How can the capacity of a battery be increased without making it bigger? The challenge is to boost the energy density of the battery, that is to say the ratio of the amount of energy it is able to store to the volume it occupies once fully assembled.
To improve the range of the New ZOE, Renault’s engineering wing worked specifically with their supplier, LG Chem, on the shape and arrangement of the lithium-ion cells that make up the battery. Their collaborative work showed that it is possible to increase the storage density by developing cells that are slightly higher than usual.
Combined with improvements in lithium-ion chemical technology, these optimisations have helped the Z.E. 50 battery reach a total capacity of 52 kWh, without taking up any more room than the battery of the last generation. Thus it still fits just as seamlessly into the chassis that Renault developed for its electric city car, without impacting the vehicle’s dynamic handling, nor the comfort of its interior.
The Z.E. 50 battery is now also the product of a manufacturing process mainly based in Europe. Built by LG Chem at its industrial site in Wroclaw, Poland, the lithium-ion cells are assembled into units before being sent to the Cléon factory in France where Renault handles the further assembly of the battery’s different components.
Capacity is one thing, but range also depends on the constant pursuit of energy efficiency, which refers to the optimal ratio of power consumed to the number of kilometres travelled. On board a ZOE, for example, a heat pump helps ensure the comfort of the passengers while using less electricity than traditional heating elements.
In the same spirit, regenerative braking and ECO mode encourage the driver to adopt as smooth a driving style as possible to make the most of their electric car’s battery capacity. A feature like pre-conditioning the passenger compartment before leaving, which can be controlled through the MY Renault application, serves the same purpose: the temperature inside the car can be set at 21°C while it is still charging, thus lowering battery usage once on the road.
The bottom line: with an operating range of up to 395 kilometres according to the WLTP* protocol and a capacity of 52 kWh, the New ZOE provides one of the best ratios of stored energy available to distance travelledon the market market.
* WLTP range, Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedures (standardised cycle: 57% urban driving, 25% suburban driving, 18% highway driving).
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