we tested the electric city car on the Turini pass

Automobile-Propre undertook the ascent of the famous Col de Turini at the wheel of the new Renault ZOE R135. The opportunity to observe the fuel consumption and performance of the city car on the way up, but also its regenerative capacity in the downhill phases.

A legendary event in the Monte-Carlo rally located in the heart of the French Alps, the Col de Turini rises to over 1,600 meters in altitude and is distinguished by its particularly winding roads. Leaving Lantosque, we wanted to test his ascent behind the wheel of the new Renault ZOE.

This test was carried out during the summer, before the passage of the storm Alex which ravaged a large part of the Nice hinterland on October 2, 2020. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the whole disaster victims.

Like an air of deja vu

If we had already experienced in 2015 the rise of the Turini at the wheel of the Nissan Leaf, this new ascent of the famous pass reminds us of a much older adventure. Early-early adopters may remember crossing the Alps in electric vehicles. Organized at the end of 2000, the event brought together many enthusiasts and notably proposed the ascent of the neighboring pass of La Bonette, at an altitude of 2714 m. All this took place with vehicles of the time, and in particular the electric Peugeot 106 and Citroën Saxo, whose power peaked at … 27 horsepower! A little over 10 years later, we are carrying out a similar exercise behind the wheel of the new ZOE and its 135 horsepower. Here, autonomy is no longer really a problem and the driving sensations are there with a sport mode which is very playful.

Without trying to drive in rally mode or to favor Eco mode, we complete the 15 kilometers that separate us from the pass with a gargantuan average consumption: 47 kWh / 100 km! This is three times more than a ZOE could do under more traditional conditions of use. On the battery side, we finish this climb phase with 67% remaining energy, 16 points less than when we started. In the (unlikely) scenario of a continuous uphill phase like the one we just did, we would have a real range of around 100 to 110 km in Renault’s electric car.

Energy at the start 83%
Energy on arrival 67%
Energy consumed 16%
Average consumption 47 kWh / 100 km

Too light regeneration

For the second phase of this test, we set off again on the other side: towards Sospel, about twenty kilometers away, to test the regeneration capacities of our ZOE on the descent. From the start we engage mode B, which maximizes the effect of the engine braking, without really hoping to achieve the descent without touching the brake pedal. For good reason: the regeneration system on board the Renault city car is far less efficient than those integrated on other models which offer adjustments at several levels, sometimes configurable via the steering wheel paddles. On many occasions, we had to crush the brake pedal to slow down a roll effect which remains important regardless of the mode used.

In the end, we still manage to recover 5% of autonomy over the 24 kilometers traveled. This is always better than a thermal vehicle, where the energy is totally wasted, but probably well below other models on the market with more advanced regenerative capacities.

To conclude

While this ascent of the Col de Turini remains a test in extreme conditions which does not reflect the use of a large part of the owners, it once again reminds us that the electric car is not limited to the urban environment. With winter approaching, we would be tempted to take a longer ascent. For example to connect the coast to a ski resort… Do you like it?


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