Renault Fluence ZE Electric Concept: We Surrender!

We get it Renault, we really do. You're "green," you're "eco-friendly," just please, never four electric cars at one show ever again. Even if this particular example, the Renault Fluence ZE, is actually attractive.

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The Fluence is Renaults most realistic look at the future of vehicle electrification, sporting lithium ion batteries that can charge in three hours at high voltage hubs, do a 20-minute partial quick charge, or completely swap out in three minutes, which, on the face of it is a good idea, until you recognize the troubles in creating and maintaining that infrastructure. The car's obviously based on the handsome Renault Fluence but with the superfluous concept car baubles like whimsical wheels, fancy paint, and a snazzy interior. And just for the record, it's capable of a 100 mile range with a 95 HP e-motor sporting 166 lb-ft of twist.

Renault Press Release:

· Renault Fluence ZE Concept is a statement of Renault's intention to produce a range of zero emission vehicles that meet the needs of all types of customer. Renault Fluence ZE Concept is a genuine family car which demonstrates that attractive styling, comfort and space can go hand in hand with respect for the environment.
· Renault Fluence ZE Concept is an all-electric car with a range of 160km. 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) in the form of the exclusive 'Quickdrop' rapid battery exchange system.

· Renault Fluence ZE Concept previews the forthcoming electric version of Fluence, and represents a solution to zero-emission motoring in the world of tomorrow.

A FAMILY FATHER LOOKING FOR AN ECOLOGICAL FAMILY CAR

You don't have to be young, rich, single, trendy and living in the city to drive an electric car. Renault has proved as much with Renault Fluence ZE Concept, a car aimed squarely at the single-car family father who would use the car every day to go to the office, but who would also want to take his wife and children to the country at the weekend. Therefore, the car needs to serve to an extent as a status symbol, but it must also provide enough interior space to function as a comfortable
family car. The owner is environmentally aware, but wants to maintain his or her lifestyle and habits, too, without feeling guilty for it.

Renault Fluence ZE Concept meets this need. This status-enhancing, ecological family car claims a range of 160km, while its battery can be charged on one of three ways, including the ultra-fast battery exchange option which takes less than three minutes. Renault Fluence ZE Concept also allows the driver to make urban, country and motorway journeys with total peace of mind.

ELECTRIC MOBILITY WITH A PASSION

The styling cues of Renault Fluence ZE Concept combine the design language of motoring pleasure with the visual signature of Renault's range of electric vehicles.

Renault Fluence ZE Concept possesses dynamic lines, highlighted by a fluid character line which sweeps from the headlights to the rear shoulders. It is 4,820mm long, has a wide track of 1,672 mm, is wellproportioned and exudes status-enhancing, elegant looks. Its identity as an electric vehicle is expressed through the graphic treatment of the cooling ducts, the fins of which are reminiscent of heat transfer surfaces, and this theme is echoed in different ways in the design of the headlights and motor cover. The photovoltaic cells located on the panoramic roof, dashboard and rear parcel shelf form a geometric grid pattern which has been carried over to the grille and seat upholstery.

Renault Fluence ZE Concept also clearly belongs to Renault's 'family' of electric vehicles thanks to:

- its Atmosphere Blue body colour,
- the specific luminous blue signature which features in the curved lower part of the body sides,
- the use of LEDs at the front and rear,
- the design of its headlights,
- the recess behind the logo on the bonnet.

The headlights convey the same impression of softness suggested by the vehicle's overall lines and colour. They are a high-tech feature, too: beneath the 'eyelids' formed by the indicators, the beams of the main headlights are precise and piercing, with the light focused into a single beam by means of a system of prisms.

The vehicle's status-enhancing credentials are further emphasised by the employment of chrome trimming for the belt-line and grille, as well as by its impressive 21-inch wheels. Blue polycarbonate hubcaps seem to slot into the aluminium wheels to create a spiral form which channels the airflow and improves aerodynamic performance.

LUXURY, HARMONY AND… ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Renault Fluence ZE Concept's warmly welcoming and refined interior is based on a combination of flowing forms, the use of soft, supple materials and a mottled ambience. Passengers are comfortably seated in four enveloping seats robed in light leather upholstery. The feet rest on a light blue translucent gel mat, while the brake and accelerator pedals, too, are covered in gel for a greater sense of comfort. When the doors open, the courtesy lighting recalls the luminous blue signature of Renault's electric vehicle range.

The technology used for the dashboard is sophisticated and intuitive. A TFT (Thin Film Transistor) touchscreen displays multimedia information and essential journey-related information such as the navigation function and the location of the nearest 'Quickdrop' station. The display also provides data specific to electric vehicles, such as range optimization information, for example.

The centre console incorporates two floating armrests and forms a fluid, rearward-flowing arc. At the front, the integrated central front armrest includes the stop/start button, the air-conditioning and volume controls, as well as the new touchscreen Samsung Jet phone. This phone comes with a hands-free function, and also enables occupants to listen to music or enjoy a film on the screens which have been built into the front seatbacks. The central rear armrest incorporates the climate control and volume controls, plus another Samsung Jet telephone and two remote controls for the two screens.

Significant care has also gone into the design of the door panels: the door handles echo the rounded form of the centre console and the electric window controls are flush with the surface, while the viewing screen for the rear-view cameras is integrated discreetly yet effectively.

Renault Fluence ZE Concept is not respectful of the environment simply because it runs on electricity. Indeed, the entire car has been thought through to optimize energy use:

- the photovoltaic cells meet part of the car's energy requirements with a view to complementing the power supplied by the battery,
- the headlights use high-performance electroluminescent diodes which deliver an excellent trade-off between efficiency and energy consumption,
- the triple-zone climate control system allows occupants to achieve just the right settings for the two seats at the front and at the rear. The air vents also feature a dynamic lighting code, with blue representing the passage of cold air and red representing warm air,
- the car's aerodynamics have been meticulously honed to minimize drag, including streamlined rear-view mirrors with integrated rearward facing cameras, a completely enclosed underside incorporating a diffuser at the rear, and spiral-form wheel rims,
- Renault Fluence ZE Concept runs on low rolling resistance Michelin tyres.

Fluence ZE Concept is powered exclusively by an electric motor located near the front axle, in conjunction with a lithium-ion battery positioned between the rear seats and the boot. Renault's designers and engineers worked closely together to develop a safe, practical vehicle capable of accommodating a large enough battery to ensure good range (160km), while also providing sufficient carrying capacity to cater for the requirements of an active family (327dm3).

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.