All posts by Trevor Larkum

Software engineer and electric vehicle advocate

Electric supermini ZOE drives the change has just been approved for access to the Renault UK Press Online Site – this will allow for more timely and complete reporting of press releases from Renault. To kick things off, here’s a complete electronic copy of the latest Zoe release. It includes full pricing, including battery lease costs at last, but unfortunately does not give any additional information on ordering dates or process. Note that in the pricing table ‘PiCG’ means ‘Plug-in Car Grant’, i.e. the UK government subsidy.




  • Renault’s first bespoke 100 per cent electric car ZOE in showrooms from Spring 2013 and is available to reserve now for just £49
  • ZOE available in three trim levels with a starting price of only £13,650 on-the-road after UK Government Plug-in Car Grant deduction. Battery hire from £70 per month
  • Longest range of any electric vehicle with an NEDC cycle figure of up to 130 miles
  • ZOE packs the industry’s most advanced technology, including six world firsts designed to deliver user-friendliness, range and connectivity
  • ZOE will be the spearhead of the ‘Renault 2016 – Drive the Change’ plan to cut its global carbon footprint by 10% between now and 2013 and a further 10 per cent between 2013 and 2016

Renault’s new supermini ZOE is available to reserve now ahead of its UK showroom launch in Spring 2013 to mark a new era of electric vehicles for all.

The flagship vehicle of the French brand’s four-strong 100 per cent electric vehicle range is stylish, affordable and incredibly versatile – perfect for commuting, supermarket and school runs, and for households who want to downsize their engine and carbon footprint.  With an NEDC homologated range of up to 130 miles and an on-the-road price from just £13,650, ZOE is the first affordable car for everyday use to have been designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.


ZOE packs the industry’s most advanced technology, including no fewer than six ‘world premiere’ features and 60 patents designed to deliver user-friendliness, range and connectivity.  The hotly-anticipated Renault comes in the wake of the Fluence Z.E. saloon, Kangoo Van Z.E. and the innovative urban runabout Twizy to make zero emission mobility a reality for ordinary motorists – one of the pledges of Renault’s ‘Drive the Change’ signature.

Andy Heiron, UK Head of Electric Vehicles Programme, said: “ZOE will be the spearhead of the Renault Z.E. range. In addition to its compact size, attractive styling and affordable price tag, it showcases Renault’s technological excellence when it comes to electric vehicles.  ZOE also heralds the beginning of a new era of electric mobility for all and confirms our commitment to electric vehicles. It marks an important step for Renault which has a 114-year history of making major innovations a concrete reality for everyday motorists.”


ZOE is available in three trim levels – Expression, Dynamique Zen and Dynamique Intens – and is packed with a raft of innovations for a new form of motoring.  The sleek supermini is the first vehicle to be equipped with ‘Range OptimiZEr’ which combines three major innovations (new-generation regenerative braking, a heat pump and MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyres). Due to this, the range of ZOE has the longest range of the electric vehicles in mass production. With these Michelin tyres, in the NEDC cycle, ZOE is homologated with a range of 130 miles. However, this is a reference figure, in real conditions, for example, in suburban use, the owner will generally achieve around 60 miles in cold weather and 90 miles in temperate conditions.

ZOE is the only electric vehicle to feature the Chameleon charger. Patented by Renault, this charger is compatible with all power levels up to 43kW. Charging batteries at a charging station can take between 30 minutes and nine hours, with 80 per cent of full battery power able to be achieved within 30 minutes using a single type of connection for the car.


ZOE is also the first Renault vehicle to be presented with new multimedia system, Renault R-Link. To enable drivers to control its functions without taking their eyes off the road, R-Link features a large seven-inch display, steering wheel-mounted controls and voice recognition. It also delivers integrated connectivity with motoring services and applications available from the R-Link Store.

Driving ZOE is a unique experience which gives new meaning to the term ‘driving pleasure’. The synchronous electric motor with rotor coil has a power output of 65kW (equivalent to 88hp) and instantly delivers maximum torque of 220Nm. Acceleration and pull-away are responsive from low speeds, while top speed is limited to 84mph. Driving is more relaxing thanks to the silent ride and smooth, gearshift-free acceleration.

For stress-free driving in built-up areas, ZOE is fitted with ‘Z.E. Voice’, an alarm which warns pedestrians that the vehicle is approaching. ‘Z.E. Voice’ can be heard from 1 to 18 mph and was the subject of special design work to create a bespoke sound identity for ZOE. The driver can choose between three different sounds, while it is possible to turn off the warning system by simply pressing a button.

Programmable pre-conditioning heats or cools ZOE’s cabin when the vehicle is charging so when the driver gets into the car the cabin is just the right temperature and battery charge is saved in use. An activated charcoal cabin air filter traps most bad smells and pollutants. It also filters substances just a few microns in size, such as pollen and soot.

The choice of colours and materials for one of the ZOE versions, Dynamique Zen, recalls purity and wellbeing: white, blue and chrome, with a light coloured interior ambiance. ZOE Dynamique Zen is fitted with ‘Take Care by Renault’ equipment as standard with active scent diffuser, ioniser and toxicity sensor together with Teflon seat protection.

Its agile, dynamic looks express driving enjoyment, while its signature headlights feature LEDs that permanently light up recesses situated either side of the front air intake. Like Twingo and Twizy, ZOE features the Renault brand’s new design identity.

ZOE Expression comes with an on-the-road price of £13,650, after the Government Plug-in Car Grant deduction, while the Dynamique Zen and Intens start from £14,750. Battery hire is from £70 per month.

For more information and to reserve your Renault ZOE for just £49 visit By reserving online, customers will be offered exclusive updates, priority to test drive at one of our events and invitations to Z.E. events.

Standard equipment on Expression:

  • R-Link – voice controlled TomTom satellite navigation with 7” touchscreen and voice control
  • 4x20W radio
  • USB port and SD Multimedia
  • Bluetooth®
  • ‘Range OptimeZEr’ – new-generation regenerative braking, a heat pump and MICHELIN Energy E-V tyres
  • Chameleon charger
  • Z.E. Connect – remote monitoring of battery charge and range
  • Z.E. Voice – pedestrian warning
  • Climate control
  • Cruise control
  • LED DRLs
  • ESC
  • ASR Traction control
  • CSV Understeer control
  • HSA Hill Start Assist
  • Renault keycard
  • ISOFIX mountings on front passenger seat and outer rear seats
  • TFT instrument display
  • Height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Privacy glass to rear side and tailgate windows
  • RAID automatic door locking

Additional equipment on Dynamique Intens and Dynamique Zen:

  • 16 » Aerotronic alloy wheels
  • Renault keycard with hands free functionality
  • 4x35W radio with Arkamys digital sound
  • Z.E. Interactive – remote battery charging and air conditioning/heating activation
  • Z.E. Digital – remote access to R-Link store e.g. email access)
  • Automatic headlight activation
  • Automatic wiper activation
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Electric rear windows
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rear parking camera (Dynamique Intens only)
  • ‘Intens’ dark interior ambiance (Dynamique Intens only)
  • ‘Zen’ light interior ambiance with Teflon seat protection (Dynamique Zen only)
  • ‘Zen Take Care by Renault’ – active scent diffuser, ioniser, toxicity sensor – (Dynamique Zen only)

 Optional equipment on Expression:

  • 16” Aerotronic alloy wheels £310
  • Renault i.d. paint £300
  • Metallic paint £460
  • Renault i.d. metallic paint £600
  • Automatic headlight and wiper activation £165
  • Renault keycard with hands free functionality £300
  • Rear parking sensors £350
  • 4x35W radio with Arkamys digital sound £250
  • Z.E. Interactive – remote battery charging and air conditioning/heating activation £150
  • Z.E. Digital – remote access to R-Link store e.g. email access) £25
  • Western Europe map for TomTom £110
  • TomTom Live services 3 year subscription £125
  • Easy Pack – rear parking sensors and automatic headlight and wiper activation £275
  • Comfort Pack – Renault keycard with hands free functionality and electric rear windows £245

Optional equipment on Dynamique Intens:

  • 17” Tech Run alloy wheels (not available with MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyres £400
  • Renault i.d. paint £300
  • Metallic paint £460
  • Renault i.d. metallic paint £600
  • Western Europe map for TomTom £110
  • TomTom Live services 3 year subscription £125

Optional equipment on Dynamique Zen:

  • 17” Tech Run alloy wheels (not available with MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyres £400
  • Rear parking camera £310
  • Renault i.d. paint £300
  • Metallic paint £460
  • Renault i.d. metallic paint £600
  • Western Europe map for TomTom £110
  • TomTom Live services 3 year subscription £125



Basic Price (£)

VAT (£)

Total Retail (£)

Less PiCG (£)

Total Retail after PiCG (£)

Delivery Charge (£)

First Reg Fee (£)

OTR after PiCG (£)











Dynamique Zen










Dynamique Intens













Battery Rental for ZOE


up to 7,500




Contract term*

36 months and more





24 month


12 month


Latest on UK Orders

As described in my previous post, I now have a deposit taken for my Zoe order. The dealership has been trying to put its orders onto the system today. However they have had an email from Renault saying that the dealer ordering system will open on the 9th. At that point they will have all the ordering system codes etc.

Meanwhile, the basic information available is a release from Renault dated 30 October, of which I have a paper copy. It gives the following prices:

Expression: £14,444

Dynamique Zen: £15,666

Dynamique Intens: £15,666

Delivery Charge: £595

Registration: £55

Battery lease: £70 per month for 7,500 miles per year. £77 for 9,000 miles. £85 for 10,500 miles. £93 for 12,000.

UK Zoe Orders Are Now Open

Zoe at Marshall Renault in September
Zoe at Marshall Renault in September

At about 6pm last night, while trawling for Zoe news, I came across some reports just released on UK websites stating that orders for the Zoe were open. The terminology, however, was confused with Autocar and Auto Express saying ‘Zoe now available to order’ while Automotive Management Online and Car Enthusiast talk about ‘pre-orders’.

Zoe On Charge
Zoe On Charge

I immediately rang my local Renault dealer, Marshall in Milton Keynes, and got a call back this morning confirming that Zoe prices had been announced and that they were able to take orders. I gave mine immediately over the ‘phone, with a £250 deposit. This afternoon I called in to pick up the paperwork. Although I was told that the computer ordering will actually start tomorrow morning, so far as I know my order is now official. Furthermore, Marshall has taken three orders already today, including mine.

Rear View
Rear View

So the best advice seems to be to get to your local Renault dealer immediately to put in your order, and so get on the delivery ‘waiting list’ as soon as possible. Official delivery on the order is given as ‘March/April’.

Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change

A Satellite Image of Hurricane Sandy (Image: NASA via Getty Images)
A Satellite Image of Hurricane Sandy (Image: NASA via Getty Images)

New York State is currently suffering the impact and effects of Hurricane Sandy (the so-called ‘Frankenstorm’). That has necessarily led to a lot of online discussion, and, of course, rant, on whether it was caused by global warming. Here are some example articles that caught my attention:

The big question everyone wants answered is ‘Was Hurricane Sandy caused by climate change?’ And, of course, it’s a question to which we don’t know the answer, nor could ever expect to know the answer. Climate change can make such events more statistically likely, or more energetic, but it doesn’t cause any particular event – there were hurricanes before climate change, as is well known.

A better question is ‘Did climate change have an effect on Hurricane Sandy?’ and that seems to be a question we can attempt to answer. Essentially the effects of climate change are higher sea levels, more energetic winds and more water in the atmosphere, each of which likely contributed to making Sandy impact worse than it would otherwise have been.

Overall I would say the Guardian article addresses the issues most thoroughly and objectively. However, from the Washington Post article I’ll take the best summary:

“The endless debates about whether this or that particular hurricane can be blamed on global warming are fascinating. But they can also distract from the more basic fact that our cities and infrastructure are quite vulnerable to future temperature increases and sea-level rise. And Hurricane Sandy, unfortunately, is a grim reminder of that.”

Zoe in the Flesh

Zoe Up Close
Zoe Up Close

Last month I finally got to see a Zoe ‘in the flesh’ at my local Renault dealer. It was a left-hand-drive example that I understand was conducting a familiarisation tour of dealers. I only had a brief time to take a look at it as it was on a tight timetable – there was unfortunately no time or opportunity for a test drive.

Rear Three-Quarter View
Rear Three-Quarter View

I was given a brief tour by Andy Heiron, who took time to me show me around it and to describe some of its key features, including the charging system, EV tyres and R-Link.

Interior, with R-Link Multimedia System
Interior, with R-Link Multimedia System

I learnt some interesting points of information:

    • Although this Zoe was fitted with 17” alloy wheels – as are many of the examples seen in publicity shots – the special EV tyres developed by Michelin for the Zoe are only available for the 15” and 16” wheels. These EV tyres can give up to 10% improvement in range compared to other tyres.
17” Alloy Wheels
17” Alloy Wheels
  • Deliveries will take place in the fourth quarter of 2012 in France, but will not happen in the UK before the end of the first quarter of 2013.
  • The Zoe is currently ‘on tour’ as part of the Z.E. Tour 2012 but is only on static display at those events. UK customers will instead get a chance to see the Zoe close up at official dealer ‘VIP’ evenings during November.
  • Orders for the first UK deliveries will be taken in January and February.

My personal impressions of the Zoe were very positive, though I didn’t have a lot of time with it. I sat in the back and found it fairly spacious and overall the vehicle seemed slightly bigger than I expected. It seemed smart and well made.

Boot with Charging Cables
Boot with Charging Cables

The boot, though full of a variety of charging cables, was a good size. I also liked the rear door handles which are very neatly built in to the window frames. Overall I was very pleased with what I saw and look forward to getting my own Zoe as soon as possible.

Rear Door Handles
Rear Door Handles