As Britney would say: “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah I think I did it again.” I had the opportunity to try another electric car, a Renault this time, and I liked it again. The basic emotions are the same: the feeling of being a novice Batman who silently cruise in the dark metropolis. The kick in the ass when you push the throttle. That vague sense of being “in to the future.” If I can say, maybe all it seemed a little more normal than my recent lap in the Peugeot iON. It is a second experience, for sure, but also the Fluence Z.E. Renault is more a “car” than the Peugeot. The Fluence is not a nice object, but is not the fault of the electric: here is the design of the french middle class that makes it a bit flat. But comfort, quality, material are all those you can find in an average car of this type. The german ones are on another planet (not even all electric though). I was allowed only do a little lap downtown Milan: via Larga, via Visconti di Modrone, Corso Europa and back to Piazza del Duomo, however passing by the Tesla dealership windows was symbolic: a brand/dealer that sells only electric cars, view from inside a fully electric powered car, into the center of an european city in 2011. If this is not the future, it is not far off. The future is certainly the tense of the verbs: there is some aspect to be clarified, but the commitment seems to be enthusiastic.
On top of everything, the Renault attempt to propose a sustainable model. I believe it is clear to everyone that build a “green planet” it is not just a matter of “product”, but also to give access to a fully sustainable process, i.e. the full the capability to recharge and above all the sales formula to lower the costs and spread the diffusion.
On the first point Renault can do little but try to expand as much as possible the charging modes so that we could recharge almost everywhere (hoping that someone will face structural steps in this direction) including a portable-huge-transformer which seems so much a late-Eighties portable phone who would allow you to recharge your car at home…(yes but where? you need kilometers of cable-extention if you live in an average downtown flat).
On the second point, however, Renault made a smart move and offers a full inclusive rental formula or the chance to purchase the car and to rent the vehicle’s battery. Why? Well I think it is a good idea to try to lower costs in general and especially not force us to buy the item (the battery) which will have a crucial development in the coming years in terms of capacity, weight, efficiency and effectiveness.
Renault’s strategy Z.E. (Zero emissions) declaims 4 billion euros investment involving over 2000 people in development (maybe a couple more in the design department could facilitate the operations of spreading). Waiting for a ride on the most ambitious Twizy and Zoe, the best proposal looks like the good old Kangoo ZE. I do not see why it could not immediately become an alternative (compulsory?) for inner city deliveries. With a bit of logistical support by the municipalities, this seems more a likely present than a possible future.