Renault Zoe Electric Car – Short Test
This is Zoe, and she is a very clever girl.
Renault’s moon-shot for a mainstream EV is exactly as they had hoped and aimed for – A very good small car that just happens to be battery powered.
With a quoted 130 mile range in ideal conditions it is the best of the mass-produced offerings currently available.
And yet –
At £13,500 after factoring in the government subsidy for electric vehicles it is also, by quite a margin, the cheapest of the mass-produced offerings available too.
Part of the way Renault have achieved this is by selling you a car, but renting you the battery. Rental charges are around £70 per month based on 5-10k miles per year.
Before deciding that this is a terrible idea, ask yourself how much you spend on fuel each month. Ask yourself if you would rather spend hundreds on fuel or steal electricity from your workplace for free. Ask yourself if you want to own (and be responsible for) a huge expensive battery. Part of the battery lease includes free recovery from anywhere in the country for any reason, even if you just forgot to recharge. And if the battery should fail, which is hugely unlikely, it is Renault’s problem, not yours.
The actual drive of the car is pretty important too though, and this little French lady is an utter delight in the curves. Handling is planted and agile while acceleration is brisk and pleasing. It just feels like a well sorted and entertaining hatchback.
Interior is also very pleasing, front and back. The cockpit is very clean and simple in its layout. There are the standard controls, a knob for your air, and everything else is operated on the large and well positioned touchscreen.
The looks of the car are very similar to, although more striking than, the new Clio. It is somewhere between gorgeous and scary, like a big cuddly ant.
We are still not really spoiled for choice when it comes to electric motoring, but I think Hobson would be happy all the same. This car has pretty much rewritten convention, decluttered the workspace and made austerity and fuel poverty fashionable.
I seriously do not know of another car that is more suited to, or in tune with, 21st century Britain.
words and pics – Mark Wolens