back to article Renault looks to wee-hued windows to cut car power draw

Say 'bonjour' to Renault's electric city car concept, the imaginately monikered ZE - for 'Zero Emission', if you have to ask - which it expects to put into full-scale production three years down the 'pike. The ZE is a Renault Kangoo Be Bop, itself derived from a compact concept car Renault unveiled last year. Strip out the Be …


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  1. M

    I like it!

    Not as much as the little Mazda Kiyora concept car though as that is pure win.

  2. Tanuki

    Wipe Clean.

    The interior looks like a gynecological clinic that's been 'restyled' by Apple.

  3. Andy Worth

    Look at it.....

    I don't think that I would be out of order in saying that it is one fuck ugly car. It bemuses me that they have removed the "air hindering" mirrors but left the thing shaped somewhat like a brick. Surely the amount of air resistance a mirror causes would be tiny (if you used properly aerodynamically designed mirrors) as opposed to the very real electrical draw caused by the cameras and screen(s).

    Honestly, it's the sort of car that you'd buy when you're pissed and then look at it the following morning wondering how drunk you must have been to fancy it.

  4. Martin Lyne

    I probably..

    shouldn't like that as much as I do :/

  5. Hetore Del Faveri
    Dead Vulture


    What a lazy article, the most important thing is missing:

    How many hours will last the batteries?

  6. JP Sistenich

    Traffic lights?

    How are you meant to notice a red light with yellow-tinted windows?

    STOP! As you won't be able to see it.

  7. Lisa Parratt

    Heated steering wheel?

    I had heated grips on my bike, yet my feet still felt the freezing cold of winter.

  8. breakfast

    Clever psychology

    It may be psychological that a driver feels warm if their hands are warm, maybe, if they are going from a warm house to their car. If they've been out in the cold wet fields, walking on winter moors or january surfing you can bet that they'll want actual real heat capable of keeping hypothermia at bay on the drive home.

    Also, presumably, passengers don't need to be warm?

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Hmm - so get rid of the "wind resistance with the wing mirrors" - yet have a crazily aerodynamically in-efficient shape for the rest of the car ?

    Where's the tapered rear for better air flow ?

    Idiots - so focused on the minutiae, they miss the blinking obvious.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    I have a headache just looking at the pictures..

    Inside, bright day, migraine city.

  11. Cliff

    Fairground flashbacks

    It's a posh dodgem, isn't it?

    Actually I quite like it, not the design itself, but that someone is at least taking the effort to think seriously about reducing energy use as opposed to making ever-heavier gas-guzzlers like our over the pond neighbours.

    No, of course it'll never make production as-is, but concept cars are there to set a direction and ideas can be incorporated slowly as they make sense. The insulated panels make sense, and can likely be produced on a standard line with few changes - we'll be seeing those pretty quickly I'm sure. The hued glass may be initially hidden in just plain slightly yellowy tinted windows, cameras instead of mirrors make sense as they really do stir up vortices and cameras are cool and trendy by comparison (and more expensive to fix, mind!), seats can be just as comfy or moreso when made with modern ideas and lightweight materials, etc. We'll see quite a few of these ideas drib and drab into standard models in the next few years I'm certain.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    I would like to anounce

    My entry into the Eco transport market.

    I will be selling 1hp personal transport devices with optional multi-passenger and or freight transport attachments.

    The device runs on bio fuel and the main emissions are organic fertilizer.

    It comes with a heated seat and a lifetime upholstry garentee.

    It is made entirely out of recycled material

    It has a life expectancy of around 10 years and when it reaches the end of it's life it is entirely biodegradable, and parts of it can even be recycled.

    It is proven technology having been used for thousands of years.

    It is an all terrain vehicle.

    It is road tax exempt, free to park and does not require registration with the DVLA.

    It is capable of 30mph and has an unlimited range.

    It is self replicating (when bought as a matching set) and capable of self repair.

    It has the worlds most advanced auto pilot.

    and you won't even have to look like you are riding around in a gold fish bowl full of piss.

  13. Tom Silver badge

    Do you have to order it in your size?

    It looks like the seats don't move, how do you adjust it to your size, or is it like a pair of shoes and you have to order one in your size?

    At least you can't lose things under the seat :)

  14. Matthew Joyce

    Re: breakfast (odd name, but I'll believe you)

    Passenger, singular. There are only two seats. No doubt the glovebox holds a spare steering wheel for them to play with.

  15. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Solar cells...?

    Please tell me that the production model will have a full-roof-area solar panel, rather than the artfully (?) arranged cells dotting the roof windows like so much high-tech pigeon poo!

    ...and what's with the smiley grill? Did somebody watch "Cars" a few too many times while designing this thing?

    On the plus side -- it looks like it'll be easy to hose out after a night out with the guys!

  16. Matt

    Don't you

    think it looks like something the kids would build from lego?

  17. Chris Hamilton

    Any chances.....

    .... of a decent electric car, that actually looks like a car?

    I actually like the styling of current cars, and don't really understand why whenever a new propulsion system is brought out, the car has to look like something out of a steven spielberg film!

    I am fairly certain also, that wing mirrors can be aerodynamically designed. I used to have a late 90's Vectra and its wing mirrors swooped out of the wings, rather than like barn doors out of the sides. It was also the most aerodynamic car in its class at the time! Can you imagine how much fun the local yobbos would take in swiping the cameras or just knocking them off for fun.

    I'm not sure the "Createur d'Automobiles" is on to a winner with this one.

  18. Bruno Girin
    Thumb Up

    @Chris Hamilton

    Do you mean cars that look like this: ?

    On the other hand, as said above, the interesting aspect of this Renault concept car is that it introduces a number of interesting technologies. It will probably be different when it comes out of production but by the looks of it, it's not that removed from their recent models like the newer Clio or Modus so should do rather well.

  19. Elmer Phud

    Whaddayamean . . .

    . . . it's not an El Reg Playmobile car?

    I'm sure I've seen it lurking in the background of some of the displays.

    Yellow windows -- that'd be the model with the built in Wii.

  20. Hywel Thomas

    Kangoo, not Kangaroo

    It's a concept. Not a production car.

    As a driver of their current (or at least 7-year-old) cheap French bread van with windows, I rather like it.

    Ordinary cars don't need to look aggressive. I reckon the angry frown of most car designs now contributes to irrational road rage. Even when being driven reasonably, an aggressive looking car looks like it's being driven aggressively. Not nice to see in one's rear view mirror.

  21. Geoff Webber
    Paris Hilton

    whats in the back

    What is all that space for in the back?.

    Is there enough room for a mattress or blow up bed?

    Paris - for obvious reasons

  22. michael

    re: trafic lights

    "How are you meant to notice a red light with yellow-tinted windows?"

    hint the red ones are at the top

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    so this includes

    the required seat-belts, side impact protection, airbags all around, crush-zones, and a real spare? yeah, right; just what i thought....if I wanted something like this to be buried in, i would just get a casket.

  24. jai


    do the cameras-instead-of-mirrors remove blind spots?

    also, i assume they've inverted the image the camera see's appropiately?

  25. Booty Inspector

    Air Tight?

    The panels are airtight? That'd be a first, every French car I've known has had difficulty being water tight. That goes for the engine leaking it out AND the cabin letting it in.

    But, that 'filled with wee' look is most definately an improvement to the 'smug and full of sh*t' look that anyone driving a Prius takes on as they get behind the wheel.

    Mine's a cycling jacket.

  26. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    IT Angle

    @Horse loving AC

    You miss out the rest-stops, maintenance (vet and farrier) bills, expensive garaging, requirement for fuel even when not in use, and basic stubborness whenever its advanced autopilot decides that it does not like fluttering plastic bags, flashing lights or even drain covers.

    Also, are you going to invent the waste collection services, because I believe that before the advent of the car, major cities would be inundated with piles of horse sh*t all over the place.

  27. Pete James

    Not another one.....

    I rather hoped the French may have a slight glimmer of imagination. Seems I was wrong as this just displays yet another tired and old set of ideas from the Schoolboy Book of Comedy Car Design 1957.

    This is the result of some ignorant cretins having a spak-o-rama about how they can save the Earth without bothering to get off their arses and looking at the built and spacial environment in which we live. Yet again it’s too big. When will these idiots actually look at the real space required and design round that instead of being lazy tossers and assuming a Kangoo van is about right? Yet again it forgets that simple ideas are the best. What the hell is wrong with door mirrors? Do they need power? No. And they don't cause huge amounts of drag either - especially when you're sitting in traffic.

    Jesus, this is so sodding simple yet we never see the obvious solutions, just trendy beardies having a collective hand-shandy over their latest wet dream. I could cobble something together that would make these efforts look pathetic, without spending gazillions and without trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. It’s not difficult, it really isn’t.

    Thing is, these condescending insults to our intelligence - or concepts as they are called - ironically stick up two fingers to the very thing they are supposed to be saving. The planet. Maybe one day someone involved in the industry will realise this. Until then just ignore their pre-pubescent offerings for what they are. Utter, utter shite. Or in this case merde.

  28. Steven Hunter


    I believe you're supposed to pronounce it as "The".

    "Votre mère était un 'hamster' et vos odeurs de père des baies de sureau."

  29. Stewart Haywood

    re:re:traffic lights

    Wot about people who have top/bottom possition blindness?

    It interests me that an energy efficient bicycle involves the rider lying down inside a streamlined looking tube, but, an energy efficient car involves the driver sitting bolt upright in a square box.

  30. Anonymous Coward


    We all adore a ki-yora

  31. Peter D'Hoye
    Thumb Down

    Rear view mirrors

    So, the rear view mirrors are gone because they hinder the airflow... I assume they didn't think about the fact that the LCD inside will consume power as well?

    I wonder what costs more energy, the mirrors or the LCD constantly on

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @pete james

    Ok, so it's too big to suit you since you only ride around by yerself since you got no friends. Get over it. People got to try different things and this is just another one of 'em. If they build it too small it really will be the casket that AC mentioned above...'bout the time the first lorry hits it, it will be lights out.

    You're not going to be getting anyone normal buying into this any more than normal people are buying Priuses. They're too friggin expensive for what you're getting and no better than a nice small diesel.

    Paris, 'cos she wouldn't buy one, either

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No need to heat passengers; who's going to accept a lift in a toy car?

    Seriously, though, when are they going to release a nice, cheap, 125-equivalent (in power terms; anything at or over 10bhp will do me) electric motorcycle with a range of at least around 30 miles? Scooters need not apply (happy with twist'n'go but I don't like tiny wheels and big gaps in the body). I'd be happy to part with about a grand for one.

    In the meantime, it's the second hand 125-250-ish rats for me. Which, by the way, should be tax free since they burn a hell of a lot less fuel than a Prius does.

    Rant, rant, etc.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...I've always wanted to drive a bottle of Mountain Dew.

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  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh look, a hummingbird feeder!

    And if you turn on and off the interior light at night it looks like a firefly.

  38. Clive Harris

    Well, I'm happy

    I've just got my Prius back from the repair yard, where it was being fixed after some moron ran into the back of me (he didn't see the road works).

    So, no more waiting for slow, overcrowded, over-priced trains. No more being ferried around in the obsolete motorised dinosaurs that everyone else is driving. Even the sight of that disgusting Renault abortion doesn't spoil my happiness.

  39. Charles Manning

    @Andy "Forquing" Shulman

    You've got your torque all twisted.

    Torque is force x radius. Torque is "twisting force" is you will, Take a spanner. The more force you apply, the more the torque. The longer the handle, the more the torque.

    The SI units of torque is Nm, not N/m. Newtons x metres, not Newtons per metre.

    Joules are also Nxm, but the metres is distance moved, a different concept.

    For torque, them 110V people use pound-feet (ie pounds [the force] x feet [ the radius]) or sometimes foot-pounds. The baby version is oz-inches.

  40. Nick
    Thumb Down


    Iv come to the conclusion that i prefer external mirrors to "camera" mirrors, for a very simple reason. I can sit in the car, waiting to pick up family, and see whats behind me, without having the key in the ignition and thus, not wasting any power (be it fuel or electrical).

    In the aim of saving the environment, we're using more electricity unnecessarily

  41. zyxyzx

    Warming by psychology ....

    While I, the driver, may well think I am nice and toasty, my wife, who cranks on the heating whenever the temp drops 1 degree below 20, certainly won't.

    Perhaps a psychologically warming thermostat, that has no actual impact on car temperature, would be in order?

    Mine's the nice warm fur-lined one, perfect for driving through the british summer.

  42. Simon Ward
    Thumb Down


    Tell you what, if I was peeing that colour, I'd be getting myself to the hospital ASAP if not sooner. Even asparagus-wee isn't that shade of radioactive yellow-green.

    Pity it's a Renault though - that means loads of things to go wrong which will be heart-stoppingly expensive to fix when the inevitable occurs (I speak from experience as a Clio owner ...)

    Tell you what, if someone, anyone, can come up with an electric equivalent of, say, the Clio (eg. my car has a top speed of 96mph, 1.2l engine rated at 65bhp, fuel economy of around 40mpg) at a reasonable price[*] then I'd jump at it. Cars looking like jellybeans or pregnant rollerskates need not apply. Or anything from Toyota.

    [*] - for a given value of reasonable. Let's say £6k tops?

  43. Robert Brown
    Thumb Down

    I'm NOT driving that

    I don't want an electric car anyway, but one with GREEN tinted windows definitely won't persuade me.

  44. Pete James

    @Anonymous Coward

    "Ok, so it's too big to suit you since you only ride around by yerself since you got no friends. Get over it."

    And your car is always full with four friends? I'll take bets on it not - nor ever has been in fact. You miss the point about why people buy cars full stop, so try opening up 'yer' brain and have a good long hard think about it. You may suddenly realise why I made the comment.

    "People got to try different things and this is just another one of 'em. If they build it too small it really will be the casket that AC mentioned above...'bout the time the first lorry hits it, it will be lights out."

    Please enlighten me as to why building something that is packaged better suddenly means it's no longer safe? You may struggle here but please, take yer time.

    "You're not going to be getting anyone normal buying into this any more than normal people are buying Priuses. They're too friggin expensive for what you're getting and no better than a nice small diesel."

    Let's try again shall we? The point is to make some sort of attempt to get people to think differently about how they travel and what resources they use in the process. Once you start on that track you may get a bit brave and stop being so defeatist. And yes, a Prius is a con. That people fall for it just demonstrates how many thick folk there are in the world.

    Overall, a lovely negative load of old tosh from someone who won't even give a a name. Thank God you weren't around a few thousand years ago or we'd still be in caves.

  45. Matt Smart
    Thumb Down


    It's hideous!

  46. Steve Pettifer


    French car...lots of electrics...I see a significant problem here...

  47. Conrad Longmore

    Make it smaller

    Make it smaller. The problem with any purely electric car is that it will only ever have limited range, and limited ability to lug loads. So, why not make it a much smaller car designed for short-range commuting.. like the Smart ForTwo ED (see although it's EXPENSIVE.

    Another thing.. electricity rates at night can be dirt cheap with a massive excess of supply over demand. Wind turbines, hydroelectric and other non-solar renewables continue to generate at night, so it's quite possible to charge your electric car overnight cheaply and with zero environmental impact. Heck, get your own wind turbine and you could do it for free.. if you live somewhere windy enough.

  48. Inachu


    It looks so nice and sanitary!

    Who wants to bet people with OCD willl be buying this kind of car!

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    this has been around for 7-8 years...

    They are not even trying, this is no match for the Pininfarina BZero, which is not some design study but a pre-production car that is supposed to be available end 2009 (I guess it will be 2010, but still reasonably soon):

    If the BZero costs less than 20 grand (ideally more like 15) I will be buying one.

  50. Andreas

    Mirrors vs Cameras

    Real mirrors are safer for people on the **outside** of a vehicle as it helps them establish eye contact with the driver, i.e., you know when the driver has seen you! Cameras on the other hand are one-way devices and as such do not provide this vital piece of feedback.

  51. Colin Millar

    Renaults v Cars

    Renault could be much more green if they didn't design all their cars to need replacing after a few years.

    OMG - I just used the words Renault and design in the same sentence - I think I need to lie down for a while.

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