Finally an electric car you might actually want to own Ashbourne …

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Renault Zoe Electric Cars

Finally, an electric car you might actually want to own

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IF THE electric car is ever going to make it into the mainstream then we need a model that s as cheap as a normal car, as practical as a normal car and with a range that will take us further into our journey than the paper shop before its battery runs out.

Some of the biggest players in the emerging fully-electric car sector are doing rather well with this at present and the latest vehicle to emerge from its high tech chyrsalis is the Renault ZOE, which is the firm s most convincing assault yet on our hesitant approach to fully-electric vehicles.

Let s start by discussing the elephant in the room. The thorny issue of range. Admirably, Renault doesn t tend to muck about with official figures that might have you believing that what their car is capable of in a laboratory is what you ll get on the highways and by-ways but instead they ll tell you what they expect your car s battery will manage.

In the ZOE, which is a striking-looking supermini with more than a hint of Clio DNA built in, their real world estimate is that the car will trot on happily for anything between 62 and 93 miles.

This is dependent on factors such as temperature, the number of things switched on inside the car and, obviously, the weight of your right foot.

It s all based on a calculation of typical supermini journeys , most of which, Renault surmises, are around 30 miles per working day. How this applies to you is open to your own interpretation but they seem to think the ZOE will satisfy most peoples daily commute and I ve no reason to doubt them.

Where it trips up, of course, is when the week of daily commutes comes to an end and the driver wants to bundle his family and bucket and spade in and head to the seaside. A range of less than 100 miles will mean this type of journey might not be achievable on one full charge.

Fear not, says Renault, because they ve developed a charging system that enables drivers to use a growing smattering of charging points that are appearing across the country.

These pillars, which are starting to crop up at service stations, hotels and other public areas, will give the ZOE 80 per cent of charge in around half an hour — or as long as it takes a normal family to have a wee and scoff a McDonalds lunch.

So for the first time, I ve been convinced that an electric car could be used every day. It gets better than that, too.

As part of the deal when you buy a ZOE, Renault will send a man from British Gas to fit a charging system to your home that will enable you to easily plug it in and charge it from your driveway or garage and the car comes with a roadside assistance package as part of its warranty.

They ve also devised a way of ensuring you never have to worry about batteries failing, or even losing power. With Renault electric vehicles, you don t own the batteries, you rent them.

This costs anything from 70 per month but, before you recoil in …, bear in mind that not only does this significantly reduce the cost of the car, but it means you never have to worry about the way you treat your batteries. Renault takes on that concern and they ll even let you pass on the agreement to anybody you sell the car to.

The cost of the car is crucial. We ve seen plenty of electric cars on the market and, even after the Government has given you a dollop of cash to help pay for it, they ve always been rather pricey.

The ZOE, however, starts at 13,995 once George Osborne s coughed up. And that s a good price for a high tech supermini that will cost you nothing in tax and fuel.

Renault Zoe Electric Cars

So it s all looking rather good for the ZOE. Renault has clearly put a lot of thought into what could become a market leader, but this could all trip up all this clever technology and well-thought out supermini focus.

Thankfully, it s not. Its Clio platform responds well to the completely different layout of an electric vehicle s powertrain and, inside, there s a lot of swoopy details and fancy lighting — but nothing is uneasy on the eye or too Star Trek .

In fact, the information fed to the driver about what state the battery is in and how much power I m using is among the best I ve seen and, although its not a quick car, the linear torque curve of its electric motor means there s plenty of grunt for pulling out of junctions and making progress on the open road.

The layout inside doesn t suffer from any of the usual placement of battries and brain-boxes, so there s room for a family and their gubbins. It s easy to live with, basically.


Easy to live with, easy to drive, easy to afford and easy to find a place for in our range-obsessed motoring society.

There hasn t been an electric car appear on the UK market that I ve not wanted to drive. I m starting to see that they finally might have a place in the future of motoring.

But in other electric cars I ve never been bothered handing the keys back.

The Renault ZOE is the only electric car I ve ever driven that I could see myself owning.

It s what the electric vehicle has always tried to be. And it s not just a new car, it s the start of a new chapter.

Renault Zoe Electric Cars
Renault Zoe Electric Cars
Renault Zoe Electric Cars
Renault Zoe Electric Cars
Renault Zoe Electric Cars
Renault Zoe Electric Cars
Renault Zoe Electric Cars

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