Renault has updated the trim levels of two of its three electric vehicles on sale in the UK, and added new longer-range electric motors.
The ZOE supermini and urban Twizy have been refreshed to bring them into line with the company's combustion-engined vehicles and create a more uniform grading structure across all the brand's models.
The changes to the ZOE line-up have been timed to coincide with the introduction of a new, in-house-developed, longer-range electric motor. The new line up, with previous models in brackets, consists of Expression Nav (Expression), Dynamique Nav (Dynamique Intens) and Dynamique Nav Rapid Charge (Dynamique Intens). Expression Nav and Dynamique Nav feature the new motor, known as the R240, while Dynamique Nav Rapid Charge retains the original power unit. All three grades of ZOE are available to buy as either battery hire or full purchase 'ZOE i' versions.
The new R240 motor extends the operating range by almost 15 per cent to 149 miles in the New European Driving Cycle. It gives the ZOE a real-world range of 71 to 106 miles, depending on driving style, the use of electrical features like air conditioning, the season and where the car is being driven.
It also features integrated rather than stacked modules, with reduced gaps and no external power cables so that it is more compact. It also has a simplified air-cooling system and a three-in-one junction box incorporating the Chameleon charger and power electronics to form a single unit called the Power Electronic Controller. In the R240 motor this is the only part which is water-cooled.
The result is a 10 per cent reduction in size with no loss of performance, and with reduced energy consumption and faster charge times. This makes it especially suitable for use in smaller cars.
Both motors develop a maximum output of 65kW (88hp) and near-instantaneous maximum torque of 220Nm available in less than one-hundredth of a second. They deliver identical driving performance, with 0-30mph attainable in around four seconds and 0-50mph in 8.6 seconds.
The decision to offer two motors comes about because Renault says it has identified distinct types of use among its EV customers. Many have regular driving patterns, and will therefore appreciate the increased range and reduced charging requirements with the R240 motor. But others are less predictable in the way they use their car. For them, ultimate range is usually not a handicap - but they need the ability to rapid-charge to 80 per cent of battery capacity in the shortest possible time on occasions.
For the Twizy model, 'Expression' replaces the former Urban version and 'Dynamique' takes the place of Technic in the line-up while the Cargo remains unchanged. There have been minor changes to colours, trims and wheels.
The Renault ZOE is priced from £13,445 after the Government's Plug-in Car Grant while the Twizy starts at £6,895 OTR for the Expression.