Renault’s Zoe gets range-stretching engine – but what about the Nissan Leaf?


IHS, the company that also owns a private sector military intelligence network that goes by the name of Jane’s, spotted a new engine that improves the range of Renault’s electric Zoe by 20km. Slated to appear in the 2015 model, the new engine is said to be more “compact, lighter and efficient than the present engine which powers the ZOE, thus offering a range increase of 8%.”

Says IHS (and dammit, could Microsoft’s church-going autocorrect PLEASE stop changing “IHS” to “HIS” whenever I type it, please?????):

“Renault’s new engine, developed in-house, highlights the automakers capabilities and “desire to develop a comprehensive level of expertise in this field”. The synchronous electric motor with wound rotor develops 65kW and peak torque of 220Nm. The motor features an integrated Chameleon charger. The automaker paid attention to three crucial areas: integration, miniaturization and simplification. In integration, the engineers switched from macro-module stacking to fully integrated modules. Also, the engineers designed smaller modules leaving less space between the modules by removing external power supply cables. The junction box, power electronics and Chameleon charger are contained in a single system called Power Electronic Controller, thus reducing the size of this group to 25%. Attention has been paid to keep the system simple by switching to air cooling for the electric motor. That said, only the Power Electronic Controller is continuously cooled by water. The designers have improved the electronic management of the charging process to reduce charging times using low-power infrastructure. The new EV motor is expected to be manufactured at the automaker’s Cléon plant in France.”

Renault’s Zoe and Nissan’s Leaf are Alliance-cousins. Three weeks ago, Renault-Nissan’s co-CEO Carlos Ghosn dropped hints about an upcoming range-doubling battery. We expect this around 2016. Could the range-stretching motor be the first step in that direction? Phone calls and emails to Nissan’s HQ in Yokohama were not returned, and usually, they don’t hide.