Monthly Archives: August 2015

Powervault Energy Storage System (Image:

Cheaper batteries for UK households

The trend towards cheaper home energy storage shows no sign of slowing down

London startup tailors smaller, cheaper battery for UK households to use more of their own generated solar energy

When Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, took to the stage in California in April to launch a solar battery for the home, the audience hollered and whooped at every detail. On the other side of the Atlantic, a more modest, quieter challenger plans to take on the US electric car giant.

Based within a railway arch, with the sound of trains running overhead from nearby London Bridge station and surrounded by other ecologically minded startups, the offices of Powervault are a far cry from Tesla’s showpiece Californian stage. The similarity lies in the product – the Powervault battery, which stores energy from domestic solar panels.

“Some people, especially if they don’t have solar panels, just assume solar panels come with a battery,”

says Joe Warren, Powervault’s managing director. They don’t.

Joe Warren and his Powervault domestic solar power battery (Image: M. Godwin/Guardian)
Joe Warren and his Powervault domestic solar power battery (Image: M. Godwin/Guardian)

Home energy generation has blossomed in the UK over the past four years, with an estimated 650,000 homes fitted with solar panels. In 2010, the government introduced the feed-in tariff scheme to pay householders who produce and supply energy. The scheme aims to push renewable energy in the UK towards 15% of total energy by 2020. In 2009, the figure stood at 2%.

Powervault, Tesla and other players in the emerging solar battery market aim to supply the means for householders to store energy produced during the sunniest part of the day for use at peak times, when more people are at home but the sun is down.

Read more: The Guardian

R 240 electric engine manufacturing – Foundry workshop – Engine cases (Image: Renault)

Renault ZOE Motor Manufactured at Cléon

Renault launched earlier this year production of new electric motors R 240 for Renault ZOE.

ZOE’s new electric motor, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, is a 100% Renault motor manufactured at the French site of Cléon, already specialized in highly technical powertrain production.

The launch, benefitting from a part of €300 million investment announced by the plant in 2011, is an integral part of Renault’s electric strategy aimed at improving motor and battery technology to optimize the performance and range of electric vehicles, while supporting the development of the corresponding infrastructure.

Mendi Ammad, Director of the Cléon plant says:

“We aim to become the leading powertrain plant for the Alliance”

Read more: Inside EVs

The new Acenta+ will come with a 6.6kW on-board charger as standard (Image: Nissan)

Nissan adds Acenta+ to LEAF range

This should be a popular move as most people are interested in fast home charging

Nissan is celebrating the continued success of its 100% electric LEAF model with the introduction of an Acenta+ grade.

The new Acenta+ sits between the Acenta and range-topping Tekna model and enjoys a significant specification boost over the standard model.

On sale from July 1st, the Acenta+ is equipped with a 6.6kW on-board charger as standard, along with a Mode-3 32amp (EVSE) cable. Previously available only as an option, the 6.6kW charger allows owners to perform a 0-100% charge in just four hours using a fast charger.

Priced at £24,740, including the £5000 Government grant, it offers an official range of 124 miles (NEDC) and running costs from 2p per mile.

Commenting on the addition of the new Acenta+ to the UK LEAF range, James Wright, Managing Director, Nissan Motor GB said:

“We’re delighted to add a new member to the LEAF family in the UK. More than 9,500 LEAFs have already been sold here and Nissan is the undisputed leader in the EV market. This new model delivers exceptional value and showcases the LEAF’s incredible technology and engineering.”

Source: Next Green Car

Plug-in Car Grant Scheme Extended

The Government has announced that its Plug-in Car Grant will continue until at least February 2016.

Revealed this week (Wednesday 26th August), the grant will remain open to motorists looking to buy a new ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) until early 2016 at a minimum. A longer term plan will be drawn up and announced after the Government’s November spending review.

The grant, which offers motorists up to £5,000 of the price of an electric car, has been extended for all categories of vehicle and aims to build on the recent growth of the plug-in car market.

Before this announcement, the plan was to run the scheme until 50,000 grants had been awarded but, with around 40,000 grants already made and sales of ULEVs accelerating, forecasts were coming in for the scheme to have reached its limit around November 2015. As a result of the extension, all plug-in cars with CO2 emissions of 75 g/km of under will remain eligible for the grant until February.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP said:

“I’m pleased to announce today that the government is maintaining the current levels of grant, even as we move past the milestone of 50,000 vehicles. The UK is now the fastest growing market for electric vehicles in Europe. We will continue to invest to help make this technology affordable to everyone and to secure the UK’s position as a global leader.”

Hetal Shah, Head of Go Ultra Low, the Government backed campaign to promote ultra low-emission vehicles, said:

“Continuing the Plug-in Car Grant at current levels is positive news for everyone, as it encourages zero-emission motoring and secures more funding for a greater number of ULEV buyers. This announcement demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting the growth of the ULEV market. If we are to meet ambitious targets for ULEV uptake, continued investment is paramount.”

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:

“With British buyers taking to ultra-low emission vehicles faster than anyone else in Europe, the extension of the Plug-in Car Grant is good news. The market for these vehicles remains small, however, so it is essential that government continues to provide effective incentives for their uptake – including the Plug-in Car Grant and other measures.”

With more choice of plug-in vehicles than ever, the number of grants awarded is expected to continue increasing rapidly. Ranges from the likes of Audi, BMW, Mitsubishi, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen all feature zero or low-emission models and sales have increased to the extent that 2014’s ULEV sales figure was passed in 2015 with six months to spare.

Source: Next Green Car

Electric Cars Fast Charging (Image:

On the brink of an electric car revolution?

Electric car sales have fallen short of predictions, but the global push to cut carbon emissions and improved techology could see them poised to hit the mainstream, says Renault-Nissan’s head, Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn, the fast-talking head of the Renault-Nissan alliance, is not keen to be drawn on targets for electric car sales. A 2011 prediction of 1.5m Renault-Nissan electric vehicles by 2016 turned out to be wildly optimistic. The group just passed the 250,000 mark.

Ghosn was not alone. President Barack Obama predicted 1m electric cars in the US by 2015: in January the total was 280,000. Virgin boss Richard Branson, adept as ever at grabbing headlines, said this week that “no new road cars will be petrol driven” within 20 years, calling combustion engines “complicated and antiquated”.

Unlike Branson, Ghosn does not want to stick his neck out. But as head of the companies which sell more than half the electric cars in the world, what Ghosn thinks about how fast the market will grow matters.

Transport contributes 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so the fundamental driver will be the ambition of the world in tackling climate change, Ghosn told the Guardian in an interview. “When we know exactly where the EU, US, China will be heading in 2030, I can tell you exactly how much electric cars will be needed,” he says, referring to a crunch UN summit in Paris in November.

Read more: The Guardian

Eight manufacturers to enter Formula E next season

Formula 1 overtaken by Formula E?

Richard Branson, feels that the FIA approved Formula E electric car series will replace Formula 1 as the world’s most watched racing format.

Branson, who owns the Virgin Racing team, was speaking at the final round of the 2015 Formula E season run at Battesea Park in London. The last race of the series, run on Sunday, was won by Sam Bird, who currently races for the billionaire.

Unlike Formula 1, dominated by Mercedes at present, the Formula E championship has seen six different teams winning over the course of 11 rounds. Virgin Racing managed to pick up two victories during the season and ended fifth on the constructors standings.

The Briton believes the product is in a very strong position and will continue to improve, placing Formula 1 under pressure and eventually surpassing it in terms of a global audience, among other factors.

“I think four or five years from now you’ll find Formula E overtaking Formula One in terms of number of people [watching] and more and more, as time goes on, clean energy businesses are going to power ahead of other businesses,” he said.

“There’s still going to be room for Formula One for a few more years but I would say there will come a time when Formula E will overtake it.”

Branson thinks the electric car series has a number of aspects in its favour, not only the close racing it dishes up. Strangely, the fact that the cars are quiet, he believes, make the sport appealing, especially for spectators at the circuit.

“With Formula E, you can still hear the roar of the cars from the tarmac as they come through a corner, but at least you can have a conversation and a drink when you’re watching which you can’t do with Formula One.”

Source: Planet F1

Next Green Car test the Renault ZOE

Next Green Car carry out an indepedent range test

The Renault ZOE has earned a name for itself as the most affordable electric car and you do get a lot of bang for your buck with this all-electric supermini. Innovative purchase options allow you to either buy the car outright or part-purchase the car and rent the battery, an attractive proposition for low mileage drivers or those concerned about battery degradation.

On an independent range test designed by Next Green Car to reflect realistic driving styles on typical roads the ZOE managed to cover 103 miles on a single charge making it suitable for the vast majority of car journeys. The network of rapid AC chargers suitable for use with the ZOE is smaller than for the LEAF (which use rapid DC units) but growing quickly.

Styled to fit in as a ‘normal’ car, the minimalist style inside and out makes the ZOE an attractive city runabout. Five doors, five seats and a big boot for its class make it an ideal second car for the school run, weekly shop and commuting to work and even a great first car for those who don’t need to travel long distances regularly.

Read more: Next Green Car

250k electric vehicles sold by Renault-Nissan Alliance

  • Historic EV milestone reached in early June
  • Alliance sells half of all EVs globally
  • EV sales up nearly 15 per cent through May vs. same period last year
  • Nissan LEAF remains world’s best-selling EV
  • Frenchman from Bordeaux bought 250,000th Alliance EV: a Renault ZOE

PARIS/YOKOHAMA (June 24th, 2015)—The Renault-Nissan Alliance, the world’s leader in zero-emission mobility, has sold its 250,000th electric vehicle: a white Renault ZOE sold to a French engineer.

The Alliance reached the historic milestone in early June, four-and-a-half years after the launch of the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first mass-market zero-emission vehicle. The Alliance today accounts for half of the electric vehicles sold worldwide. Nissan LEAF remains the best-selling electric vehicle of all time, with more than 180,000 units sold.

From January through May, the Alliance sold about 31,700 EVs — up nearly 15 per cent over the same period of last year.

“Demand for our electric vehicles continues to grow thanks to government incentives and the expanding charging infrastructure,”

said Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

“The positive response of our customers is also driving demand.These vehicles enjoy some of the highest levels of satisfaction rates from our customers around the world.”

Frenchman from Bordeaux takes delivery of 250,000th EV

The 250,000th owner is Yves Nivelle, a computer engineer, who traded in his 21-year-old diesel car for the subcompact Renault ZOE. Nivelle bought his EV after the French government introduced an environmental bonus in April to allow owners of older, polluting diesel cars to trade them in and get a rebate of €10,000 on a new EV.

“The government’s environmental bonus was a big factor in my decision to get an EV,” Nivelle said. “But I have to say, I was convinced the first time I drove the car. It’s a real pleasure to drive and it feels good to do my part for the environment.”

Alliance has full range of six 100% EVs; Renault leads in Europe

With six models on the road, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is the only global car group with a full range of 100% electric vehicles. In addition to the LEAF, Nissan also sells the e-NV200 van, which has been on sale in Europe and Japan since last year. In addition to the ZOE, Renault also sells the RenaultKangoo Z.E van, the SM3 Z.E. sedan and the Twizy, a two-seater urban commuter vehicle.

Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan has sold 185,000 electric vehicles worldwide since December 2010, when the Nissan LEAF went on sale. LEAF has collected numerous industry honors, including the 2011 World Car of the Year, European Car of the Year 2011, and Car of the Year Japan 2011-2012. The LEAF is sold in 46 markets. Nissan’s top EV markets are the United States, with about 80,000 sales since LEAF’s launch, Japan with about 53,500 units, and Europe with about 41,500.

Renault, based in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, has sold 65,000 electric vehicles worldwidesince its first model, the Kangoo Z.E., went on sale in October 2011. Kangoo Z.E. was voted International Van of the Year 2012.

Renault was the No.1 EV brand in Europe for the last two months, with a market share of 26 percent. Renault’s top markets are France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Norway. In France, where ZOE is the most popular EV with almost half the market, the government’s environmental bonus allows drivers to lease the ZOE, including the battery, for as little as €99 a month.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance was recently chosen as the official passenger-car provider for the United Nation’s COP21 climate conference in Paris from November 30th to December 11th. The Alliance will provide a fleet of 200 EVs to shuttle delegates to the annual conference.It will be the first time the U.N. will use a zero-emission fleet for its entire passenger car shuttle at a COP event.

Latest electric vehicle developments introduced by Renault

The R240 motor extends ZOE’s range, while the Cargo version of the Twizy facilitates city deliveries

A pioneer of the affordable all-electric vehicle, Groupe Renault is the only manufacturer to offer a comprehensive range of electric cars, which it has just extended with two new innovations.

Courtesy of the R240 motor, customers who use the ZOE for everyday motoring will benefit from improved range. Combined with a battery featuring an electronic management system, the R240 motor increases the ZOE’s range by 30 kilometres to 240 kilometres (NEDC). It also cuts the car’s charging times by an average 10% at public charging stations, thanks to the upgraded Caméléon charger.

The Twizy Cargo is the version of the Twizy designed for transporting goods. Its rear seat has been replaced by a waterproof boot with a 180-litre load-carrying capacity, accessible via a rear door. Just as compact as the Twizy, the Twizy Cargo is the ideal solution for city delivery or rapid intervention companies. It is fully customisable with decals to advertise your business, and cost-effective to use.

The new R240 motor extends ZOE’s range

The ZOE’s new R240 motor is combined with a battery featuring an optimised electronic management system to offer a longer driving range and improved charging performance. Unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the R240 motor went on sale on in the spring (dates varied depending on the country).

More than 25,000 ZOE models are currently on the roads in some 20 countries.

30 kilometres(1) of extra range and 10% faster charging times(2)

The R240 motor’s range, unmatched in the segment, is 240 kilometres (NEDC) – that’s 30 kilometres more than the Q210 motor.

Renault’s engineers improved the motor’s efficiency by optimising its electronic management system.
Improved efficiency helps to cut the ZOE’s electric energy consumption when in use, while delivering the same level of performance. A motor which consumes less energy provides a longer driving range.

Courtesy of the R240 motor, the ZOE’s charging times have been cut by 10% on average compared with the Q210 motor for everyday driving situations.

Renault’s engineers have also upgraded the Caméléon(3) charger in order to shorten charging times at low power levels and increase the ZOE’s range. For each minute the battery is charged, users get extra kilometres of range.

The ZOE’s new motor helps meet a wider range of needs.

The release of the R240 motor underpins Renault’s policy to bring electric motoring to as many people as possible. The motor’s 240-kilometre range (NEDC) ensures greater flexibility for customers who use their ZOE for everyday driving situations. The upgraded Caméléon charger, which is available with the R240 motor, is particularly effective when connected to 3 to 22kW charging points, which make up more than 95% of the charging infrastructure currently installed.
In addition, the Q210 motor will remain on sale in the Renault network, so the ZOE can be charged at 43kW fast charging points, particularly by customers who use motorway corridors.

(1) NEDC. (2) At low power levels. (3) The CaméléonTM charger patented by Renault adapts to the different power levels available at charging points. It is also compatible with all public charging stations.

High-tech, 100% Renault design

The R240, a motor designed and manufactured by Renault, in France.

The R240 motor was designed and developed by Renault’s engineers at the company’s Technocentre southwest of Paris and at the Cléon plant west of Paris, where it is manufactured. This plant is located near Renault’s Flins plant, where the ZOE is built.
(The ZOE was previously available with only one motor, the Q210, built by a supplier in Spain.)

Renault has filed for 95 patents for the motor’s innovative design.

The R240 motor is a synchronous electric motor with rotor coil. It features a power output of 65kW, torque of 220Nm and a built-in Caméléon charger. The R240 motor boasts improved range and charging performance thanks to the optimised electronic management of each component, and its size has been reduced. Renault filed for 95 patents for the motor’s innovative design and architecture.

Renault’s engineers succeeded in cutting the motor’s size by 10% without sacrificing performance.

Although the R240 motor is more compact than the Q210, it boasts the same level of performance (power, torque, etc.) thanks to the engineers’ focus on three main areas:

– Integration: modules are no longer stacked, having been replaced by fully integrated modules.

– Downsizing: smaller modules have been designed and assembled to meet precise requirements (gaps reduced between modules, external power cables removed).

– Simplification: an air cooling system is now used for the assembly (ducts between modules have been removed).

The junction box, the power electronics unit and the Caméléon charger are now in a single unit called the Power Electronic Controller. The unit is 25% smaller.

The R240 underscores Renault’s expertise as an engine and electric motor manufacturer.

To design, develop and manufacture this high-tech motor, Renault Groupe has drawn on its expertise in the development of both internal combustion engines and electric vehicles.
Renault is involved in in the FIA Formula E Championship. Because of its electric vehicle expertise, the Group was chosen as a technical partner to the series. Renault tests EV technology in racing with a view to continually improving the performance of road-going EVs.

Renault’s Cléon plant is a flagship production facility specialising in high value-added engines and gearboxes (Energy engines, Renault Sport engines, etc.). For the past two years, it has been manufacturing the ZOE’s junction box, which was developed by the Technocentre’s engineering centre. The Cléon plant has built on its vast experience to produce the R240 motor’s Power Electronic Controller. The plant has also gained expertise
in coil technology, thanks to upskilling developed within the Alliance.

Source: Renault Media