Tuesday 16 July 2019

Longer-range Renault Zoe to be here by end of year

First Drive in Paris: Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe
Renault Zoe
Zoe Interior

Brian Byrne

The Zoe hatchback has underpinned Renault's electric car success for the past seven years. Now a third gen is coming to Ireland at year end. I was given a hush-hush preview of it last week in Paris.

The overall shape is familiar; it has the same external dimensions and platform.

It looks smarter thanks to LED lights (standard front and rear). There's a more prominent Renault 'lozenge' and stronger bumper, hood and grille styling. The interior is markedly upgraded, using similar materials and designs as those in the new-gen Clio (piano-type buttons for various functions).

The 10in main instrument cluster can be customised in several ways. A centre stack screen comes in 7in basic or 9.3in. A new 'Easy Link' connectivity system for EVs works with an updated My Renault smartphone app that extends the functions.

Zoe Interior
Zoe Interior

A change to the dashboard colour and finish of the material is now less likely to cause annoying glare on the windscreen.

The big ticket, though, is the battery. A 52 kWh capacity provides 20pc more range than the current 40 kWh. That corresponds to a WLTP-rated range of 390km - an extra 90km, Renault says. The battery is 25kg heavier but takes up the same space.

The new car ups the charging options too, with standard capability to use a 50 kWh DC fast charger. That allows 150km of charge in half an hour.

There's a more powerful electric motor, shaving two seconds off the current car's 80kmh-120kmh acceleration.

The new Zoe also gets a 'B' driving mode which harnesses more coasting and braking energy. For almost all driving it means not having to touch the brake pedal.

There's an unanswered question about what the change will do to price, but Renault says it is committed to keeping electric motoring accessible so it might go easy on the euro.

The Zoe accounts for 20pc of all electric cars sold on the continent. Sales have been increasing year on year, and they're accelerating. Halfway through this year, there is a 43pc rise over the total for last year. No wonder Renault is doubling capacity.

The carmaker has also designated 2022 as the year when half its models will be electrified to some degree; it will have eight 'pure' EVs and 10pc of its sales will be electric.

Upcoming is a small SUV, initially for China and later other markets.

And the compact family segment will soon get Renault zero-emissions cars in a range of body styles, including an SUV.

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