Electric cars: living with the Renault Zoe

It’s amazing what you can do in London in a Renault Zoe

Tony Middlehurst
Sunday 10 September 2017 18:37
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We’ve been running a new-model all-electric Renault Zoe to see if its extended range and sharp pricing have finally brought mass appeal to the small car market.

It’s a tough class in which to do battle, even without the perceived restrictions of electric-only power which, for many, have disqualified cars like the Zoe.

But we haven't found that to be the case. This little Renault works brilliantly – and has delivered the odd pleasant surprise to boot. The first one was when there was a need to run up to Central London for a quick but important errand.

Choosing the Zoe fr that trip was pretty obvious, given its exemption from the £11.50 a day London Congestion Charge – a benefit for any car emitting less than 76g/km of CO2. What we weren’t expecting however was a remarkable parking perk. You can leave an electric car parked up in one of Westminster’s on-street bays for the maximum duration possible (usually four hours) on payment of just 81p for 10 minutes of parking. We stayed for two hours and saved £9.

Suitably emboldened, a couple of us decided to make a last-minute theatre visit to the West End. Our parking costs made the £40 cost of two return rail tickets from Esher in Surrey look ridiculous. Not being able to enjoy a beer was the only negative.

The easygoing nature of the Zoe means we’ve been using it just for the hell of it. It’s such a simple drive and the genuine real-world battery capacity of 160 miles on one charge has reduced range anxiety to little more than a background murmur.

It’s practical too. A bicycle fits in the back once you’ve removed the front wheel. Our only regret is that the rear seatbacks don’t feature the normal and much more convenient 60/40 split. It’s all or nothing.

There’s been one more demerit on the Zoe’s report sheet. Its USB socket won't charge up our mobile phones, even though it will happily will sync up a phone and play music from it. The car has been booked into Renault London West for a checkup on that.

Renault Zoe Q90 Z.E.40 Dynamique Nav Quick Charge

List price £18,920 (after plug-in car grant)
Price as tested £19,970
Miles covered 2183
Official range 250 miles
Real world range 160 miles
Options fitted: Quick charge function (£750), I.d Zircon Blue Metallic paint (£625), rear view camera (£250), Blue interior touch pack (£175)

Tony Middlehurst is a writer for WhatCar.

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