Renault Powers Up for RAC Future Car Challenge

In Renault by Jonathan HumphreyLeave a Comment

The Future Car Challenge a real-world test of current and future vehicle technology.

Renault UK have four entries ready for this year’s RAC Future Car Challenge including the neat Renault Zoe a car I am very keen on. The event is taking place on 3 November. Renault have joined Vauxhall and Jaguar as major manufacturers supporting the event.


The 2012 RAC Future Car Challenge, which is owned by the Royal Automobile Club, and sponsored by RAC Motoring Services, was first introduced in 2010 to showcase low energy use vehicles. It features competitors driving electric, hybrid, hydrogen and low-emission conventional petrol and diesel cars on a 63-mile route from Brighton to London. Now recognised as the world’s leading low-energy driving challenge, the event is unique in being free to the public to spectate and a real-world test of current and future vehicle technology.

Speaking about the company’s reasons for entering the RAC Future Car Challenge, Andy Heiron, Head of Electric Vehicle Programme, Renault UK, said: “Our main aim is to demonstrate through a combination of the coverage the vehicles and the event get and the independently validated results that electric vehicles are a practical, viable alternative to the internal combustion engine for a significant proportion of car buyers. We would hope to generate coverage and interest in the ZOE and use the results to validate what sort of range figures can be achieved in ‘real world’ conditions when an EV is well driven.”


Renault has entered its new flagship electric car, the ZOE, which was shown ‘in the metal’ for the first time earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show. The five-door ‘supermini’ has an official range of up 130 miles and can be charged to 80% of its capacity in half an hour. Renault UK’s other entries are a new low-emission Clio 4, a Kangoo Van Z.E. and Fluence Z.E. The fourth generation Clio will be launched in the UK in early 2013 and will use the company’s new three-cylinder Energy TCe90 engine – which returns 65.9mpg and CO2 emissions rated at 99g/km. The Kangoo Van Z.E. is an all-electric vehicle with a range between charges in excess of 100 miles, while the Fluence Z.E. is a battery-powered version of the company’s compact saloon. Councillor Bill Randall Mayor of Brighton & Hove take part in the RAC Future Car Challenge.

Andy Heiron says: “With a range of four 100 per cent electric vehicles, Renault have made a clear commitment to making electric vehicles a mass market reality and with a total investment by the Renault-Nissan Alliance of 4B€ have positioned themselves as the leaders in this sector. We believe that a product portfolio of attractive, affordable ZE products will become an increasingly significant proportion of our sales mix and as such make a major contribution to achieving EC emission targets.”

Vauxhall Motors has entered three different vehicles and Jaguar Land Rover has entered three Jaguar XJ_e PHEV models – the RAC Future Car Challenge will be the first time this model is seen on public roads in the UK. There have been a number of interesting entries from independent manufacturers including the Cree SAM moto-e3 from Germany, the XAM 2.0 (designed and built by 50 Italian and foreign students from the Polytechnic of Turin), a Vortex EV (from UK-based Russ Sciville) and a Morgan Plus E from Zytek (a UK specialist powertrain and vehicle engineering enterprise).

Predictions of the future impact of low energy use vehicles vary. Andy Heiron says: “We forecast that ‘plug-in cars’ will represent 10 per cent of global sales by 2020 and through a combination of EV-friendly policy, driver behaviour and high fossil-fuel prices the UK should be at this level, or higher.”

Paul Bostock, Hybrids & Electrification Strategy, Jaguar/Land Rover Product Development, says: “Industry experts predict that between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of UK cars will have some form of hybridisation or electrification by 2020.”

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