• First Drive: Renault Zoe ZE

    by  • April 30, 2014 • Car Reviews, First Drives

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    2014 Renault Zoe exterior front left static

    The Renault Zoe ZE is now available to order in Ireland, with prices starting from €17,490

    Renault’s first bespoke 100 per cent electric car has arrived in Ireland – and we took it for a spin around Dublin city centre at its Irish launch.

    The Zoe ZE is Renault’s flagship EV model and it’s also the first Renault to be designed as an electric vehicle from the ground up.

    The French car manufacturer describes the supermini as ‘stylish, affordable and incredibly versatile’.

    It’s aiming it at the commuter, as well as drivers responsible for the supermarket and school runs and ‘households who want to downsize their engine and carbon footprint’.

    The new Zoe ZE is available in three trim levels – Expression, Dynamique Zen and Dynamique Intens.

    Renault’s new 7in touch screen infotainment unit, Renault R-Link is standard on all trims.

    On the road, urban driving is a pleasure. Our route took us through built up city centre traffic and it glided along, handled nicely had had lovely weighted steering.

    Electric Vehicles in the past have been criticised for being a danger to pedestrians because, without engine noise, people don’t hear them.

    Renault has tackled this with ZE Voice, an alarm activated at speeds of 1-20kph which warns pedestrians the car is approaching. Drivers can select the sound it makes, or turn it off.

    2014 Renault Zoe charging

    Charging the Renault Zoe ZE with the Chameleon charger can take between 30 minutes and nine hours, depending on the power at the charging station

    Inside the cabin, meanwhile, is an oasis of calm, with the white, blue, and chrome interior of our Dynamique Zen test car very serene.

    The only sound is an intermittent soft, mournful foghorn-type murmur. The indicators, meanwhile, sound like the Countdown clock.

    Top speed in this car is limited at 135kph and it puts out 65kW (or 88hp).

    Renault has also addressed range anxiety, with New European Driving Cycle tests putting Zoe’s range at 210km.

    Representing typical usage of a car in Europe, this figure puts Zoe at the top range of production EVs.

    However, Renault qualified this ‘reference figure’ by citing suburban range in cold weather at around 100km and in warm conditions at around 150km. This, it says, is also the longest range in its category.

    The Zoe is also the first electric car to carry the Chameleon charger. It’s compatible with all power levels up to 43kW (fast charger) and offers charge times between 30 minutes and nine hours.

    Renault said it can achieve an 80 per cent capacity in about an hour using the accelerator 22kWh public charge point, of which there are around 600 around the country.

    Our first impressions of this car are positive, but, as always, we’ll reserve judgement until we get the Zoe ZE on a longer test run in the summer.

    The Renault Zoe ZE is available to order now, for August delivery. Prices start from €17,490 for the Expression, with both the Dynamique trims starting from €19,290. These prices include VRT relief and the SEAI grant. Battery hire starts from around €50/month and the car comes with a five year unlimited mileage warranty.

    Visit the Renault Ireland Facebook page for further details.