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Old 01-13-2010, 01:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Renault was concerned about 60 cent gas while we were enjoying 27 cent gas, and we were laughing then. Who is laughing now??!? Not so much laughing now that gas is WAY up there in price. I think Renault and Nissan are still building power stations in CA. I hope Renault gets more involved in US transportation. In the North American Auto Show were photos of a Triac and a Tango EVs and several hybrids. I hope Renault is in that show.

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Old 01-13-2010, 06:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
I remember Cropley's Tata Nano review - he was surprisingly impressed.

He's definitely not cut from the same cloth as the average reviewer. Especially not the same cloth as the average North American reviewer! (And I think that's a good thing.... meaning he doesn't drink the same "POWAAAHH!" Kool-Aid that the majority of the motoring press seems to.)
You're right, Cropley was very positive about the Nano. His accompanying article in Autocar magazine was excellent.

He seems significantly more down-to-earth than many reviewers which is refreshing - yet he can't be criticised for being too down to earth either, given that he says the best car he drove in 2009 was Rolls Royce's new Ghost! Even that though is reassuring as it means he has some perspective - he doesn't solely drive tiny city cars all the time.

I share his excitement for the Twizy though. It'll be as important in 2013 as the Smart was back in 1998. And it's worth remembering that Nicolas Hayek of Swatch actually wanted the Smart to be electric all the way back then - perhaps Renault will be the company to finally kick electric powertrains into the mainstream.
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Old 01-13-2010, 07:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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AJI -

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Originally Posted by AJI View Post
Apologies for digging the thread up, but better this than starting a new one on the same subject.

Surprises me how little love there seems to be for these electric concepts, given not only how important they are (Renault is making a massive commitment and taking quite a risk releasing four EVs all at the same time), but also that most of the criticism seems to be aimed at their styling, in a forum that likes the Prius and likes Geo Metros and Honda Civics covered in bits of coroplast...

...
I think your statement dovetails nicely into what I just read at the Edison2 blog :

Edison2: The Very Light Car (X PRIZE Contender) - The Very Light Blog
Quote:
The car I liked the most is ironically an electric car. The Audi E-tron 2. It is distinguished by its small and clean shape. It is a niche car with impressive (by electric car standards) performance standards. They confirmed that their 0-60 record times can only be done a very few times in a row. I guess that is physics.

I thought that all the companies – Toyota, Audi, GM, etc – are somewhat time inappropriate as they are still rolling out ever larger more feature ridden examples of the same idea. However in auto introduction what we see today is what was laid out 2 to 4 years ago.
I found the above when I was reading this thread :

http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ery-11841.html

I think you are seeing a predominately engineer's POV, aka form follows function. In this case, the form of the car does not follow the function of aerodynamic improvement, so the form is bad.

For the record, I understand your POV. The big boys are trying, but they're (literally) dragging all their baggage with them (and putting it into the trunk, making everything even heavier). They feel they *have* to provide a car that supplies at least all of the amenities of a compact car because they think they can't make money without meeting that standard.

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Old 01-13-2010, 08:05 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think you are seeing a predominately engineer's POV, aka form follows function. In this case, the form of the car does not follow the function of aerodynamic improvement, so the form is bad.
I know what you're saying. I'll concur that none of the Renault EVs look particularly aero-influenced (though the Zoe and Fluence don't look too bad aerodynamically - see the pics below). With the Twizy, I'd argue that it doesn't matter, as it's a city car with a very limited top speed (only 40 or 50mph if I recall correctly) and it'll spend much of it's time doing even less than that, in stop-start city traffic. Aero in this instance is far less important than outright utility, and function can give way to form as far as styling goes.

Zoe


Fluence


The same can perhaps be said about the Kangoo EV van - as a small delivery van it'll spend almost all it's time in a city environment (limited range will take care of that too, of course) and of course with commercial vehicles, "function" is related to carrying capacity rather than aero efficiency.

Quote:
For the record, I understand your POV. The big boys are trying, but they're (literally) dragging all their baggage with them (and putting it into the trunk, making everything even heavier). They feel they *have* to provide a car that supplies at least all of the amenities of a compact car because they think they can't make money without meeting that standard.
To be fair on Renault and other big automakers, they do have to provide a car that supplies the normal amenities, because the challenge is weaning the general public off the sort of cars they're used to. I suspect, if I straw-polled people I know, I'd actually find a lot of people (petrolheads aside) who'd be interested in driving an electric car provided that it a) offered them everything a normal car "should" offer them, and b) they didn't have to make too many range/recharging-related compromises. The second issue is the biggest one really, but that'll come in due course.

For the time being, Renault are probably doing the right thing by making EVs that are very much like "normal" cars.

And function aside, I think the Zoe and Fluence are very attractive designs, and the Twizy and Kangoo are "interesting", in a good way.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:22 PM   #15 (permalink)
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AJI -

I agree that the Zoe is a good looking design. If I have time, maybe I'll run it through Flow Illustrator. The Fluence is a conventional car design based on the Samsumg SM3, but with a flashy exterior for the show. I know about the Samsung because it was supposed to be the new car in the now dead Penske/Saturn deal :



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Old 01-13-2010, 09:10 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I agree that the Zoe is a good looking design. If I have time, maybe I'll run it through Flow Illustrator.
That'd be really interesting to see

Quote:
The Fluence is a conventional car design based on the Samsumg SM3, but with a flashy exterior for the show.
I'd forgotten about the Samsung connection, actually. That car is essentially a Renault anyway, as Samsung have a share in Renault (or the other way around - I forget). If Wikipedia is to be believed, the SM3 is based on the Nissan Bluebird Sylphy which in turn is on Nissan's B-platform, which is used by the Renault Clio, Modus and Twingo. The production Fluence (below) seems heavily Megane-influenced though - as far as I'm aware the interior is identical to the current Megane.



What this does make me wonder is whether the Fluence's electric drivetrain will slot happily into the current or next-gen Megane or not - if Renault are after volume EV sales the Megane seems like a reasonable option.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:19 AM   #17 (permalink)
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AJI -

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJI View Post
That'd be really interesting to see

...
Here ya' go :



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Old 01-14-2010, 02:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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id drive the little one

it looks like a step up from a GEM anyhow

hopefully its weird enough so people wont steal it
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:11 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
Here ya' go :

*youtube vid*

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Thanks Interesting to see on a concept.

I've not been a regular posted on EM for too long, though I have seen a few of those flow vids before. As far as I can tell, the Zoe actually looks pretty good, though flow from underneath the car seems to be spoiling the flow of attached air over the roof, am I right? Flow over the roof seems to be quite good otherwise.
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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AJI -

The Flow Illustrator is a tricky animal. The thread on it is a monster to read.

Flow from under the car will always be bad. My interpretation is that the curving downslope is too much, aka like a VW Beetle. I think it needs to be extended like so :



I say this because I think I am seeing a "virtual kamm-back" (or boat tail?!?!?) forming in the swirls. Notice that this makes it look like the new Prius and Insight. More interior volume too!

Articles I have read state that the Zoe does deploy a spoiler at highway speeds (just like the new VW Beetle), so maybe they are accounting for what I think is needed.

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