EV endurance record broken with Renault Zoe

A motor racing charity managed 683.5km on a single charge, but it’s a matter of slow and steady wins the race.

A standard Renault Zoe has travelled almost 690km on a single charge, smashing the previous record of 564km, also achieved in a Zoe in 2018. The record-breaking Zoe, an E-Tech R135 EV 50 GT Line, covered precisely 683.5km at Thruxton race circuit in a hypermile efficiency drive lasting almost 25 hours and at an average speed of 30kph.

It was accompanied by an identical model but fitted with a different type of low-rolling resistance tyre manufactured by Enso, a new, eco-friendly manufacturer. So fitted, this model covered no less than 765km, equivalent to an 11.9 per cent increase on the regular Zoe. The ranges both cars achieved contrast with the Zoe’s official WLTP range of 394km, albeit one achieved across a far broader range of speeds and conditions.

Other than the special Enso tyres fitted to one of the cars, the Zoes were completely standard and supplied by Hendy, a car dealer group. To boost their efficiency, all comfort features, including heating and air-conditioning, were switched off but the tyres were inflated to the standard pressures. To conserve battery energy at night, the headlights weren’t used; instead, the drivers wore night-vision goggles and were guided only by the cars’ daytime running lights that illuminated fluorescent markers on the track.

The Zoes were driven by members of Mission Motorsport, an armed services charity that helps rehabilitate veterans. Six drivers took part in the exercise, each taking turns to drive 32km stints. To avoid factors such as body weight and driving style skewing the results, the participants drove both cars.

The previous hypermile record was achieved by just one driver on the Boulevard Périphérique in Paris. In part thanks to strategies that included tailgating trucks, his Zoe returned 12.7km per kWh. This compares with 12.6km achieved by the standard Zoe R135 EV 50 and 16.8km by the Zoe running on Enso tyres.

During their stints at the wheels of the Zoes, the drivers drove in their bare feet, feathering the throttle with their toes and picking out the best and least charge-sapping lines. Linda Noble, one of the drivers, said, “I’m alternating between exhaustion and excitement. It was boiling during the day without air conditioning and cold at night without any heating but I loved every minute of the challenge and am very proud of the team.”

John Evans

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