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Renault hints at 200-mile battery option for ZOE and Kangoo

Eric Feunteun, Head of Renault Electric Vehicles, said the company is working to improve energy density through better cell chemistry, to provide longer-range batteries within the same physical space – just as Nissan has recently started offering two versions of the LEAF, and Tesla has multiple options on the Model S and Model X.

“If you ask somebody if they want a larger range the answer is, of course, yes,” he explained. “Then when you move from emotion to facts, and you have a choice between 100 and 200 miles, and the cars with difference prices, the reaction becomes more rational. Some would definitely need the 200, either because they have less constraint in terms of cost or because they use it for 200. Others say they have enough with 100, and they can manage with it.

“I think two routes that will open, not only for Renault but for the market. One focusing on range, one route focusing on cost of ownership. The two routes are important, especially when you consider in the long term that the incentives might be reduced, so that’s how we see the future.”

Expect new battery technology to be used in the Kangoo Z.E. and ZOE – Feunteun added that the company was not looking to add additional products to the line-up. In the case of the Kangoo Z.E., though, Renault has no plans to offer rapid charging, as Nissan has on the e-NV200, as it sees limited demand from businesses.

“At this stage we don’t see how rapid charging can effectively be used. No companies can buy a DC charger, it’s too expensive, and we don’t think it’s fair to say a large number of companies can rely on public charging to do their business,” he said.

“If we can improve maybe to 7kW maybe this could help, and that’s something we might do in the next few years. Clearly fast charging for me is a very strong communication point, but we have to prioritise our engineering resources and I prefer to focus on items which have a real customer benefit.”

Alex Grant

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