When it comes to electric cars it’s all about price and how far you can drive between charges.
When it comes to electric cars it’s all about price and how far you can drive between charges. They are the two key issues for those considering an electric vehicle above all else. Renault reckons a recent range-extending update addresses both. The Zoe is among the cheapest EV on sale in Ireland, backed by a realistic driving range of 200km-300km depending on how owners use the air conditioning and other areas that might drain the battery.
The Zoe will appeal to someone living in a urban area travelling in and out of a city centre location for work or leisure. I don’t have a proper set up for an EV but energy can be channelled into the Zoe at night through your electricity provider at a very reasonable rate or if like me you can find a fast charge when you get a bit nervous with a low battery and in less than 30 minutes you can be back on the road. From my time with the ZOE I came away knowing that this is how things are going to be in the future and if you have home charging facilities a car like the ZOE is very easy to live with.
As I drove down the canals to a meeting in Dublin city and then later back out towards Kilmainham on my first day with the ZOE, it felt in its element. The zippy electric acceleration combined with its effortlessly light steering made driving in urban centres a complete doddle. The suspension is very forgiving, absorbing all but the worst road bumps without much drama. Once out on the motorway things are a different story. The car’s light steering can start to play against it, taking away some of that connection to the road’s surface.
The Zoe’s interior is simple, modern and feels like it was made for handling everyday life. There’s plenty of plastic so while it doesn’t exactly look premium, it does feel capable of handling trainers up on the dashboard or the occasional spilled drink. The Zoe comes with a 7-inch multimedia system. The screen is bright, responsive and easy to use. You also get Andriod Auto which means if you have a compatible smartphone you can use a whole range of apps through the car from your music collection to Google Maps. Sadly there’s no Apple CarPlay which is a bit disappointing.
The Renault ZOE comes to the market with pricing starting from €24,990 for the Expression R90, after VRT relief and SEAI grant. The ZOE Expression R90 includes the 22kW Chameleon charger, heat pump climate control and R-Link navigation with 7” touch screen as standard.
A new, more powerful R110 motor is available on both Dynamique Nav (from €27,790) and Signature Nav (from €30,290) versions of the Renault ZOE, putting out 110hp. The Dynamique Nav version also offers rear parking sensors, hands-free key card entry as well as automatic lights and wipers, while Signature Nav trim includes leather seats, parking camera and BOSE audio as standard.
Good news for any potential buyer of the ZOE is the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. recently announced that €20m is being invested to fund the rollout of high powered chargers across ESB ecars network. Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said, “We are funding high powered charging hubs on motorways and national roads all across the country, to tackle ‘range anxiety’ and encourage drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles. We are stepping up our response to climate change across the board and this government is determined to take the lead and put in place the necessary infrastructure to make it easier for people to play their part.” More than 50 high power charging hubs are being funded on motorway and national road sites. These hubs will be able to charge between two and eight vehicles simultaneously and are capable of providing up to 100 km of electric driving range in as little as six minutes.
Located behind the Renault badge at the front is a Type-2 connector for charging. It can charge from 0-100% in a little over 7 hours using the installed wall socket at home. That goes down to just 4 hours if you use a 11kW public charger and just 2 hours 40 mins if you use the 22kW rapid chargers found in most service stations. If you want an even quicker charge time at those service stations the Chameleon charger which supports up to 43kW and a charging time of 1 hour 50 minutes.
What is right with the ZOE far outweighs the negatives. It can struggle on the motorway and the multimedia offering could be improved. The interior could be better but it’s absolutely fantastic for everyday driving, whether it’s the school run, going shopping or popping into town. The steering is light with instant speed and fantastic boot space meaning that for the majority of the time you’re driving it you’ll forget that this is an electric car. It’s a modern and cool supermini that’s kind to the environment and your pocket. I’d highly recommend contacting your local dealer for a test drive.
Model Renault ZOE Signature Nav R110 Z.E. 40kwh
Engine Size Synchronous motor with motor coil
Transmission single-speed reduction gear bar, front-wheel drive
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 11.4 seconds
Top Speed 135 km/h
Range (WLTP) 300km summer, 200km winter
CO2 Emissions 0g/km
Road Tax €120 per year
Base Price €24,990
Our Test Model €30,290