The Zoe is one of our favourite electric cars – with its improved range, is range anxiety now a thing of the past?
18 April 2018 – saying goodbye to the Renault Zoe
So then, what’s the answer to our future mobility? Sorry, that’s a tough one, but I bet we all ponder it while driving through petrol and diesel fumes on our commutes.
Sure, it’s very unlikely that we’ll have completely left combustion engines behind in our lifetime – possibly even during that of our children – but it’ll have to end one day. And then what? If you were expecting a groundbreaking solution to all our transport troubles, then I’m afraid this article waving goodbye to our Zoe isn’t it. However, running this car for the past 12 months has confirmed a few of things.
The first of those things is that, even if electric vehicles (EVs) aren’t the ultimate answer, they are nonetheless fantastic. If you still haven’t had the chance to drive one, you should try to, because their combination of instant torque and silent operation make them superb urban transport. Add to that the Zoe’s modest dimensions, good agility and decent visibility, and you have what I believe is the best commuting tool of What Car?’s long-term fleet.
The 100 per cent electric Renault ZOE has earned yet another award, this time for new drivers, with judges naming it ‘Best Green Car’ at the inaugural FirstCar Awards 2018.
Hosted by FirstCar at the Royal Automobile Club in London, the awards recognise vehicles that offer excellence for those drivers who are either learning to drive or who have just passed their driving test.
The all-electric Renault ZOE took home the highly-coveted award after impressing FirstCar’s industry experts with its ‘real world’ range, style and value for money. The win underlines its status as an unrivalled choice for those who require an exceptionally efficient compact vehicle that is incredibly easy to live with.
On the judges’ decision, David Motton, Editor, FirstCar Theory and FirstCar Practical said: “With zero tailpipe emissions, the Renault ZOE makes an ideal first car for environmentally conscious drivers. Compared with most plug-in electric vehicles, the ZOE is surprisingly affordable to buy new, and there are now plenty of used examples to choose from. What’s more, the ZOE is easy to drive, has performed extremely well in Euro NCAP safety tests, and the range is a lot further than most new drivers will need to travel each day.”
Renault recently reached a milestone of 100,000 ZOEs produced at the Flins facility in France.
Renault ZOE, with its 41 kWh battery and now with an 80 kW electric motor, is one of the best selling electric cars in Europe (it was the best selling in 2015, 2016 and 2017).
In 2017, well over 30,000 ZOEs were sold and, according to the Gilles Normand, SVP, Electric Vehicle Business Unit at Renault, there will be lots more to come:
“Today is a special day. I had the pleasure of participating in the celebration of the 100,000th Renault ZOE that was manufactured in Flins (France). Already 100,000 customers have fallen in love with ZOE! Launched in 2012, ZOE was fitted with a bigger, 41 kWh battery in 2016, allowing it to go even further. And for enhanced driving pleasure we equipped ZOE this month with a more powerful engine, the R110 (80 kW).
“In addition of being the leading electric vehicle in Europe for the third consecutive year in 2017, ZOE has been voted Best Electric Car by different juries composed of automotive journalists an impressive number of times throughout Europe.
“But today, I especially want to thank the thousands of Renault employees and the entire dealer network that have worked hard for making this happen.And this is just the end of the beginning… More to come.”
Cutting-edge grid innovation is coming to a small Portuguese island in the Atlantic.
French carmaker Groupe Renault said last month that it would collaborate with island authorities and grid operator Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (EEM) on a project called Sustainable Porto Santo/Smart Fossil Free Island, which will include vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. The project grapples with the challenges of increasing variable renewables on a small island grid.
In the first phase, costing €9 million ($11 million), the island will install 40 charging points for 14 Renault Zoe electric cars and six Kangoo electric vans.
At the end of this year, these vehicles will start acting in V2G mode to help the grid cope with demand peaks.
Finally, Renault will install energy storage, based on second-life EV batteries, so the renewable energy capacity on the island can be increased without curtailment.
The carmaker is working with a U.K. company called Powervault on its second-life battery technology, although “at this stage the [Porto Santo] project with Renault has not been discussed,” said Powervault’s business development associate Tom Ross.