In September 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed Volkswagen’s use of illegal “defeat device” software in its diesel cars.
The software routines allowed cars to pass emissions tests while still producing up to 35 times the legal limits of nitrogen oxides in real-world driving, setting off a scandal that is still being dealt with.
Volkswagen is proceeding with buybacks and modifications of affected cars, both in North America and Europe, but the excess pollution may have already had a significant public-health effect.
Excess emissions generated by Volkswagen diesel cars between 2008 and 2015 will cause 1,200 premature deaths in Europe, according to a new MIT study (via ScienceDaily).
Published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the study looked only at the emissions from affected cars sold in VW’s home market of Germany, which researchers pegged at 2.6 million.
That number includes cars sold under the main Volkswagen brand, as well as Audi, Seat, and Skoda.
It also dwarfs the roughly 560,000 cars in the U.S. confirmed to have illegal “defeat device” software, and that are subject to settlements mandating buybacks, modifications, and restitution for owners.
While the diesel vehicles studied were sold only in Germany, their emissions affected people in other European countries, according to the study.
Of the 1,200 premature deaths predicted by the study, 500 were in Germany, while the rest were in other countries.
It’s just like the original Zoe, but this version of Renault’s electric car goes on and on.
Portugal, Renault, and electric cars are becoming indivisibly linked in my mind. I test drove the Renault Fluence in Lisbon in November 2011, and then the Renault Zoe a few miles up the coast in March 2013. I liked both cars, but with effective touring ranges of around 80 miles, I’d be the first to admit they had their limitations.
The latest version of the Zoe, the Z.E. 40, is an attempt to address that limitation. While the 2013 model had a 22kWh battery, the 2017 incarnation packs nearly twice as much energy: 41kWh, to be precise, with a real-world range of about 190 miles.
Same-sized battery, twice the range
The increase in battery capacity is a pretty impressive achievement when you consider that the lithium-ion pack occupies the same space as the old unit and weighs only 15 kilos more.
Developed by LG Chem, the new battery has improved chemistry and a redesigned internal structure that has increased the active surface area within the cells by 10 percent. The individual cells are now also thicker and the empty space between them has been reduced. If that all sounds a bit vague, it’s because neither Renault or LG Chem are about to spill the really interesting technical beans.
The end result of fitting a higher-capacity battery is that the Zoe 40 has an NEDC-certified range of 250 miles or, as Renault freely admits, a real-world summer range of 186 miles. It reckons that figure drops to 124 miles in full-on winter running.
Fair weather notwithstanding I didn’t quite manage to hit that magic 186-mile range. On two long-distance runs that included a mix of high-speed motorway driving and energetic hustling along Portugal’s back roads, I managed to get 175 and 163 miles from two full charges.
The second run included a rapid approach into Lisbon along the A8 from Caldas da Rainha with my foot down and the Zoe bowling along at close to its maximum speed. The weather was mild during the test so the climate-control system was seldom needed, but a fair amount of night-time driving was involved. The Zoe’s headlights may be efficient but they are also dismal.
Considering that on both days of the test I found myself running behind schedule and was therefore driving in a manner that I’d politely describe as energetic, I was happy with those range numbers. Improving on them really wouldn’t have been difficult.
But as with all electric cars it’s the psychology of range that is as important as the actuality. Because each morning the Zoe 40 told me I had a minimum of around 180 miles of range rather than 90 I didn’t experience the kind of range anxiety induced by the original model.
Even when forced to double back in the middle of nowhere because of a flooded road, take a 15 mile detour, and drive down a rutted track in the pitch dark (satnavs and Portugal are not a stellar combination), my range-sphincter didn’t pucker.
The new battery has an ‘official’ NEDC range of 250 miles equivalent to a highly impressive real-world range of 170-200 miles in temperate conditions (reducing to 120-130 miles in extreme cold conditions). This ZOE is available in new colours, including red for the first time, and there are other detail changes – full details are here and here.
We are offering a Renault ZOE R90 with Z.E.40 battery on 3 year PCP; this stands for Personal Contract Purchase and is currently the most popular way to buy a car because of its flexibility. You put down a deposit, pay an affordable monthly fee (less than many people spend just on petrol), and drive away a new carwith fuel included. At the end of the three year term you can choose to pay an optional lump sum and keep the car, or you can just give the car back and upgrade to the latest model.
It’s like a mobile phone contract, but with miles rather than minutes included.
The new ZOE Z.E.40 comes in two versions, the Dynamique Nav and the Signature Nav. The Dynamique Nav is well specified with TomTom® satnav, climate control, electric windows, heated mirrors, cruise control & speed limiter, Bluetooth, remote control of climate control and charging, 16″ alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, and rear parking sensors.
The Signature Nav adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, BOSE® audio system, and rear camera.
The other terms are as follows:
There’s an initial payment (‘deposit’), as specified, when you order.
There is a Rapid charge option (‘Q90’) for £22 per month.
A finance fee of £99 will be added to the first monthly payment.
All prices include VAT (these offers are only available to private customers).
The excess mileage fee is typically 16p per mile (8p for car, 8p for battery).
Fuel included: you get free electricity over the contract term as listed above (this is at the Economy 7 rate but you are not required to switch to Economy 7).
You get free road tax and congestion charge exemption.
You get a free home charge point paid for by Renault.
You get free breakdown recovery, and telephone and email support.
Coverage: We have bases and electric car suppliers in Milton Keynes, St Albans, London, Northampton, Bedford, Cannock, Leicester and Liverpool allowing us to supply all around the Midlands (including London, Luton, Oxford, Rugby, Kettering, Coventry, Nottingham and Birmingham). However we can deliver all around the country – just contact us for details.
Cenex – the UK’s first centre of excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies – has announced its participation in the European leg of the Global Electric Vehicle Road Trip and E-Mobility Events, a 6,500 km long road trip through ten European countries, from 25 April to 10 May, showcasing the best of electric vehicle technology and innovation.
As a leader in accelerating Europe’s adoption of low carbon transportation technology and innovation, Cenex will speak at the tour’s two high-level industry conferences in London (25 April) and Paris (9 May). At these conferences and a series of roundtable events, Cenex will offer EVRT’s international audience of transportation and technology experts insight into the continent’s recent advancements in vehicle to grid technology and Cenex’s work piloting innovative low carbon transportation solutions in European cities.
Some of Global EVRT’s fleet of over 10 electric vehicles will be fitted with Cenex’s new CLEAR Capture plug-in device, a new product that captures the real-world driving data needed to provide reliable, accurate and unique whole life costs, operational performance and emissions savings of switching from a conventional vehicle to a low emissions vehicle.
Robert Evans, CEO at Cenex, said,
“Cenex is excited to partner with the Global EV Road Trip to raise awareness of the innovative work being done to put more electric vehicles on the road here in the UK, and across Europe. For the last decade Cenex has worked to bring policy makers and the supply chain together to pilot innovative programs that accelerate the adoption of low carbon transportation. The upcoming European EV Road Trip and events gives us the opportunity to amplify our efforts to encourage innovation in the low carbon vehicle sector.”