The Renault Zoe ZE is yet another — shock-of-shocks — electric car concept making its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. But, this is the first we've seen to infuse the cabin air with L'Oreal skin moisturizer. How very French.
The Zoe ZE (that's Zero Emissions by the way) hits all the familiar concept car touchstones, wacky shape, unrealistic dramatic lighting, gigantic wheels, etc., but it also features are rather realistic powertrain. It's all-electric with a lithium-ion battery and a 95 HP electric motor with 165 lb-ft of torque. It's got an 87 MPH top speed which brings out a retractable spoiler, which might be arguably necessary.
So that L'Oréal thing. The system mixes into the cabin air a moisturizing liquid to not only keep skin properly hybdrated, but it also detoxifies and keeps the cabin smelling fresh to boot. The system was created in cooperation with L'Oréal and only confirms our stereotypes of the French.
AN ECONOMICAL AND ECOLOGICAL SOLUTION
Zoe Z.E. Concept targets motorists who own more than one car and who are looking for a compact,versatile vehicle capable of meeting their varied day-to-day needs, such as the school or work run, or shopping trips. Zoe Z.E. Concept is an all-electric, zero-emission vehicle which reconciles motoring with the environmental aspirations of customers looking for a vehicle with the best possible ecological footprint.
Zoe Z.E. Concept invites its occupants to enjoy familiar pleasures. Using cutting-edge electric-vehicle technology, Zoe Z.E. Concept is proof that a zero-emission vehicle can also possess a dynamic, edgy, attractive design which immediately points to driving enjoyment. Aerodynamics have a significant influence on the performance of a zero-emission vehicle and, in the case of the Zoe Z.E. Concept project, the overriding concerns regarding design were elegance and efficiency. Zoe Z.E. Concept is just 4.10m long and is powered by a 70kW electric motor which develops 226Nm of torque. It is easy to imagine the vehicle making its way silently through traffic in built-up areas. The large 21-inch wheels and large body panels are reassuring touches that give the four occupants complete peace of mind when travelling out of town. At the rear, a retractable spoiler deploys at speeds in excess of 90kph to make a further contribution to Zoe Z.E. Concept's aerodynamic efficiency. This LED-equipped spoiler also serves as a brake light, as does the integrated light in the shark's fin-type aerial on the roof.
The exterior design of Zoe Z.E. Concept incorporates technologies aimed at reasserting its 'zero-emission' credentials:
* The roof has been designed as an intelligent protective membrane that insulates the occupants from heat and cold, as well as optimizing climate control performance by recovering energy via its honeycomb photovoltaic cells.
* At front and rear, a shield of polyurethane gel protects the lights which feature energy-efficient electroluminescent diodes that emit a blue-tinted light. This second skin protects vulnerable components from small knocks in town, while underlining this electric concept car's hi-tech feel.
* The air intakes situated either side of the car channel airflow to cool the batteries. The air is extracted through two large rear channels through which it is possible to glimpse the streamlined suspension arms.
* Rearward vision is handled by two small, profiled, energy-efficient cameras which transmit images to the interior rear view mirror, giving the driver perfect visibility without blind spots.
* The front features scissor doors, while rear access is through butterfly-style doors. The clever and original design of the rear doors means they also double up as openings for the boot, allowing carrying space to be accessed from the side, from the pavement, for example.
AN INTERIOR DESIGNED TO PROFIT FULLY FROM THE SILENT RIDE
The form of the front seat cushions resembles that of an asymmetric pebble, while the seatbacks are attached to the roof. At the rear, the seats can be folded flat with a view to obtaining additional carrying capacity. The dashboard contributes to the interior's uncluttered feel. It is covered with an intelligent, minerallike membrane and the lightest of touches calls up a range of touchscreen controls. The wide TFT (Thin Film Transistor) screen is housed in a glass bubble. This is the central information point for Zoe Z.E. Concept and serves to display navigation data, the charge indicator and remaining range, as well as a pallet of coloured mood lighting options which enable the interior ambiance to be customized.
This mood lighting can also be selected automatically via a sensor in the seat which will tone the lighting to match the colours of the driver's clothes. Information is presented by an avatar that appears on the TFT screen, creating a link between the driver and the technology thanks to short messages. The avatar can be personalized (male, female, downloadable from the internet), and provides information about traffic conditions, the route and remaining range. It can also indicate the nearest charging points. This way of humanizing the technology makes it more accessible and creates a relationship with the driver to ensure that journeys are as pleasant as possible.
The hands-free keycard can be personalized, too, by fixing a chip to an object of the customer's choosing to enable automatic door locking and ignition. Finally, the climate control system does much more than simply adjusts the temperature. It also enhances the travelling experience thanks to an innovative triple-function system:
* · Hydrating function. In contrast to conventional climate control systems, which can tend to dry out the air, small dashboard-mounted vaporizers spray an exclusive active substance to rehydrate the skin and exude a sensation of wellbeing.
* 'Detox' function. A toxicity sensor monitors air quality and shuts off the airvents if required. Then, in addition to extracting harmful substances, the cabin filters deliver others which benefit the skin.
* Active scent function. An electric system exhales essential oils suited to the mood of the moment: something mellow for a relaxing drive home, perhaps, or the need to stimulate concentration when driving at night.
This triple-function system has been developed in association with Biotherm®, the skin biology brand of L'Oréal's Luxury Products Division. After a journey in Zoe Z.E. Concept, occupants will feel more relaxed, just like after a spa treatment.
THREE BATTERY-CHARGING TECHNIQUES
The driver has three options when it comes to 'filling up' on energy:
* A standard charge: takes between four and eight hours, via a charging socket situated on the outside of the vehicle.
* A quick charge: in 20 minutes, using the same socket at specific charging points.
* The exclusive 'Quickdrop' system: three minutes at a rapid battery exchange station.
Direct drive with forward/reverse inverters
Maximum power EEC (kW/hp) 70/95
Maximum torque EEC (Nm) 225
STEERING AND BRAKES
Electric variable rate power steering
Parking brake Electric
Rims (inches) 21
Length (mm) 4,100
Width (mm) 1,840
Height (mm) 1,516
Wheelbase (mm) 2,605
Front/rear track (mm) 1,626/1,626
Front/rear overhang (mm) 747/719
Unladen weight (kg) 1,400
Tyres 185/55 R21
Boot volume (dm3 VDA)… Between 150 and 500…
…with 4/3/2 occupants …150/325/500
Aerodynamic performance (CdA) 0.25
Top speed (kph) 140