The new Renault ZOE is here, and I got a chance to test drive it this weekend in Sardinia, Italy.
If you thought you knew the ZOE then think again, because Renault has upgraded the New ZOE with better range, power, and charging options, plus a number of other changes. Check it all out below.
Like the previous ZOE, but better
The previous version of the Renault ZOE, known as the ZOE Z.E. 40, was released in 2016. That car has already sold like hot cakes in Europe, with over 250,000 ZOEs sold. The car’s popularity grew quickly, with many years showing around 50% growth in sales YoY.
The ZOE eventually became the highest-selling electric car in many markets before the introduction of the Model 3 earlier this year. And even after the Model 3 was introduced, the ZOE held on to an impressive amount of market share.
But now three years later, the ZOE is beginning to show its age. Fortunately though, Renault is back to give us the ZOE updates we’ve wanted and has done so building on its 10 years of experience in the electric car market.
The New ZOE comes with a number of updates and upgrades, yet has managed to maintain the same price. In most markets, the car costs around €23,000 without the battery (which customers can pay a monthly rate towards), or around €30,000 with the battery, though the price varies a bit according to the country.
Major updates to the New ZOE include a more powerful motor, increased range, and new CCS charging.
In the Netherlands, Jedlix and Elaad say the Zoe is good for the smart grid
Dutch smart charging specialist Jedlix and the Elaad Competence Centre have concluded that Renault Zoe can be used in a balancing capacity of TenneT in the Netherlands.
National grids must be able to balance electricity production and consumption and when this is disrupted, Transport System Operators (TSOs) are forced to activate secondary options to prevent imbalance, which often come from fossil-fuelled power plants.
To use Renault Zoe for network balancing, the car’s charging process had to be able to react to real-time signals. At Elaad’s test centre in Arnhem, in the Netherlands, the two partners conclusively proved that the Zoe is able to respond to TenneT signals within seconds. According to Jedlix, this kind of suitability is further proof that electric vehicle batteries can be efficient and competitive resources that contribute to increasing the flexibility requirements of national grids.
What the company has not mentioned in their press release, however, is whether the charging is bidirectional, i.e. whether electricity from the car’s battery can also be fed into the grid. Certainly, the Renault electric car does not come ex-works supporting bi-directional charging, only being designed to take up electricity. What is possible to help balance the grid, is that the charging power can be reduced if necessary – which can reduce peak loads and thus contribute to grid stability.
Two years ago, Jedlix and Elaad made the same tests with Tesla cars. “In a previous study with Jedlix, we also found a positive effect on the distribution network when we respond to transmission network signals, which is crucial for the long-term introduction of electric vehicles,” says Elaad Director Onoph Caron. “We invite all OEMs to implement similar programs here in the Netherlands.”
Restyled exterior with a new dynamic look and new colours
Up to 245 miles WLTP – Best driving range in its segment from new 52 kWh battery
Completely redesigned and improved interior – available with a 9.3-inch portrait style multimedia screen
Customisable 10-inch TFT instrument cluster as standard
New, more powerful R135 100 kW motor alongside R110 80 kW motor
Faster charging with option of 50 kWh DC capability, able to recover 90 miles of range per 30 mins of charging
Standard 22 kWh AC charging capability through Chameleon Charger™
100 per cent recycled seat trim on Iconic version
Full LED headlamps standard across the range
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard
Wireless smartphone charging as standard on Iconic and GT Line
Real time charging information using EASY CONNECT App
New regenerative braking B Mode that allows single pedal driving
Prices start from £18,670* OTR including the PiCG – most affordable in its segment
Available as Full Purchase from £25,670 OTR including the PiCG
Free fully-installed (7kWh) fast charging home wallbox for best user experience
Europe’s best-selling electric car, ZOE has sold over 10,000 in the UK since launch
More than 150,000 ZOEs sold across Europe – ZOE accounts for nearly one in five electric cars sold in Europe.
Available to order from mid-September
Customer deliveries from January 2020
The new all-electric Renault ZOE will be available to order from mid-September, with prices starting at just £18,670* and customer deliveries from January 2020. The new generation ZOE features increased power and range, a host of technological improvements, an overhauled interior and distinctive new exterior looks. The launch of the third generation of Renault’s flagship vehicle in its 100% electric range is a major milestone in Renault’s commitment to large scale electric vehicle development. Seven years after the release of its best-selling predecessors, New ZOE has evolved in quality and technology to offer superior features while remaining affordable.
Up to 245 miles of range – best in the segment Under the skin the New ZOE gets a powerful 52 kWh Z.E. 50 battery that delivers a range of up to 245 miles (WLTP) – the best driving range in its segment and an increase of 32 per cent over the previous 41 kWh pack. Despite the increase in range and capacity, the battery has not increased in size physically, meaning no loss of interior space.
Simplified and faster charging ZOE now also offers fast direct current (DC) charging, in addition to the alternating current charging (AC) options already available at home or on the street. Charging the battery is also made more straightforward by the Renault EASY CONNECT smart services, which allow quick and easy location of charging points.
Located behind the Renault diamond logo charging hatch, the new Combo (CCS) plug is slightly larger than the previous plug and consists of both a European standard socket and a two-pin connector for DC charging. The central location of the socket makes charging even easier, especially on public charging stations which have their own cable.
Thanks to this Combo plug, the New ZOE is able to charge quickly with a direct current (DC) up to 50 kW, simply by inserting the charging cable attached to the terminal into the two-pin connector that’s sited below the type-2 socket. Replenishing the battery in this way can add around 90 miles of range in as little as half an hour.
The standard type-2 cable provided with the car and the Chameleon Charger™ are used for everyday AC charging use, such as at home with a wallbox, at work, in a car park or on public roads using anything up to a 22kW supply. Plugging the ZOE into a public 22kW roadside charger can deliver a useful 78 miles of range in only one hour.
Free home wallbox charger When using a 7kW wallbox, supplied as standard to customers to charge easily at home, the New ZOE can charge from 0 to 100 per cent in nine hours and 25 minutes. This ensures that a complete recharge can comfortably be achieved overnight. Around 190 miles of range can be achieved in just eight hours. Users charging their vehicle at home can also benefit from the programming options, adjusting their recharge to correspond with tariff fluctuations from their electricity supplier.
The choice of two powertrains With the addition of a powerful new R135 100 kW motor option, as well as an entry-level R110 80 kW motor and the inclusion of a new B mode urban driving setting, the New ZOE is even more at home on both the open road and in city. The addition of two motors in line with Renault’s philosophy of sustainable mobility for all, gives customers greater choice and the option to choose a more affordable EV powertrain or combine with increased power.
The new R135 100 kW motor on Iconic and GT Line models delivers the equivalent of 135 PS and improved torque for faster acceleration and greater responsiveness. Engineers have used the increased-capacity battery of New ZOE (Z.E.50) to get the most out of the Renault developed motor, which packs a healthy 245 Nm from zero rpm and drives through a single speed gearbox, helping the ZOE sprint from 0 to 62mph in less than 10 seconds and onto a top speed of 87mph. Highlighting its real world pace, the 100 kW model can accelerate from 50 to 75 mph in just 7.1 seconds, which is 2.2 seconds quicker than the 80 kW 110 PS R110 engine, which is carried over unchanged.
New B mode driving function Both motors now come equipped with the new “B mode” driving function, which intensifies the regenerative braking effect to essentially allow the driver one pedal operation of the car. When B mode is activated, the car decelerates significantly faster as soon as the driver releases the accelerator pedal. B mode makes driving easier, especially in the city or in slow moving traffic.
Its integration is accompanied by a new braking system that offers improved feel through the pedal. As for D mode, it remains particularly useful when the car is moving at a constant speed, on the open road or motorway for example.
The driver can switch on demand between B and D modes with a simple push on the new e-shifter. This replaces the old car’s mechanical lever with an electronic switch. Simple pressure on the knob is enough to send instructions to the motor, while selected driving mode is clearly displayed on the centre console and on the 10-inch driver’s display which is standard across the range.
Exterior At the front of the New ZOE the redesigned contours of the sculpted bonnet converge into a large aligned diamond. The new shape of the bumper incorporates chrome inserts in the grill and around the fog lights, enhancing the lower section.
Set in the centre of the chrome trimmed grille is the large Renault diamond logo, which now features an eye-catching “holographic” design that gives a 3D effect to the flat surface. The badge also doubles as a charging port, which flips open to reveal both a Type 2 AC plug and the connector for the new optional 50 kW DC (CCS) fast charger.
All ZOE models now get full LED headlamps as standard, which feature chrome inserts and are framed by the trademark C-shaped daytime running lights. Not only do the new lamps give the ZOE a bolder look, they significantly improve vision, with 75 per cent more light than equivalent halogen units.
There’s also a new, wider front bumper design that benefits from side vents designed to improve the flow of air around the front of the car and over the wheels. Also included are new LED fog lights, standard across the range, that contribute to the overall improved lighting system.
At the rear of the ZOE are bolder and bigger new LED lamps that help to create a wider look and now include dynamic indicators that sweep from the centre outwards – the repeater indicator signals integrated in the door mirrors also use LED technology.
Other external changes include a completely revamped range of wheel designs, with three different diameters available – 15-, 16- and 17-inches. Regardless of wheel size, all ZOE models get four-wheel disc braking.
Completing the exterior changes are the addition of three new metallic paint finishes – Celadon Blue, Flame Red and Quartz White with a total of nine colours to choose from.
Completely redesigned interior The interior of the New ZOE has been completely overhauled with the designers paying attention to the interior quality, finish, comfort and ergonomics. Soft touch plastics and new sustainable trim finishes help boost premium appeal and comfort.
New 10-inch TFT instrument cluster – standard across the range Ahead of the driver is the new 10-inch TFT instrument cluster, which is standard across the range. This display contains the main driving information including an eco-meter that encourages eco-friendly driving habits. The driver can also customise the lighting and the layout of the different information on-screen and on versions equipped with sat-nav the instrument cluster also relays turn-by-turn instructions for safer, less distracting driving.
The dashboard has been completely redesigned to significantly improve quality. New additions include soft fabric inserts that match those used in the seats, creating a warm and comfortable atmosphere, while LED interior lighting is standard across the range.
100 per cent recycled seat upholstery – a first in the sector On Iconic versions there is 100 per cent recycled seat upholstery. Using the traditional process of carded yarn manufacturing, which creates a quality material “without melting” or chemical transformation, this fabric is made from safety belt scrap and plastic waste (PET) materials. This innovation is a first for the automotive industry, its sourcing and short-loop manufacture helping to reduce CO² emissions by over 60 per cent compared to more traditional materials.
Infotainment The centre of the dashboard houses the Renault EASY LINK 9.3-inch portrait touchscreen multimedia system, standard on GT Line and optional on Iconic, with a 7-inch version on the entry level model. This system controls the main functions of the vehicle and can be enhanced with specific operations, such as the real time availability of charging stations. Smartphone connectivity is taken care of by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Between the driver and passenger is a revised centre console that’s home to a new electronic gear selector, plus the driving mode selector, the chrome switch for which is decorated with the “Z.E.” logo and enables the easy transition between the various driver settings, notably the new B Mode that boosts regenerative braking to encourage single pedal driving.
Standard across the range is a new electronic parking brake, which replaces the traditional handbrake to free twice as much storage in the centre console which now contains the new wireless smartphone charging, standard on Iconic and GT Line models. In the rear, passengers have access to two USB sockets that can be used to charge devices such as mobile phones, tablets and portable games.
Safety and Technology Renault has engineered the New ZOE with a brand-new electrical infrastructure. More modern, it now allows for the integration of all the sensors and automated functions that are essential for the new driver assistance systems (ADAS). They are designed to better inform the driver, simplify driving and enhance safety.
There is a whole suite of safety systems on the ZOE, including the Active Emergency Braking System (AEBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Auto High/Low beam headlamps (AHL).
Further driving assistance features include the hands-free Easy Park Assist (EPA), front and rear parking sensors, Hill-start Assist and an automatic parking brake.
The ZOE’s infotainment system features the Renault EASY CONNECT set-up, which combines with the new Renault EASY LINK multimedia system and the MY Renault app to offer drivers a range of applications and services designed to accompany them throughout their daily activities.
On a smartphone, the MY Renault application includes a variety of useful services to manage a car remotely, such as a remote check on the battery range and charging status. You can also plan charging during off-peak hours, start or schedule heating or air conditioning to reach the ideal temperature of 21°C for the moment of departure without affecting the range.
Another handy feature is the ability to pre-plan your journey with MY Renault. After entering your destination, the app plots your route, including the most suitable charging points and, accounting for the recharge stops, the overall travel time.
On board, Renault EASY LINK’s connected navigation beams the route to the multimedia screen and includes the location and availability of the nearest charging stations. The map is also enriched with real-time traffic information provided by TomTom, plus new features such as Google Search. The EASY LINK navigation map database is regularly updated, automatically and transparently for the user, via the “Map Auto-Update” function.
The navigation and map can be displayed on the 10-inch instrument cluster ahead of the driver, which also houses the trip computer that provides information on regenerative braking performance and driving efficiency, helping to make the most of the battery’s range. The user can also choose the layout of the display, so that it shows their preferred information.
ZOE: Available to purchase in two ways New ZOE is still available to buy both as full purchase, with no mileage limit on the battery and an eight year/100,000-mile guarantee, or as a battery lease option, offering a more affordable purchase route with peace of mind and encouraging sustainable mobility for all.
UK specification and pricing The New ZOE is available in three trim levels: Play, Iconic and GT Line.
New ZOE Play – from £18,670 OTR* (including PiCG)
R110 80 kW motor
Full LED headlamps
7-inch EASY LINK multimedia screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Full 10-inch TFT instrument cluster
Hands Free Key Card
Cruise control and speed limiter
Electric front windows
Automatic wipers and headlamps
Free fully-installed (7kWh) fast charging home wallbox (for retail customers)
New ZOE Iconic – from £20,170 OTR* (including PiCG) Specification in addition to Play:
7-inch EASY LINK multimedia screen with satellite navigation
Inductive smart phone charging
Electric rear windows
100 per cent recycled seat upholstery
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) with lane departure warning, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition
Rear parking sensors
16-inch alloy wheels
New ZOE GT Line – from £21,620 OTR* (including PiCG) Specification in addition to Iconic:
R135 100 kW motor
3-inch EASY LINK screen
Front parking sensors with rear parking camera
GT Line synthetic leather and recycled cloth upholstery
Blind spot warning
16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels
*= plus monthly battery lease
New ZOE version
Top speed (mph)
Play R110 Z.E.50
Iconic R110 Z.E.50
Iconic R135 Z.E.50
GT Line R135 Z.E.50
New ZOE version
(0-80%, 50kW DC chargepoint)
(0-100%, 22kW chargepoint)
(0-100%, 7kW at home wallbox)
Play R110 Z.E.50
Iconic R110 Z.E.50
Iconic R135 Z.E.50
GT Line R135 Z.E.50
OWNERSHIP INFORMATION & PRICING
New ZOE version
Battery Lease Price OTR
Full Purchase Price OTR
Play R110 Z.E.50
Iconic R110 Z.E.50
GT LineR135 Z.E.50
*= plus monthly battery lease
50 kW DC (CCS) rapid charging
Iconic and GT Line
17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels
Winter Pack (heated seats & steering wheel)
Iconic and GT Line
Technology Pack (front & rear sensors with rear view reverse camera & 9.3″ Easy Link screen
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.