The electric vehicles (EVs) that catch our attention tend to look as expensive as they are, or be a bit odd. Willy Wonka or Disneyland cars. But most of us drive normal cars, when not an SUV, then most likely a five-door hatch. When you move from your ICE hatch looking for an EV substitute there is one car that stands out.
The Renault ZOE was shown as a Clio sized EV concept in 2009, in the stone age of electric cars. The concept had radical features that, for good or ill, did not make the production model launched in 2013. It had a see-through roof with solar panels to run the aircon, and gull-wing doors. The climate control was designed by L’Oréal and it could spray essential oils to block the vulgar smell of petrol fumes. It could also hydrate the interior of the car to prevent the skin drying out.
The first model ZOE in 2013, in essence, set the looks of the car, albeit with the design detail of that early age. It was a teardrop-shaped five-door hatch that looked like a normal Renault. The one bugbear, as with all early EVs, was range. The first ZOE could do between 112km and 177km on a charge, depending on who you asked and how heavy their feet were.
The 2021 Renault ZOE will give you around 385km of range in mixed driving, no matter who you ask. Shows you how battery technology has improved in seven years. The ZOE comes in two battery options, each with an additional quick-charge function.
The R110 will give you 80kW and 225Nm and a top speed of 135km/h. It will do 0 to 100km/h in around 12 seconds. The R135 has 100kW and 245Nm of torque. Top speed is 140km/h and it can do 0 to 100km/h in 10 seconds.
Both models have two variants: the normal charge and the Rapid Charge. The normal charge will take 6 hours at 11KW home charge, while the Rapid will give you 80% charge in just over an hour at a 50Kw DC charging station. Normal urban driving patterns mean that you will probably only need to charge your ZOE every week or two.
Your new ZOE still has the same pleasing shape as the early models, but with updated bits like headlights, grille and daytime running LEDs, colour-coded door handles and the like.
Renault has loaded the new ZOE with safety and security features, including hill-start assist, ABS with emergency brake assist, electronic stability, anti-slip, understeer control, fog lights, automatic headlights and wipers and hazard lights that activate during emergency braking. There are airbags and ISOFIX fitting where needed, automatic door locking, tyre pressure monitoring and pedestrian warning.
To make driving easier and safer, you get cruise control, a 10-inch display, front and rear parking assist, rear camera, lane-keeping, blind-spot warning, traffic signal recognition and even auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
The ZOE comes with the full suite of nice features, infotainment, USB ports, navigation, wireless charging, optional Bose sound and even optional hands-free parking.
In short, the new ZOE is in all respects a full-feature supermini, but now with the range to equal or beat similar ICE cars.
We are still waiting for the EV revolution to come to our shores, but in the meantime why not have a look at the range of Renault cars currently in our showrooms?