In case you haven’t noticed, I have been focusing my posts on more sporty, fun, and sexy green car posts than in the past. Yet not every record requires a high-performance car, and with electric cars still in their infancy, there are lots and lots of records up for grabs. The latest record-setter is the Renault Zoe, an all-electric car that has just set the 24 hour distance record for battery-powered automobiles, going over 1,000 miles in a single day powered by nothing but batteries.
But how? A common knock against electric vehicles is their long recharge time, and the Renault Zoe can, at best, go around 130 miles on a single charge. Cars like the Nissan Leaf can take the better part of a day to charge up from a normal household socket, and even a 240-volt Level 2 fast charger can take six-plus hours.
But the two Renault Zoe’s were being tested on a closed loop circuit with a uber-fast Level 3 charger, which took just 30 minutes to juice the battery back up to 80% capacity. The two Zoe EV’s recharged a total of 18 times during the 24 hours, with one car going 935 miles and the other 1,005 miles. Both runs beat the previous record of 795 miles handily. Renault expects the Zoe to sell much better than the Nissan Leaf, thanks to a battery leasing program that drastically reduces the up-front cost of the French EV. Sales are slated to begin this fall.
It seems the key to electric cars success might be the Level 3 rapid chargers. With a half-hour refill time, electric cars could become a whole lot more practical for around town errand running or even medium-distance journeys. Sure, this isn’t the most exciting record electric cars have beaten, but it will be an important one to the eventual acceptance of EV’s into the mainstream.