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Published on April 25th, 2014 | by James Ayre

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Renault ZOE Hits The Norwegian Market

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April 25th, 2014 by  

The French-designed Renault ZOE electric car is now available for purchase in one of the strongest electric vehicle markets in the world, Norway.

The rather inconspicuous-looking little vehicle was given something of a grand welcome on March 25th at the Olympic stadium in Oslo. The event was even attended by the French ambassador and Norway’s environment minister.

renault-zoe-ze

At the launch, 15 of the ZOEs were available for test-drives on the athletics tracks, and a number of workshops were put together in order to showcase the features of Renault’s new (to Norway) electric car. In particular, a how-to on the “Chameleon” charging system was included. Reportedly, people were waiting in long queues for the opportunity to give the ZOE a go, and more than 100 test drives were given out during the day.

Explaining why the company is only just now entering the Norwegian market, the press release from Renault states:

Why is Renault only launching ZOE in Norway now? For a couple of reasons. Norway was a special case. We needed time to be ready.

Firstly, there was a debate about whether people should lease or buy the battery. Everywhere else in Europe, Renault offers a battery leasing package which works well. But things are different in Norway, and people are used to buying the battery along with the car, also in order to benefit from the fiscal incentive. So, in January, Renault Norway confirmed that (the) ZOE would be available with (the) battery to buy, rather than the leasing solution.

The other obstacle was the electric charging system. Norway’s power network is different to other countries in Europe, so we had to create a package for home use. It includes a wallbox and transformer – the magic kit that lets people charge up at home in just 2 hours!

Now that the ZOE is entering the market, things are beginning to move relatively fast — for example, Renault-Nissan is currently in the process of boosting the publicly available charging infrastructure through the installation of more than 50 fast-charge poles at select Kiwi grocery-store locations.

The company is also planning something called the “TRY ME” ZOE Experience Tour — wherein eight ZOE’s will be toured throughout Norway for a period of eight weeks. The goal is to give out more than a 1,000 test drives during that time period.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Larsen

    The reason they took their time is so they didn’t do what Ford did, they rushed a car to Norway with battery in the luggage room and no fast charging whatsoever, now they complain that we don’t like Ford cars…. Ford has only sold 13 EV cars in Norway while the others sell hundreds every month.

  • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

    For Renault to take so long in adapting the Zoe wall box to the Norwegian grid is worrisome.

    All the more since this seems common practice at Renault. They offer no support in rolling out fast charging infrastructure, totally leaving it up to 3rd parties to provide. They respond slow to, for example, problems with ZE connect service or issues that drivers face with a dashboard that is too reflective (to a point that it can be dangerous).

    And to offer the battery for sale instead of lease is a decision that could be made in a day instead of a year. And should be made everywhere. The obligatory (and expensive) battery lease hurts sales.

    Ah well, it is their loss. Only a few thousand Zoe’s. Who cares?

    Well, I care, since the Zoe is a fantastic little car that I can charge at home in a little more than 2 hours. Not possible with any other affordable EV.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Yeah, the excuses certainly didn’t seem to match the delay for me. Just caught flat-footed it seems.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Hmm, have i missed something? How does the Zoe offer such fast home charging?

      • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

        Yes, the Chameleon charger is a 3 phase charger that can go all the way up to 43 kW. So in effect you have an embedded fast charger.

        A normal wall box (the one that I have) is 3x16A which equates to 11 kVA. In practice, it charges at 8.8 kW, the difference being explained by a cosinus phi of 0.8.

        In theory you could install a 3x32A wall charger at home, enabling an almost full charge in approximately 1 hour. But having a grid connection capable of sustaining that is too expensive for most home owners. And a bit overkill for a battery the size of a Zoe.

        But I know many Dutch Model S owners (that happen to be in a more wealthy segment of the population) do have a 22 kW charger at home and happily pay the higher connection fee.

  • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

    I’m so itching to test drive this one…

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