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THE order book is open for Renault's new supermini ZOE, ahead of its arrival here in spring to mark a new era of electric vehicles.

Aimed at commuters, and for households who want to reduce their carbon footprint, it has a range of up to 130 miles.

Costing from PS13,650, Renault says the ZOE is the first affordable car for everyday use to have been designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

The newcomer follows in the tyre tracks of the Fluence Z.E. saloon, Kangoo Van Z.E. and the Twizy.

Andy Heiron, UK head of Renault's electric vehicles programme, says: "ZOE will be the spearhead of the Renault Z.E. range. In addition to its compact size, attractive styling and affordable price tag, it showcases Renault's technological excellence when it comes to electric vehicles.

ZOE also heralds the beginning of a new era of electric mobility for all and confirms our commitment to electric vehicles."

The new ZOE will be available in three trim levels of Expression, Dynamique Zen and Dynamique Intens. It is the first vehicle to be equipped with 'Range OptimiZEr,' which combines regenerative braking, a heat pump and Michelin Energy E-V tyres. The range of ZOE is the longest of the electric vehicles in mass production, according to Renault.

Although the benchmark figure is said to be up to 130 miles, in everyday real-life conditions it will be between 60 miles and 90 miles, depending to a degree upon the prevailing air temperature.

Charging batteries at a charging station can take between 30 minutes and nine hours, with 80% of full battery power able to be achieved within 30 minutes using a single type of connection for the car.

ZOE is also the first Renault vehicle to be presented with new multimedia system, Renault R-Link. To enable drivers to control its functions without taking their eyes off the road, R-Link features a seven-inch display, steering wheel-mounted controls and voice recognition. It delivers integrated connectivity with motoring services and applications available from the R-Link Store.

The synchronous electric motor with rotor coil has a power output of 65kW (equivalent to 88bhp) and instantly delivers maximum torque of 220Nm, with a top speed of about 85mph.

For use in built-up areas, the vehicle has an alarm which warns pedestrians it is approaching. The driver can choose between three sounds and it is possible to turn off the warning system via a button.

Programmable pre-conditioning heats or cools the cabin when the vehicle is charging and an activated charcoal cabin air filter blocks pollen and soot from entering.

ZOE Expression costs PS13,650, after the Government Plug-in Car Grant deduction, while the Dynamique Zen and Intens start from PS14,750. Battery hire is from PS70 per month.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 26, 2013
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