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How Close Is Zero Emission Car Leasing?

posted on Jan 11 2010 by Jade Hensby

How Close Is Zero Emission Car Leasing?

No doubt, you'll have seen the latest TV advert by car manufacturer, Renault. I'm sure, like me, you'll be intrigued by their claims that they will be releasing a range of zero emission cars. If you've not seen the advert, you can watch it here on Youtube. In 2011, Renault will become the first car manufacturer to offer a choice of electric car from a range of production models. The Z.E (Zero Emissions) model range is the result of Renault's commitment to provide innovative vehicles that meet the needs of the environment as well as the driver.

So how does the zero emission car work? The car is still, above all, a car. It won't change your routine and you'll do the same things you'd do if it were a conventional combustion engine car. But you might be doing them with even more modern equipment. Energy Management is the majpr challenge facing the electric vehicle. Renault has responded to this by developing a new intelligent navigation system. The system provides you with a vast arrat of information, indicating the following in real time:

  • Remaining operating range in miles.
  • Optimised route according to the operating range and recharge terminals.
  • Location of the nearest recharge terminals and recharging stations.
  • Option of advace reservation of a recharging terminal or battery exchange battery.

Driving a normal vehicle produces considerable pollution during acceleration and when climbing hills; an electric vehicle emits no CO2 or other pollutants. Its engine even takes advantage of the hill descents to convert kinetic energy back into electrical energy, which replenishes the battery. Its instant torque generates constant power and therefore provides smooth motoring with no hesitation during the acceleration phases. After some driving around, the next important consideration for the electric car is recharging the battery.

There are three planned recharge systems: Standard Charge: This will be undertaken whilst the car is parked at the home, or during the working day. It will take between 6 and 8 hours. Fast Charge: This 20-30 minute process is to recharge the 20kWh battery in Urban areas. It will allow you to recharge your vehicle during your lunch, or during a journey to extend the operating range.

Quickdrop Charging: By exchanging your battery for a fully charged battery at 'Quickdrop' stations, you can be fully charged, with a new battery within about 3 minutes. Renault and about 20 or so other car manufacturers are working together to standardise the the high-power multi-purpose electrical socket. This commitment will standardise the charging infrastructure throughout Europe. The electric motor is supplied its power by a lithium-ion battery. This technology is proven to have the best performance of all batteries planned for automotive use -- Thanks to its stored energy to weight ratio. This battery is much lighter and more compact, while delivering 2 to 3 times more energy. Also, lithium-ion batteries do not suffer from the known problem of the 'memory effect' and are well suited to regular recharging, even for short durations of 10 to 15 minutes, there providing completely unrestricted use. The battery has a true capacity of 24kWh, but only 20kWh are made available to prolong the battery's life. The electric motor generates a very high power output of 90% efficiency. This is a huge improvement over the 25% efficiency of conventional combustion engines. The electric car's motor conists of four major components:

  • The charger, which receives the incoming current from the power supply socket to adapt it to the battery charge.
  • The Inverter, which converts the direct current into three phase alternating current.
  • The interconnection box, which distributes the current to the motor and to all of the components.
  • The motor, which converts the electrical energy into kinetic energy and the motor reducer that forms the gearbox.

To see the range of zero emission cars available in 2011, take a look at Renault's site. So to answer the question posed at the start of the post, leasing a zero emission car is still a year or so away. In the meantime, you can still get a great car leasing deal on a car with low carbon emissions from our car leasing website.