Tuesday, 4 September 2012



A three day road trip from Liverpool to Wales has proved to one Renault dealer that cars of the future will be plugged in, not filled up.
David Kirkby, Electric Vehicle Specialist at Renault Liverpool, was keen to examine how far the five-seat Renault Fluence Z.E. saloon would go on a fully charged battery.
His journey to the Bryn Bella Guest House in Betws-Y-Coed, Snowdonia is exactly 70 miles from the dealership in Sefton Street, Toxteth, and the visit would include trips to tourist attractions in the region.
“The car has a real world range of around 100 miles depending on driving style and other conditions, so it was going to be interesting to see how the trip affected the range of the vehicle,” said Mr Kirkby.
During his stay he travelled to various locations in the region, taking photographs and recording a promotional video with the owners, before recharging the battery overnight and travelling back to Liverpool the following morning.
Joan and Mark Edwards, who run the Bryn Bella Guest House, were the first in Snowdonia to be awarded gold by the Green Tourism Business Scheme. The B&B became the first in the National Park to install electric car charging points for residents to use for free  during their stay, which allowed Mr Kirkby to recharge the battery in the Fluence Z.E. , the saloon car in the Renault electric vehicle range, on arrival.

The range indicator, on leaving Liverpool, showed a range of 83 miles and Mr Kirkby drove on a range of inner city, rural roads and motorways. “I drove using a very eco style of driving with no sudden acceleration and made use of the regenerative braking wherever possible. The range did decrease when driving up steep gradients, but that was easily regained downhill,” he explained.
During the journey, in road use, the Fluence Z.E. will not have emitted any harmful CO2 emissions or pollutants. The saloon is cheap to run, largely due to less wear and tear and low charging costs.
“The vehicle also performed extremely well using cruise control at speeds around 55mph and as the trip went on I had no range anxiety, infact after driving 62 miles door to door, added 13 miles to the overall charge of the traction battery,” he added.
Overnight a full recharge took 5 hours 40 minutes, showing a 90 mile range and the Renault Fluence Z.E. attracted much attention on its mini adventure to popular tourist attractions in the area starting at the foot of Pen-Y-Pas, the highest you can drive a car up Snowdon.
“After two ascents up this steep gradient the range had reduced to 66 miles, so descending down the Llanberis Pass towards Llanberis, I was able to let the car freewheel down the steep gradient taking full advantage here of the regenerative braking which I was particularly impressed with,” Mr Kirkby said.
“When we reached Llanberis, the starting location of the two famous mountain railways, the range indicator showed 74 miles, an eight mile regain in the range.”
Mr Kirkby drove on to Caernarvon where a drive round the castle attracted a lot of interest, before heading to Greenwood Forest Park, home to the first people powered rollercoaster.
“After this, with the display showing a range of 42 miles it was time to head back to Bryn Bella, for an overnight recharge, where the range on arrival was 19 miles.”
Mr Kirkby spent more time on his return journey to Liverpool on faster roads finding that cruising at 65mph the Fluence Z.E.  performed well. “I arrived back at the showroom with 25 miles of charge still available and covered 220 miles over three days in an electric car which was very impressive.
“The whole point of the trip was to prove that electric vehicles can be used to travel to locations like this, that they can be charged and used to travel around everyday and even whilst on holiday, which often result in longer journeys,” said Mr Kirkby.
“It is also to promote and encourage the fact that we need more locations to install charging facilities.”
Renault Fluence Z.E. is available from £17,850 on the road – taking into account the £5,000 contribution towards the car from the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant a battery lease contract of £75 per month, based on mileage of 6,000 per year over three years.
For more information on Renault’s range of electric vehicles visit Renault Liverpoool at Sefton Street, Toxteth, Liverpool. L8 6PZ. Tel: 0151 552 8000.
Ref: DPR20140

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