Renault reveals second-gen Zoe EV with 242-mile range
Updates prepare Zoe’s EV pioneer for increasingly fierce competition from Peugeot, Vauxhall, VW and Honda
Subtly restyled Peugeot e-208 rival receives new interior technology and a larger battery pack
Effectively a heavy redesign of the outgoing model, the new Zoe will go on sale in the autumn in a dramatically different market from the one its predecessor entered in 2012, with a range of competitors including the new Peugeot e-208, Vauxhall Corsa-e, Honda e and Volkswagen ID 3. Renault intends to maintain the Zoe’s position as one of the more affordable offerings in the market, likely undercutting these models with an as-yet-unconfirmed price not far from the £21,220 of the current car.
Sharing the same overall dimensions as the outgoing Zoe, the car’s design is updated with new grilles and bumpers, plus new, standard-fit LED headlights and tail-lights. There is a fresh colour palette inside and out, as well as new wheel designs. The intention has been to modernise the supermini’s looks.
The interior is more heavily revamped, with a new dashboard design introducing a 10.0in customisable digital instrument display as standard across the range.
Top-spec cars also receive a new curved 9.3in touchscreen infotainment display, similar to that found in the latest Clio, using the firm’s Easy Link connected technology. As well as being able to locate suitable charging points, it can tell if one isn’t functioning properly. A new smartphone app can also remotely pre-heat or cool the car.
Higher-quality materials and new upholstery, including one made using 100% recycled fabric, aim to give the Zoe a more upmarket air. New details, such as an electronic gearlever and parking brake, free up extra storage space in the cabin, while wireless smartphone charging and an acoustic windscreen have been added.
The Zoe’s biggest developments are in the powertrain department. The previous generation, which was upgraded throughout its life, made use of a 40kWh battery in its highest spec, but now an increase to 52kWh allows Renault to claim a WLTP-certified range of 242 miles.
Renault has also adapted the car’s charging system to allow a 50kW DC charge using a CCS plug, joining existing Type 2 and AC connections behind the enlarged front badge flap. An optional 7kW wallbox enables owners to charge the battery from empty to full in nine hours.
The new Zoe is now available with a choice of two motors. A base 107bhp unit – carried over from the old car – is joined by a higher-spec 134bhp version. Renault claims this power unit, which makes 181lb ft, allows the Zoe to achieve the 0-62mph sprint in less than 10 seconds and go from 50mph to 75mph in 7.1sec. Its top speed rises from 81mph to 87mph.
Chassis changes are limited, but Renault claims the spring and damper rates have been tweaked and all-round disc brakes appear for the first time.
Q&A Emmanuel Bouvier, director of sales and marketing and EVs, Renault
This is effectively a heavy facelift of an older design. Why not an all-new platform?
“We are in the unusual situation where we have a seven-year-old vehicle whose sales are growing significantly year on year. We are confident that this Zoe has plenty of life left in it, but we are considering using a common [Renault-Nissan–Mitsubishi] Alliance platform in future.”
You claim the new Zoe is part of a wider assault on the EV market. What is next?
“Our objective is to cover A-, B- and C-segments, with multiple shapes of vehicles [ie standard cars and crossovers/SUVs]. These will be focused on being passenger cars. I cannot tell you more at this stage.”
Does the recently launched City K-ZE fit into these plans in Europe, or is it just for China?
“We are currently investigating if the City K-ZE has international sales potential. No decision has been made yet.”