Carlos Ghosn, the man in charge of both Nissan and Renault, thinks 10% of the world’s cars will be electric by 2020. He wants to own that market.
Today he unveiled four new Renault concept cars at the Frankfurt Autoshow. Of these, the Journal reports three are expected to go into production in the next three years:
- The Fluence in the first half of 2011
- The Twizy in the second half of 2011
- The Zoe in mid-2012.
We think there must be some mistake here, because the Twizy and the Zoe are hideous. The Twizy looks like it has square wheels! More likely, we think the decent looking Fluence and Kangoo will be the production cars.
Renault also reiterated its partnership with California startup Better Place. Better Place will be importing and distributing the Fluence in Israel starting in the first half of 2011. The company will also sell the car in Denmark. By 2016, the companies want to sell 100,000 cars in each country.
Renault will be charging its cars batteries three ways. The typical slow charge, quick charge and ‘quickdrop,’ which is where Better Place comes in. Better Place has designed a system where a driver rides up, gets a depleted battery swapped in a few minutes and rides on its way. See this video for evidence.
The idea is to reduce “range anxiety” that comes with a rechargable battery. It will be more like the gas station, which people are comfortable with. If it’s successful in Israel and Denmark, expect the system to spread around the world.
Of course, the swap stations could be amazing, but if the cars are hideous, then it’s all for naught. And, well, they are some weird looking cars.
From Renault's press release: Kangoo Z.E. Concept is based on the Kangoo and brings zero-emission mobility to the professional road-user. Powered by a 70kW electric motor, delivering 226Nm of torque, in conjunction with a lithium-ion battery, its energy consumption is minimised thanks not only to the careful attention that has been paid to its overall design, but also to energy optimisation, without impacting the high standard of comfort. Kangoo Z.E. Concept's many information functions make it a particularly user-friendly, efficient and interactive vehicle.
Here's Renault's description: The third all-new´concept at Frankfurt, Fluence Z.E. Concept, is a statement of Renault's intent to produce a range of zero-emission vehicles that meets the needs of all types of motorists. A genuine four-door family car with attractive styling, comfort and space, it proves that such features can go hand in hand with respect for the environment.
Fluence Z.E. Concept is an all-electric car with a range of 100 miles. The battery can be charged using one of three methods: a standard charge (between four and eight hours), a quick charge (20 minutes) or an immediate solution (three minutes) which takes the form of the exclusive 'Quickdrop' rapid battery exchange system. The saloon concept previews the forthcoming electric version of Fluence and represents a solution to zero-emission motoring in the world of tomorrow.
Here's Renault: The second showcar, Zoe Z.E. Concept, is evidence that an all-electric zero-emission vehicle can also boast smart, appealing looks. Its special roof optimises the management of the climate control system to ensure extended range, while the ambience inside the cabin can be customised. Over and above its traditional role, the climate control system breaks new ground thanks to its 'hydrating', 'detox' and 'active scent' functions which combine to enhance travel. Zoe Z.E. Concept is a compact, versatile car for daily use, which represents a new form of transport thanks to the option of three battery-charging techniques.
Yikes! Here's Renault: Twizy Z.E. Concept is an innovative response to the challenge of urban mobility. With its four-wheel chassis, it offers the driver and passenger, seated in tandem, an all-electric means of transport which produces no CO2 emissions. Compact, nimble and practical, it offers everything needed to cope with city traffic.
Wraparound bodywork creates a safe, reassuring cocoon which offers first-class protection for both driver and passenger. Power comes from a 15kW electric motor which develops 70Nm of torque, making Twizy Z.E. Concept versatile and easy to drive. Acceleration in urban and suburban traffic is comparable to that of a 125cc motorbike.
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