Matt Kimberley profile picture Matt Kimberley a year ago 26
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The Deeply Dull Renault Samsung SM3 Z.E. Is Hiding A Key Tech Development

It's hard to imagine a less exciting electric car than the unfortunate Fluence-based SM3 Z.E., but new, higher-output batteries have given it way more range with zero weight penalty...

Remind me later
Renault - The Deeply Dull Renault Samsung SM3 Z.E. Is Hiding A Key Tech Development - News

Renault has revealed an updated electric saloon for the Korean market, and although it’s a deeply uninteresting car there are a few titbits of information we should take note of.

An entity called Renault Samsung Motors, operating in Korea, has unveiled a new SM3 Z.E., which absolutely isn’t just a Fluence (remember that?) with some styling tweaks. Honest.

Renault - The Deeply Dull Renault Samsung SM3 Z.E. Is Hiding A Key Tech Development - News

Under the skin things get more interesting. The fairly old-tech batteries in the car could only carry it to a surprisingly realistic-sounding 80 miles or so per charge, according to the Korean type approval cycle. The new ones developed with Samsung increase that by 57 per cent, to 132 miles, with no weight penalty.

That’s the interesting bit. Weight is the enemy of the driver and the car. It makes cars feel stodgy and dim-witted, it slows cars down and it makes them less efficient. Being able to improve the range by that much with no weight cost tells the story of where we can be looking at over the next few years of EV evolution. The Nissan Leaf has made big strides in driving range, too.

Renault - The Deeply Dull Renault Samsung SM3 Z.E. Is Hiding A Key Tech Development - News

With the current average South Korean daily mileage standing at just under 25 miles, the government judges the SM3 Z.E. to be good for around five days of action per charge. It previously bought 1200 of the things for the Ministry of Health and Welfare in April 2016.

It’s unlikely that the SM3 Z.E., or any Fluence-badged variant, will make it to the UK. It didn’t really win many fans in its previous incarnation, selling very poorly despite doing its job pretty well. That said, we expect to see better range-per-kilo on Renault’s European cars soon.