Feeds

Renault Fluence ZE

The first affordable, practical electric car

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

First Look With Renault-Nissan now having splurged €4bn (£3.4bn) on its e-car projects, it’s about time we saw some iron beyond the frankly rather too US-oriented Leaf. That time has now arrived: Renault officially unveiled the Fluence in Lisbon last week.

Renault Fluence ZE e-car

The Fluence won’t be the first Renault e-car we see in the UK. That honour will go to the funky little two-seat Twizy ZE that should arrive in right-hand drive form in March 2012. The Fluence four-door saloon will follow early in the summer followed by the B-class Zoe ZE hatchback a few months later.

The Fluence ZE is the first on show thanks to Renault’s deal with e-car supplier Better Place. It has ordered more than 100,000 of the vehicles, primarily to lease out in Israel and Denmark.

Renault Fluence ZE e-car

With the exception of the electric-blue badge and headlight detailing, the Fluence ZE looks very similar to the regular Fluence, which we don’t get in the UK because it’s a saloon version of the Megane hatch and we Brits don’t buy small four-door cars.

Thanks to the vertical battery pack that sits just aft of the rear suspension - it weighs 280kg, deliverers 400V and holds 22kWh of juice - the Fluence ZE is actually a couple of inches longer than the conventional car.

Renault Fluence ZE e-car

To my eyes, the extra length improves the visual balance of the car but it doesn’t alter the fact that the battery pack seriously intrudes on boot space.

Vertical? Indeed, because the Fluence ZE works with Better Place’s battery-swap stations that can yank out the empty battery and replace it with a fresh one in under three minutes - less time than it takes to top up a conventional tank of fuel.

Renault Fluence ZE e-car

It’s highly unlikely we'll ever see these battery swap stations in the UK - outside of large Renault dealers at least - but they are a key part of the Better Place initiative. It's a novel solution to the problem of e-car range and it shows that we're not going to be forced into a world of charging up cars at home, at work and on the street. There can be a role of 'filling stations' in the e-car era, and a EV need not be severely limited by range.

Of course, whether anyone will have the nous and - crucially - the cash to build out a network of battery swap stations in this country is another matter entirely. And I have my doubts that car makers will have the wit to realise they need to adopt a standard battery form-factor. But it's an impressive concept none the less.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Driving range

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.