Why Renault might spark the Electric Car revolution
The electric car revolution clearly hasn’t happened yet in Ireland. Sales of the Nissan Leaf, a car Nissan spent significant amounts of money on launching have really failed to ignite. Nissan has sold the same amount of Leaf’s as Range Rover Sports and that isn’t a statistic that the electric car evangelists will be too proud of at all.
But while Nissan has been standing alone to a degree (if we ignore the iMiev which wasn’t really marketed to the general public) they are to be joined by Renault in the coming months and having seen just how they have taken the car market by storm, few would discount their ability to wedge us all into electric cars.
We spent the early part of this week in Lisbon, driving the production versions of the Renault Fluence Z.E and Kangoo Z.E, which will be the first of an array of electric cars to be launched by the French brand. We have tried prototype versions of these on various occasions but this is the first time that anyone has driven the versions which will be available to buy in Ireland in the coming months.
Unlike other markets in Europe, including the U.K we are well used to the Fluence and the diesel model has been selling very well since it arrives around two years ago. At 4,788mm the Z.E version is 130mm longer than the standard car so as not to reduce the luggage space. The addition of the lithium-ion batteries adds 280kg and takes up some space, so these changes do make the car more substantial, even if it has made the styling a little on the awkward side.
There are some subtle styling changes compared to the car we are used to, with a new front grille design and a rear diffuser on the front bumper.
We will bring you driving impressions and more details on the new car in next Wednesday’s Irish Times Motors.