without needing to partially recharge! Who ever said electric vehicles were only for cities?
24,000 km in a Renault ZOE
In October 2018, Christian Gernemann began a 24,000 km journey in Romania, behind the wheel of a Renault ZOE, with the goal of pulling off the longest journey in history in an electric car. Well, mission accomplished, as the driver was rewarded for his feat by the Guinness Book of World Records on April 22, on the occasion of internationally celebrated Earth Day.
This project was led by Restart Energy alongside several partners, Groupe Renault among them. The electric car has clearly not yet finished surprising us!
*NEDC: worldwide standard for measuring the range of electric vehicles, before the WLTP, or Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure, came into force in September 2018
Copyrights: iStock, Qualcomm/Droits réservés, Olivier MARTIN-GAMBIER, Yannick BROSSARD, PLANIMONTEUR