When it premiered in 2012, the production version of the all-electric Renault ZOE offered a driving range of up to 209 km (130 miles) per charge. Well, things have changed since then. Debuting this week at the Paris Motor Show, the latest version of the car nearly doubles that figure, reportedly topping out at 400 km (249 miles).
The secret to the ZOE's increased range lies in its new Z.E. 40 battery pack.
Working in partnership with LG Chem, Renault tweaked the chemistry of the standard battery's lithium-ion cells, increasing their energy density. As a result, the new battery is physically no larger than its predecessor (and not much heavier), yet can store 41 kWh of useful energy as opposed to the older model's 22 kWh.
Charging time is reportedly similar to that of the standard battery, with a 30-minute charge at a public charging point offering about 80 km (50 miles) of driving range.
It should be noted that the 400-km figure is in accordance with the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which has been criticized for delivering fuel economy figures which can't be achieved in everyday use. Acknowledging this, Renault states that the Z.E. 40 should provide about 300 km (186 miles) of range in urban or suburban areas.
The new ZOE equipped with the Z.E. 40 battery will be available for order starting Oct. 1st, with delivery taking place before the end of the year. There is currently no word on pricing, although current European models range from the low to high twenty-thousands in US dollar equivalents.