Renault to Unveil Three Electric Cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show

At the 2009 Frankfurt motor show in September, Renault will show electric versions of two current production vehicles plus one concept car previewing an all-new model.

Renault is being very quiet about the concept car, but has said it will be a small four-door hatchback. Reports suggest it could be based on Renault-Nissan’s B-platform, the same platform the Nissan Cube is based on. A Megane and Kangoo are the two production-ready electric vehicles Renault will show.

Christian Steyer, Renault’s C-segment vehicle development chief, said that all of Renault’s electric cars would feature unique styling — but nothing too radical.

“We want a real signature for our electric range, so when people see one in the street they will know it is a Renault electric car,” Steyer said. “The key is to do this without frightening customers away. Customers must be tempted, and not rushed too fast.”

“Maybe there is room for something very radical to rewrite the design rules that can be found from electric. So far we don’t find it though. But it is certainly possible in the future thanks to the changes and possibilities of battery technology.”

In addition to the three electric vehicles that will be shown, Renault will show its charging systems. Renault has developed a quick-charge plug-in system, a house-based overnight charger, and the most interesting is an automated “Quick Drop” system.

The Quick Drop system is a way for a driver to swap the battery in a vehicle instead of charging it. The swap is done in station the size of a car wash and takes a mere 3 minutes. Renault says the stations will be setup in various key locations.

“For some car users, the economic arguments of electric cars will be too good to resist,” Steyer said. “With the Quick Drop system there is no excuse — you can get a new battery faster than you can fill up with fuel at a pump.”

Source: Autocar