Renault’s new 52 kWh, 100 kW Zoe was announced in June with the additional 50 kW of DC charging, but we got the rare opportunity to check one out at Renault’s Paris HQ this week. What we saw was an impressive and important vehicle that will fit into many more Europeans’ lives.
Renault departed the US in the late ’80s after it sold its share of AMC to Chrysler. But in Europe, it is the top EV player with its lineup of electric vehicles including Kangoo and Twizy. Its best selling EV, the Zoe, dominated unit sales until the arrival of Tesla’s Model 3 and the 2nd generation model still won in July, even after the 3rd generation model was announced.
I got to drive the 2nd generation Zoe at last year’s FIA electric vehicle camp as part of the Paris Mondial motor show. I came away wanting a bit more, finding its performance and size somewhere between a Fiat 500e and a Nissan Leaf.
The European passenger plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market had some 36,000 registrations in July, +32% year over year (YoY). That means the PEV market has grown 34% in 2019, a great performance considering this is an off-peak month for Tesla.
In July, while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) continued nosediving (-19% YoY), all-electrics (BEVs) almost doubled (+90%) to some 24,000 units, responsible for 67% of all plug-in sales last month, 66% year to date (YTD). The BEV share was at 1.9% by itself. Adding PHEVs to the tally, the share climbs to 2.8%. The 2019 PEV share is now at 2.9% (2.0% for BEVs alone), above the 2.5% result of 2018.
The big news in July was that the Renault Zoe profited from the expected Tesla off-peak month, winning another monthly trophy, its 4th this year. The French hatchback and Tesla Model 3 have divided all the monthly wins this year (January, April, May, July for Renault, and February, March, June for Tesla).
We could say that the Tesla Model 3 and the Renault Zoe are the first big players in Europe, the former dominating the more expensive end of the market and the latter sweeping up the lower end of it.
With Tesla starting to deliver the Model 3 SR/SR+ versions by now and Renault expected to double the Zoe’s output with the upcoming restyling, do not expect the current status quo to change much, or at least until the VW ID.3 starts to deliver in large volumes, expected by Q2 2020.
The new Renault ZOE is ready to compete with new contenders like the Peugeot e-208 and its Opel/Vauxhall Corsa-e derivatives, as well as some VWs.
Fully Charged was present at the unveiling of the third-generation Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 in France in June, but as it sometimes happens, it took some time to edit and release the episode.
Renault presented several trims of the new ZOE to showcase exterior and interior design. Fully Charged’s Jonny Smith noted it’s familiar to the previous generation, but improved – especially in the front (modified face and LED lights) and inside with new 10-inch digital dashboard display and vertical infotainment touchscreen. It seems also that the materials in the new ZOE are better.
The new ZOE is also a much better EV with a higher battery capacity (52 kWh), more range (up to 390 km/242 miles WLTP), DC charging capability (up to 50 kW), higher power motor (100 kW) and better acceleration.
First test drives and reviews are expected any time now as the new ZOE is scheduled for market launch this Autumn.
Renault ZOE R135 specs (see full description here):
52 kWh lithium-ion battery (air-cooled)
Battery pack: 400 V nominal, 192 cells, 10 modules, 326 kg of weight, 160 Wh/kg
up to 390 km (242 miles) of WLTP range
0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 10 seconds
80-120 km/h (50 to 75 mph) in 7.1 seconds
top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph)
R135 electric motor: 100 kW of peak power and 245 Nm of peak torque
R110 electric motor (option): 80 kW of peak power and 225 Nm of peak torque
DC fast charging using CCS Combo 2, up to 50 kW
AC charging of up to 22 kW (3-phase)