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2016 Renault Zoe R90 Z.E.40 Signature review

Much-improved range and same suite of strengths make the Zoe an EV that more people than ever before can now consider

RENAULT ZOE Z.E. 40 DRIVE TESTS IN PORTUGAL (Image: Autocar)
RENAULT ZOE Z.E. 40 DRIVE TESTS IN PORTUGAL (Image: Autocar)

What is it?

When the groundbreaking Nissan Leaf appeared in 2010, we were fed statistics that should, on paper at least, have alleviated a number of common fears and misconceptions that surrounded all-electric motoring. For example, the claim that a 100-mile range is enough for more than 75% of all journeys undertaken made the Leaf, with its 124-mile range, look positively practical.

However, what these statistics failed – and still fail – to take into account is that the car as a concept has been such a success over the past century thanks to its unparalleled flexibility. Having the freedom to go where you like, when you like and with a minimum of inconvenience is something the public simply don’t want to give up. In short, people care about that extra 25% of journeys.

Over the years a number of manufacturers have responded to the public’s fear of range anxiety, with BMW and Nissan recently taking steps to increase the performance of their pure EVs. However, as of yet, only Tesla offers an ‘entry-level’ EV capable of true long-distance motoring, in the form of the Model S P60D with its 267-mile range.

Thankfully, Renault now claims to have rectified this situation, with its new mass-market Zoe R90. Despite costing a whopping £34,345 less than the Tesla, the R90 is theoretically capable of travelling up to 250 miles on a charge – only 17 miles short of the premium US saloon. Granted, in real-world driving conditions that astonishing figure is predicted to fall to just 186 miles, but that’s still 80 miles more than the entry-level 20kWh Zoe and, according to Renault, is “the greatest range of any mainstream electric vehicle”.

This extra range comes courtesy of a new battery which has almost double the storage capacity of the current Zoe’s (at 41kWh) but, crucially, is no larger or heavier. This has been achieved by increasing the energy density of individual cells rather than adding more battery modules, thus Renault has been able to pack the battery into the same compact space as before.

Combined with a free home 7kW fast-charger, which takes just three to four hours to charge a Zoe to full capacity from empty, and new satellite navigation software that allows drivers to access paid charging points regardless of the operator, Renault says range anxiety is a thing of the past.

Read more: Autocar via Fuel Included

Latest prices for long range Renault ZOE

Renault ZOE Z.E.40 Deals

We have new PCP prices for December for the new Renault ZOE with the ‘Z.E. 40’ long range battery (for the standard ZOE see here). This new battery has an ‘official’ NEDC range of 250 miles equivalent to a highly impressive real-world range of 170-200 miles in temperate conditions (reducing to 120-130 miles in extreme cold conditions). This ZOE is available in new colours, including red for the first time, and there are other detail changes – full details are here and here.

Renault ZOE Z.E.40
Renault ZOE Z.E.40

We are offering a Renault ZOE R90 with Z.E.40 battery on 3 year PCP; this stands for Personal Contract Purchase and is currently the most popular way to buy a car because of its flexibility. You put down a deposit, pay an affordable monthly fee (less than many people spend just on petrol), and drive away a new car with fuel included. At the end of the three year term you can choose to pay an optional lump sum and keep the car, or you can just give the car back and upgrade to the latest model.

It’s like a mobile phone contract, but with miles rather than minutes included.

The new ZOE Z.E.40 comes in two versions, the Dynamique Nav and the Signature Nav. The Dynamique Nav is well specified with TomTom® satnav, climate control, electric windows, heated mirrors, cruise control & speed limiter, Bluetooth, remote control of climate control and charging, 16″ alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, and rear parking sensors.

The Signature Nav adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, BOSE® audio system, and rear camera.

These are the current prices (from 15 December 2016):

Annual MileageDynamique Nav R90 Monthly Cost (£1990 Deposit)Signature Nav R90 Monthly Cost (£2035 Deposit)Fuel Included Miles
6,000£278£31410,000
8,000£303£33910,000
10,000£317£354
10,000
12,000£332£36910,000
20,000£347£38610,000
Renault ZOE Z.E.40
Renault ZOE Z.E.40

 

For more details see the Fuel Included offer page.

 

 

Renault ZOE Arrives in the UK with 250 Mile Range

  • ZOE now offers best range of any mainstream electric vehicle
  • New Z.E.40 battery provides 250 miles (NEDC) of driving on a single charge
  • New top-of-the-range Signature Nav trim level 
  • Model Year 2017 ZOE receives upgrades to interior and exterior specification
  • Z.E.40 battery added to ZOE line-up alongside existing 22kW battery
  • ZOE was Europe’s best-selling electric car in 2015
  • Renault ZOE Z.E.40 ordering opens today, with deliveries from January
  • ZOE range priced from £13,995 on-the-road (after Plug-in Car Grant)

Renault UK is announcing pricing and specification for the 2017 model year Renault ZOE that was recently unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, complete with the new Z.E.40 battery that has a 250 mile (NEDC) range – the longest range of any mainstream electric vehicle.  A new top-of-the-range Signature Nav trim level has been added to the ZOE line-up for the 2017 model year which goes on sale today and will arrive in UK showrooms from January 2017.

With a 250 mile (NEDC) range, ZOE offers the best range of any mainstream electric vehicle. In real-world driving, Renault estimates the ZOE fitted with the new Z.E.40 battery has a real-world range of between 186 miles in temperate conditions and 124 miles in extreme cold conditions.

ZOE is now offered with a choice of two batteries – the new Z.E.40 battery and the existing 22kW battery.  The entry level Expression version comes with the 22kW battery whilst Dynamique Nav and above are offered with the new Z.E.40 battery enabling owners to choose a ZOE that suits their individual requirements.  The Z.E.40 battery is available with an optional Quick Charge facility that reduces charging times even further.  All ZOEs sold to private customers are supplied with a fully-installed 7kW fast-charging box that enables convenient charging at home.

The updated ZOE is being expanded to a five-version line-up based on three trim levels familiar to owners of other Renault vehicles – Expression, Dynamique Nav and the new top-of-the-range Signature Nav.  ZOE remains available to purchase with a monthly battery lease agreement or outright with no battery lease agreement.

The Expression trim level provides buyers with a comprehensive specification with a 7-inch touchscreen housing Renault’s easy-to-use R-Link2 infotainment system with TomTom® satellite navigation; climate control,  electric windows and electric heated mirrors, cruise control, speed limiter, keycard, Bluetooth connectivity and ample storage throughout the cabin.

Renault’s Range OptimiZer technology ensures ZOE is highly efficient with its heat pump, a bi-modal braking system and Michelin ENERGY E-V tyres.  ZOE’s Chameleon Charger™ ensures that ZOE adapts and always charges from a source at the highest rate possible, thus lowering charge times.

Renault’s Z.E. Connect app allows drivers to remotely monitor battery levels and charging status via their smartphone or computer. The ZOE Expression is available with the R90 22kW battery enabling a range of 149 miles (NEDC) and a charging time of 3 to 4 hours (0 to 80 per cent full).

ZOE keeps occupants safe with a five-star Euro NCAP rating and standard safety features such as ESC with traction and understeer control, Hill Start Assist and front and side driver and passenger airbags.

The ZOE Dynamique Nav adds to the Expression specification with a hands free keycard, automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, rear electric windows and electrically operated, heated and folding door mirrors, 16-inch ‘Black Shadow’ alloy wheels and a leather steering wheel and gear lever.  In addition to the Z.E. Connect app, the Dynamique Nav benefits from a one-year subscription to the Z.E. Interactive app.  Via a smartphone or computer this allows you to remotely charge your ZOE and schedule charges, as well as cabin temperature pre-conditioning, in order to maximise convenience and take advantage of available off-peak electricity rates.

All-new Signature Nav trim level

The new ZOE Signature Nav trim level sits at the top of the range and features supple leather upholstery, heated front seats, a seven speaker BOSE® audio system, rear parking camera, 16-inch ‘Grey Shadow’ alloy wheels and driver’s seat lumbar adjustment.

External changes for 2017

renault_announces_zoe_ze4-5

ZOE will be available in three new colours for 2017 – Mars Red, Titanium Grey and Ytrium Grey (available on Signature Nav only) complementing the Zircon Blue metallic added in 2016.  The Renault logo and badging switches from blue to chrome to accommodate this new colour selection.  The 16-inch alloy wheel design on Dynamique Nav and above has been changed.

Battery: Lease or buy outright

Regardless of trim level, the ZOE is available to purchase in two ways. Buyers can lease the battery on a monthly basis.  Battery lease payments are banded and reflect estimated annual mileage ensuring ZOE drivers only pay for what they need.  They start from as little as £49 per month.  New for 2017 is the ‘Unlimited’ option, that has no mileage cap, and is priced at £110 per month.

Alternatively, ZOE can be bought outright, including the battery, and therefore have no monthly battery lease payments.  Full purchase versions that include the battery are denoted by their trim level names: iExpression, iDynamique Nav and iSignature Nav.

Read more: Fuel Included News

ZOE Primer: First Drive

This is a quick introduction to using the ZOE. It is intended to give just the basic information required for a test drive, use of a ZOE from a hire/rental company, or to get your ZOE home the day you buy it.

Rapid Charging the ZOE (Image: T. Larkum)
Rapid Charging the ZOE (Image: T. Larkum)

Doors

  1. The ZOE is a five door car designed to look like a three door car: the rear doors are opened by pressing on the concealed black handles (marked with a thumbprint) next to the windows.
  2. ZOE uses keyless entry, i.e. it opens electronically via a key fob rather than with a physical key. There are two methods, the simplest is to lock and unlock the doors using the buttons on the key fob.

Driving

  1. The ZOE has been designed to feel like a small automatic car so it has a large gear lever beside the driver. It has the usual positions from front to back: Park (P), Reverse (R), Neutral (N) and Drive (D); these modes and the current selection are shown on the dashboard when power is on.
  2. To start the car:
    1. The gear lever must be in Park (all the way forward).
    2. The key fob must be somewhere within the car.
    3. Press and hold the brake pedal.
    4. Press the Start/Stop button to the left of the steering wheel.
    5. The car will start with an audible chime and ‘READY’ will show on the dashboard – the car is ready to move.
  3. To move away engage the Drive gear position (with foot still on brake) and release the handbrake (beside the driver’s seat).
  4. Note that the ZOE has been programmed with ‘creep’, i.e. it will move forward like an automatic even when the accelerator is not pressed.
  5. The ZOE has both conventional and electronic brakes and at low speed, below about 10mph, the brakes can feel a bit ‘grabby’ especially if you are not used to it; take care in car parks and other confined spaces.
  6. There will be an external sound for warning pedestrians when you drive forward up to about 20mph. Note, however, there is no warning sound when reversing.
  7. Once in Drive mode, since there is no gearbox, you can accelerate up to maximum speed (about 84mph) without changing gear.
  8. You can come to a complete stop in Drive If you are stopping for any length of time you should then engage the handbrake and Park mode.
  9. To turn off completely use the Start/Stop

Charging

  1. If charging from a home charge point ensure it is powered up and ready (a Chargemaster/Polar charge point shows an amber light, for example).
  2. Ensure the car is in Park mode, the handbrake is engaged and the motor is off (no ‘READY’ sign).
  3. Release the charging port door (it carries the Renault badge on the nose) using the button on the key fob.
  4. Open the charging port door (which swings to your left) and the internal charging port cover (which swings to your right) by hand.
  5. Insert the charging cable from the charge point. This should be followed by an audible click as the ZOE locks the connector into place (it cannot be pulled out by hand).
  6. If charging from a public charge point, at this point you need to initiate a charge (the method will depend on the charge point model).
  7. The ZOE dashboard will read ‘Ongoing Checks’ as it communicates with the charge point. The charge point will also likely give an indication (a Chargemaster/Polar unit will show amber and green lights, for example).
  8. When the charge begins it will be accompanied by a high pitched whine (not always audible to everyone). The dashboard will show how long the charge will take as ‘Time Remaining : ’ plus an hours:minutes display. It will also show the percentage charge complete.
  9. The car should be locked if unattended, but operating the locks and doors has no effect on the charge operation.
  10. The ZOE may sit at 99% for a long time to battery balance – it does no harm to stop charging at this or any other point occasionally if it’s convenient (e.g. when in a rush).
  11. If at a public charge point the charge should be stopped at the charge point. A home charge point can be turned off or left on and the cable simply disconnected.
  12. Release the charge cable connector using the button on the key fob, and withdraw the connector.
  13. Close the charging port cover and charging port door; charging is complete.

Source: Fuel Included Blog

Major changes in Electric Highway as revolution continues at pace

After five years, 30 million miles and £2.5 million pounds worth of free travel – Ecotricity will finally begin charging electric car drivers for using Britain’s most comprehensive car charging network – the Electric Highway.

A row of electric cars at a rapid charger station (Image: Ecotricity)
A row of electric cars at a rapid charger station (Image: Ecotricity)

A rapid charge of up to thirty minutes will cost £6, still significantly less than the equivalent cost of a petrol or diesel car, while the network will remain free for Ecotricity domestic energy customerssubject to fair use policy.

The almost 40,000 members of the Electric Highway will need to download a new mobile phone app to make payments, which will have the added functions of a ‘live feed’ of the entire network, so users can see the location and availability of their nearest pump, making it easier for you to plan your journeys.

The Electric Highway is the most comprehensive car charging network in Europe, with nearly 300 ‘Ecotricity Pumps’ across Britain which enable electric car drivers to travel the length and breadth of the country using nothing but renewable energy. Up until now it’s been the only charging infrastructure in Britain that was available completely free of charge. It currently powers around two million miles a month and has powered more than 30 million miles since 2011.

The usage trebled in 2015 and it has been so successful in encouraging the uptake of electric cars that it is now necessary to start charging for the service in order to maintain and grow the network.

A new mobile phone app will replace the current card system, which will be available for Apple and Android devices and will enable users to manage their accounts, pay for charging and check the status of chargers all in one place.

The switch to charging will be manually implemented at all charging points, with work starting on 11 July and expected to be completed by Friday 5 August. This will mean that the changeover to the app payment system will be gradual, with some chargers continuing to work via the free card system later than others.

Ecotricity believes that by 2030 every new car should be electric (pure or hybrid), and that by 2040 they should be the only cars on the road.

Electric Highway facts and stats, as of 31st May 2016:

  • The first Electric Highway pump was installed on 27 July 2011
  • Ecotricity has since installed a total of 296 Electric Highway chargers, of which 276 are rapid chargers
  • There are Electric Highway chargers across 96% of the British motorway network
  • The network stretches from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Jonathan Porterfield and Chris Ramsey were the first drivers to travel the length of the country only using public charging points –  a round trip that took 27 hours and 46 minutes in September 2015 and relied almost entirely on the Electric Highway
  • The Electric Highway has powered a total of 30 million miles totally free of charge
  • May 2016 was the busiest month of all time on the network. During the month, the Electric Highway powered 2,170,625 miles with 10,121 customers powering their cars with 347.3MWh of electricity through 43,211 separate charges. That’s the equivalent of having a car charging during every minute of every day throughout the month
  • 38,537 customers currently hold Electric Highway cards

Source: Ecotricity via Fuel Included News