Renault has unveiled the final designs of its Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Van Z.E. (zero emission) vehicles and has opened up a website for prospective buyers to pre-reserve theirs to be among the world’s first owners.
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Both cars are due for release next year, with production of the Fluence Z.E. to begin in the first half of the year in Bursa, Turkey, alongside the internal combustion model.

Standing at 4.75m (13cm longer than the standard version to accommodate the battery behind the rear seats), the Fluence Z.E. will become the C-segment’s first production saloon EV.

Powered by a synchronous electric motor with rotor coil, peak power is 70kW at 11,000rpm while maximum torque is 226Nm.

The 250kg lithium-ion battery can be fully charged at home in six to eight hours, fast charged at a 32A 400V supply station in 30 minutes or swapped entirely at a QuickDrop battery switch station in approximately three minutes.

Range tops out at 160km while the top speed is electronically limited to 135km/h.

Inside, the transmission positions point to the future of EV mobility: “parking”, “neutral”, “reverse” and the passionless, robotic “forward”. Other distinguishing features include the range and charge counter, which replaces the rev counter, and scatterings of blue, Renault’s colour of choice to represent “green”.

Outside, the taut, fluid lines of the Fluence Z.E. Concept from the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show have been preserved, and the lamps and badging continue the blue theme.

Renault has made dragging the filler hose over the bonnet a thing of the past with battery charge flaps on both front wings.

The Kangoo Van Z.E. has the same 160km range and will be released in the first half of 2011.

Renault has designed the Kangoo Z.E. for urban businesses, packing the same carrying capacity and payload as the internal combustion version but offering the practicality of lower running costs, no gear changes, silent ride and immediate delivery of torque from start up.

Powered by a 44kW electric motor, the Kangoo revs to 10,500rpm and delivers a constant 226Nm of torque. Energy efficiency of 90 percent (compared to internal combustion’s 25 percent) means that for every 10kWh of energy it consumes, 9kWh is transmitted to the wheels, compared with 2.5kWh for internal combustion.

Anticipating that EVs will account for 10 percent of the world market by 2020, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is investing heavily in EV technology, significantly through a four billion euro ($AU5.8 billion) investment in its zero emissions programme and a 2000-strong team evenly split between Renault and Nissan.

Batteries for Z.E. badged vehicles will initially be purchased from Japan before internal production commences in five countries across Asia, America and Europe, capable of producing 475,000 batteries per year.

Renault is already committed to providing Israel and Denmark with 100,000 Fluence Z.E.s between now and 2016, with the rest of Europe to also take delivery over this period.

Australia is on Renault’s radar as a future EV market after last year signing a partnership agreement with the State of Victoria aimed at preparing the market and establishing the necessary infrastructure for the mass marketing of EVs.

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