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Full line of electric cars on sale in 2011 - Renault
Old 12-18-2009, 05:19 AM   #1
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Full line of electric cars on sale in 2011 - Renault

Renault is set to release for sale an entire range (4) of electric vehicles in 2011. It will be interesting to see how the public takes to these vehicles. I like the idea of these cars being more mainstream and cheaper to buy. Some really cool technology used in these cars. Read all about it.

Electric car, zero emission vehicle - Renault ZE

And an official Renault vid from Youtube:

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Old 12-18-2009, 07:05 AM   #2
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I think they will sell, not sure I would want to buy one from them until several model years worth of experience is under there belt.
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:39 AM   #3
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I think it is really exciting, too. When you consider that the modern car, stripped of it's computerized overlay, is basically the same old pistons and crankshaft technology of the model T. As battery technology moves forward, I can see all kinds of innovation enabled by interactive advancements in alternative energy production and electrical efficiency.
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:44 AM   #4
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I would consider one if it made sense economically (including market-distorting tax credits). But I'd have to be sure of the reliability.

As of now, their countdown ticker indicates 832 days till you can drive one. That is the end of March, 2012.

I really wonder if these things will be cost effective and practical in the US? Larger driving distances vs. Europe. Much lower gas prices.

Just some back of the envelope math: it says you lease a battery. Let's say the battery costs $5,000 and you drive the car 100,000 miles to exhaust the life of one battery unit (8 years??). Ignoring leasing/financing costs, that works out to 5 cents a mile. My current car gets roughly 30 miles to the gallon, so that works out to $1.50 per gallon of gas "saved". I'm paying $2.50 for gas now. So I only save $1/gallon equivalent (before factoring in up front capital costs for a likely more expensive car and increased electric utility costs).

Any preliminary estimates on costs?

Also, I noted that the mock-up images were labeled "concept". And one of them had built in solar in the roof. Just seems really expensive to have that for what little good it will do to recharge the battery (particularly in the higher latitude European countries where I guess this thing might be most marketable.

It will definitely be interesting to see this come to market. I'd like to see a low end hybrid or electric car for once.
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:56 AM   #5
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The great news is this: A manufacturer has finally found a way to make their electric cars match the performance of their conventional cars. When this electric car runs out of juice and stops moving, it exactly matches the typical behavior of any other Renault. Brilliant!
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:32 AM   #6
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I couldn't find a range per charge on their web site.
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
The great news is this: A manufacturer has finally found a way to make their electric cars match the performance of their conventional cars. When this electric car runs out of juice and stops moving, it exactly matches the typical behavior of any other Renault. Brilliant!


Remember the "Car of the Year" Renault Alliance, and how it was "the one to watch"...........yeahm, the one to watch as it broke down in the middle of nowhere all the time.........
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This Thread is USELESS without pics.........:)
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:36 AM   #8
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I couldn't find a range per charge on their web site.
Yeah, I found the site very lacking in terms of facts, details, specifications, etc. Could be strategic to keep competitors from knowing where they are technically. Or the fact that these are still concept cars and not mass production models yet.
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:59 AM   #9
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Boy, we really have some glass-half-empty types here.

I recall not too long ago when people (including me) said similar things about computers. Too expensive, no real use for it, easier to use a slide rule, too complicated and unreliable....

I'm not gonna run right out and buy one, but I am excited that electric cars have (again) become a focus. They may not be practical for everyone, just as subways don't make a lot of sense in North Dakota, but I see it as a great opportunity to fill an expanding niche, as battery technology improves.
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:07 PM   #10
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Boy, we really have some glass-half-empty types here.

I recall not too long ago when people (including me) said similar things about computers. Too expensive, no real use for it, easier to use a slide rule, too complicated and unreliable....
The glass is twice as large as the storage capacity demands.

Let's hope we don't have to wait a few decades for these things to get fast, cheap, and reliable* like it took for computers. Here's to hoping for a magical Moore's law-like exponential increase in battery storage capacity, efficiency, cost reduction, etc. In the meantime I'll keep pumping 87 octane gasoline into my low cost little imported gas sipper of a car.

* maybe reliable is the wrong choice of words there.
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:34 PM   #11
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PREFACE: I look forward to the day an electric vehicle is a practical and economical alternative for me.

However....

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I really wonder if these things will be cost effective and practical in the US? Larger driving distances vs. Europe. Much lower gas prices.
Important point. It just does not make sense that we will see anything beyond a niche market for these in the US, until they have a sizable market in Europe. If the Europeans are not buying these with their shorter distances and higher gas prices, why would the average American consider one? And France has 80% cheap Nuclear electricity.

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I couldn't find a range per charge on their web site.
I hope the cars are better than their web site. Why have a large monitor when they force you to read text in a 3" x 3" scroll box? After digging, I did see a 100 mile range. Good for some, good 90% of the time for others, but that is a barrier - what do you do the other 10% of the time? I think the VOLT 'extended range' concept makes more sense in the US, unless you are a 100% urban driver.

Not unique to Renault, but I have a real problem labeling these things "Zero Emissions". I bet the average person believes that is true, rather than the fact that these push the emission to the source. Overall, that can lead to a reduction in emissions, and gives the flexibility of using renewables, but it still isn't "zero" and we should not lead people to believe that. A poorly designed "ZE" vehicle could create more pollution than a well designed conventional car.

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Boy, we really have some glass-half-empty types here.

I recall not too long ago when people (including me) said similar things about computers. Too expensive, no real use for it, easier to use a slide rule, too complicated and unreliable....
No, just realists.

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I think it is really exciting, too. When you consider that the modern car, stripped of it's computerized overlay, is basically the same old pistons and crankshaft technology of the model T. As battery technology moves forward, I can see all kinds of innovation enabled by interactive advancements in alternative energy production and electrical efficiency.
The Moore's law that FUEGO references really does not apply to the physics of electric vehicles. The charge/discharge cycle of batteries is already in the 80-90% efficiency range, as are electric motors. There just isn't that much left to squeeze out. They can make improvements in cost, power/weight and power/size ratios - that will help the economics and range, but efficiencies just don't have too much further to go.

And yet, that cranky old piston engine provides better value and performance than anything on the market, and probably will for another decade at least. I say go with the winner, until something better comes along.

-ERD50
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:49 PM   #12
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The Moore's law that FUEGO references really does not apply to the physics of electric vehicles. The charge/discharge cycle of batteries is already in the 80-90% efficiency range, as are electric motors. There just isn't that much left to squeeze out. They can make improvements in cost, power/weight and power/size ratios - that will help the economics and range, but efficiencies just don't have too much further to go.

And yet, that cranky old piston engine provides better value and performance than anything on the market, and probably will for another decade at least. I say go with the winner, until something better comes along.
Yeah, my Moore's law comment was a little tongue in cheek for those who know a little about the technology already.

And the internal combustion engine has come a very long way since the Model T. The Model T got roughly 17 mpg for a 1200 pound car. New compact cars get about twice that fuel efficiency while weighing 100-150% more than the Model T. So roughly 4-6x as efficient? Not bad.

The little changes that have been made to the ICE over the years to squeeze out a little better gas mileage are amazing.
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:51 PM   #13
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........................And yet, that cranky old piston engine provides better value and performance than anything on the market, and probably will for another decade at least. I say go with the winner, until something better comes along.

-ERD50

You're right. It will never work. Forget about it.

Drill baby, drill.
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:04 PM   #14
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You're right. It will never work. Forget about it.
Now your talking like an engineer!



I think nothing will spur development of realistic alternatives more than customers having a realistic view of the cost/benefits. Such a customer is primed to buy when the technology is ready. But if folks buy on emotion and in response to temporary government incentives, the result will be shoddy products and unsatisfied customers.

The domestic solar hot water industry has spent decades trying to recover from the disaster that resulted from the government "help" provided to their industry in the 1970s. The whole mess soured consumers on the concept and ultimately set back the acceptance of this technology. I hope we don't make the same mistake with electric cars.
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:34 PM   #15
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...............I think nothing will spur development of realistic alternatives more than customers having a realistic view of the cost/benefits. Such a customer is primed to buy when the technology is ready. But if folks buy on emotion and in response to temporary government incentives, the result will be shoddy products and unsatisfied customers.................
Right, I'm not here to argue the government's role, I'm a cheerleader for the "we can do it" faction. All great things come from dreamers that should know better.
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:35 PM   #16
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I can't imagine Renault is going to sell them in the USA so what does it matter? Unless they're going to sell them as Nissan's through their "alliance." Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a reasonably priced full EV as a second car, but I'm not expecting it will be a Renault.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:38 PM   #17
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... I'm a cheerleader for the "we can do it" faction. All great things come from dreamers that should know better.
I don't see why you are taking my posts so negatively. They are a realistic, factual view of where we are now, and very likely will be over at least the next few years (probably a decade). Don't shoot the messenger because you don't like the message.

Great things come from dreamers who manage to deal with the realities of the world. Dreams isolated from those realities die on the vine. What did Edison say, "Invention is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration"?

We certainly can "do it". And "it" is to progress on the price/performance ratio of batteries. That is the limiting factor for electric vehicle adoption. Any other problems are minor in comparison ( except for maybe a network of recharge stations, but with really good batteries, that's not much of an issue).

Research is ongoing with batteries. The technology is mature enough, and the motivation has been high enough (for mobile electronics) that I'm not expecting a game-changing moment, but rather continuous improvement. If someone comes up with an overnight success in a lab, great. But either way, the average person will have electric vehicles when they make sense for the average person.

I also wouldn't be surprised if ICE keeps raising the bar. As mature as that technology is, it isn't 90% eff like batteries and motors, so there are some opportunities. There is a 6 cycle engine that has been developed - it injects a small amount of water after the exhaust stroke. The water turns to steam and gives an additional power stroke. It is absorbing heat from the engine that would normally be wasted, so it reduces (eliminates?) the need for a cooling system, making the engine lighter.

There are also mechanical hybrid assists that might make more sense than battery/motor hybrids, pumping oil into a compressed air tank when braking and releasing it to power the pump for acceleration.

Those engineers are dreaming up some pretty good ideas

-ERD50
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:34 PM   #18
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We certainly can "do it"...-ERD50
  • ‘However far modern science and technics have fallen short of their inherent possibilities, they have taught mankind at least one lesson: Nothing is impossible.’ — Lewis Mumford
  • ‘What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.’ — Theodore Roethke
  • ‘The difficult is that which can be done immediately; the impossible that which takes a little longer.’ — George Santayana
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:13 PM   #19
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  • ‘However far modern science and technics have fallen short of their inherent possibilities, they have taught mankind at least one lesson: Nothing is impossible.’ — Lewis Mumford
  • ‘What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.’ — Theodore Roethke
  • ‘The difficult is that which can be done immediately; the impossible that which takes a little longer.’ — George Santayana
I just looked those three up in wikipedia, looked around my house, and I don't have a single product that they developed. I wonder why that is?


heh-heh-heh, I understand the power of dreaming, imagining, thinking outside the box, etc. But the OP was about some cars that are supposed to go into production soon, so I'm responding to the realities of something approaching production.

If we want to dream about possibilities of future technologies, we could talk about the large hadron collider.

Large Hadron Collider - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

-ERD50
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:51 PM   #20
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Once the Dreamliner technology is demonstrated viable I wonder if the same approach could be used to take the weight out of cars
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