Renault forges ahead to develop a new line of electric vehicles. The battery-powered line will feature a compact city car (though, larger than a Twingo), an electric Kangoo and a Megane-based saloon.

Renault is steaming ahead with the development of electric cars and in light of current events - the crumbling of automotive markets, the volatility in oil prices, etc. - it seems like a smart idea and a bright spot of hope in an otherwise bleak automotive world.

Renault has announced the development of three new electric models. The battery-powered line will feature a compact city car (said to be larger than a Twingo), an electric Kangoo and a Megane-based saloon.

Renault said it would use a 1.6 liter 100 hp gasoline car as a benchmark of performance for that Megane-based electric vehicle. The company claims the car will have more flexibility between 30 mph and 70 mph (about 50 km/h and 110 km/h respectively).

And that is true, electric cars do have a lot of torque. It's not the same as the rush of a raging petrol engine but the quiet pull of an electric motor is impressive. Power is not a problem with electric cars, it is power-sourcing.

Renault states that experimental versions of the Kangoo can get a 100 to 120 mile (160 to 190 km) range on an 8 hour charge. Convenient for the daily commuter perhaps but not for long-distance driving.

According to Renault, a network of high-ampere outlets could cut that time in half. They also talk of fast-charge outlets that take 20-30 minutes, but they don't explain the technology.

This seems to be the sorest point of all electric automotive capability. You can't compare a 2 minute gas island fill-up with even a 20 minute (likely more) re-charge that maybe gets you 20 or 30 miles.

But Renault seems serious about putting these cars on the market. The Megan-based sedan is set to debut in 2011 and the Kangoo electric version even sooner. Renault said all three models will be ready by 2012 to be used for VIP transport at the London Olympics.

 

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Renault Working on Three Electric Cars