Today saw the Irish press launch of the Renault Zoe. This is Renault's latest vehicle from their ZE or Zero Emissions range. To date Renault have given us four electric vehicles in the Fluence ZE, the Kangoo ZE, the Twizzy, and now they are unveiling the Zoe to the Irish market.
This is a nice looking car with a lovely airy-feeling interior. The inside is nearly clinical in its' clean, crisp and clear interior. The exterior has some lovely styling, most notably is the lovely blue on the Renault badge as well as the light casings on the model I was driving. I will also be the first to put my hand up and say that this vehicle looks great in black - sadly I didn't test drive this option today, but I look forward to testing it in the future.
For those of you who have never driven an electric vehicle before there is something foreign to it. For starters turning on the car leaves one asking as to whether or not it is actually turned on! Once it is turned on it is a smooth ride and if you like the feeling of instant torque just put the foot down and safely try it out.
Today's drive of the Zoe only amounted to about twenty kilometres but it did leave a nice first impression. This car not only looks good, it also feels good to sit inside, and if you do end up going down the route of buying a Zoe, or indeed any other electric vehicle, you can journey in the knowledge that you're not burning any CO2 emissions.
Below are all of the stats as to how this vehicle charges and prices for the various trims of Zoe. It is worth noting that electric vehicles area a potentially major way of saving money. Sure, you may suffer from a bit of range anxiety, but between the manufacturers making extra efforts and the government putting infrastructure in place through the ESB, they are doing their best to eliminate some of the anxieties related to electric vehicle driving.
One thing which is a bit unrealistic about the government's goals in terms of EVs (Electric Vehicles) is that they aspire that 10% of the cars on our roads will be EVs by the year 2020. This is unrealistic, sadly our mindset and the aforementioned range anxiety will not make that figure attainable anytime soon. Although infrastructure is much better than 2010 there still isn't enough incentive to go down the route of electric vehicle technology in this country. Take for example the public charge point on Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin 2. There is nothing stopping non electric vehicle cars from parking there. Also, these zero emission vehicles are in the same category as a low CO2 burning cars, should it not be the case that owners of electric vehicles should pay even less road tax on this system than those of us with vehicles which burn even the lowest amounts of CO2 emissions?
Personally I am a massive fan of electric vehicle technology. With that said though they are not for me. I travel too many miles and would not be willing to stop and charge for an hour, or even half an hour, more than once if I was driving from, let's say, Dublin to Donegal. When the range (distance achievable from a battery) of EVs become longer and if I have the money I will be the first in that showroom for one of these machines.
For those of you who don't travel in car that often and if you have two cars, then it may be worth your while considering this type of technology. The savings are potentially massive. Sure, there is a monthly charge for the battery if you decide to go down the Renault Zoe route, but when you consider that the price of that starts from €49 per month it's worth figuring out how many times you fill a normal car per month with fuel and how much that will cost you in comparison. To charge the Zoe will only cost you a small amount of euro per charge and although it'll only give you 100-150km, it could still work out a lot cheaper than your internal combustion engine vehicle. Another good incentive is the SEAI grant available on EVs. This grant means that the Renault ZE range comes in at pretty much the same cost as a regular engine vehicle from Renault with a similar size and spec.
Here are the statistic on the Renault Zoe:
Zoe comes in three trims:
ZOE EXPRESSION €17,490
ZOE DYNAMIQUE INTENS €19,290
ZOE DYNAMIQUE ZEN €19,290
According to Renault the ZOE accomplishes many "firsts".
"ZOE – 6 WORLD FIRSTS:
1. The first production electric vehicle with prices starting from €17,490 (after incentive, excluding battery rental from €49 per month for 5,000 KM per year over three years)
2. The first production electric vehicle with a range homologated at over 210 KM (NEDC standardised cycle).
3. Real world range of between 100 KM and 150 KM depending on driving style and weather conditions, ZOE has the longest range in its category. An achievement owed to its Range OptimiZEr system, which boosts range in all driving conditions.
4. The first electric vehicle that can be charged in between 30 minutes and nine hours depending on the power of the charging station (between 3 and 43 kW), from just one socket, thanks to the Chameleon charger.
5. ZOE can be fast charged (43 kW – 80% of the battery in 30 minutes) at stations whose cost is just one quarter that of existing fast-charge systems.
6. The first vehicle equipped as standard with Renault R-Link, an integrated, connected multimedia tablet across the range."