The electric vehicle (EV) space is heating up with a host of new entrants to the market, as well as Government commitment in recent weeks of €20 million in the public charge point infrastructure.
But some brands like Renault are already quite established players in the EV market and keep improving their current product. Take for example the Renault ZOE I was driving recently. The Renault ZOE debuted in Ireland in 2014, but since then it has already been updated with a more powerful 40 kWh battery to give owners a real world range in excess of 200km.
What’s new for the Renault ZOE in 2019?
Now in 2019, Renault Ireland has made a few more changes to the line-up to offer customers an even better EV experience. The Z.E. 40 battery is now standard across the ZOE range. They’ve also added a R110 version with more power and greater acceleration, with no detriment to range.
What are my options?
Let’s recap a little on pricing and specs. The Renault ZOE is an all-electric supermini with pricing starting from €24,990 in Ireland now for the Expression R90, after VRT relief and SEAI grant. The ZOE Expression R90 includes the 22kW Chameleon charger, heat pump climate control and R-Link navigation with 7” touch screen as standard.
A new, more powerful R110 motor is available on both Dynamique Nav (from €27,790) and Signature Nav (from €30,290) versions of the Renault ZOE, putting out 110hp. The Dynamique Nav version also offers rear parking sensors, hands-free key card entry as well as automatic lights and wipers, while Signature Nav trim includes leather seats, parking camera and BOSE audio as standard.
The Renault ZOE is a cute and futuristic looking small car. It has seating for five but that might be wishful thinking. Two people will fit more comfortably across the narrow rear bench, though tall passengers will find it tight! The ZOE makes an absolutely epic car for a singleton or couple however, and the 338 litre boot is not bad either.
Inside the 2019 Renault ZOE
The interior of the ZOE is basic and comfortable. There are quite a lot of hard plastics but the digital screen with driver information looks really cool. Infotainment is controlled via the Renault R-Link multimedia system and operated using a 7” touchscreen that includes Bluetooth and navigation. The driver instrument display shows information regarding speed, battery power and an econometer that shows you how efficient your driving is – all useful when you are trying to get the most out of your range!
On the road, the 2019 Renault ZOE feels agile and reasonably energetic, with light steering that’s great for a city car. It’s not the sharpest in terms of driving dynamics but it’s still fun to drive in its own little way. Out on bigger roads it offers decent refinement, comfort and stability for a small car.
How far will the Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 get me?
When I got into the car on a full battery, the available EV driving range was at 238km and I was getting the guts of 200km out of the car in real world driving. Renault say that in the summer months you can get up to 300km out of a single charge.
The wonderful thing about the ZOE – and what saved me a lot of stress – is the Chameleon charger. It means that you can get the best out of whatever charge point is available, even the more plentiful Type 2 chargers, because it’s always available to charge at maximum power. You can get a full charge in as little as 2 hours and 40 minutes from a 22kW charger or in 1 hour and 40 minutes from a 43kW.
So what’s the verdict?
The ZOE is a stylish and quirky electric vehicle. The threat of range anxiety may still put off buyers with frequent long commutes, but in reality the Chameleon charger makes a difference when you are out and about trying to grab some extra range whenever you can on the public charging network.
The Renault ZOE is clearly expensive for what is still a small car. However, it makes a surprisingly pleasant companion and entry into electric motoring.
Model tested: Renault ZOE Signature Nav R110 Z.E. 40 kWh
Price: €30,290 (Range from €24,990)
Battery: 40 KW
Power: 110 hp
Torque: 225 Nm
0-100km/h: 11.4 seconds
Top speed: 135 km/h
Range: (WLTP) 300km summer, 200km winter
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Motor tax: €120 per year