Santa uses Renault Twizy

Santa uses Renault Twizy

Renault got a Christmas gift from the Belgian automobile association VAB in December - as the new ZOE R240 was announced as the VAB Family Car of the Year 2016.

"For the 2016 edition of its Family Car of the Year Awards, the Belgian automobile association VAB specified a 30-kilometre increase in the minimum “electric power” range required for vehicles in the “electric” category.

As well as running against other all-electric vehicles, Renault ZOE R240 was also competing with plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles with range extender.

With both juries (25 motoring journalists and 78 families) giving the car top ranking,  ZOE R240 finished with 159 points in all, ahead of the Mercedes B250e (with 154 points) and Kia’s Soul (with 147).

The professional jury of motoring journalists praised ZOE’s “roomy interior, bold design and unbeatable price”, noting that “affordable pricing and long range are making Renault electric vehicles an attractive proposition for more and more people”. The family jury expected “a real breakthrough for ZOE R240, a truly affordable vehicle” and saw it as “an eminently practical choice of second vehicle, with its extensive equipment and large boot”.

The unofficial children’s jury appreciated “the neat bodywork, the smooth ride, the comfortable rear seats, and the pretty lights."

The Renault ZOE R240 is equipped with a new drive-train (motor manufactured by Renault), which according to the French manufacturer, improves the range from 210 km (for Q210 version) to 240 km (149 miles) under the NEDC cycle.  For reference, the Nissan LEAF (30 kWh) is rated at 250 km NEDC, but on the more realistic EPA cycle it's rated at 107 miles / 172 km).

The new ZOE probably gives drivers a 'real world' range improvemnt of about 20-22 km/13 miles.

The ZOE has a 22 kWh battery, but there are reports that today's battery is somewhat larger and that part of the range gain comes from expanding the available state-of-charge window (similar move was done by GM to the Chevrolet Volt a few years ago).

However, Renault always states the source of improvements is the R240 drivetrain:

"Powered by the R240 unit, Renault ZOE boasts a range unparalleled in the all-electric segment: 240 km (NEDC standard), which is 30 km more than with the Q210 power unit. Renault engineers have improved the motor efficiency by optimizing the electronic control system. Higher efficiency means lower electricity consumption with no performance penalty.

The R240 power unit also brings a 10% reduction in ZOE’s charge time under most usage conditions. As well as extending the ZOE range, Renault engineers also upgraded the Caméléon charger to reduce the low-power charge time. The new Caméléon charger is especially efficient on charging stations from 3 to 22 kW, which account for more than 95% of the vehicle charging infrastructures currently in operation."