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Geneva Motor Show 2012: Renault Zoe

All-electric small hatchback set to be biggest selling EV yet...

Renault has revealed the production version of the Zoe all-electric hatchback at the Geneva Motor Show today. This is a landmark launch in the world of EVs, as the Zoe is the first

The entry model Zoe Life comes in at a very attractive price. In the UK, the Government Plug-in Car Grant subsidy is available for up to 25% of the car’s purchase price (up to a maximum of £5,000) which means the prices for ZOE after the grant deduction will start from just £13,650. This is comparable to a diesel engine hatchback of the same size, which is the first time an EV has been priced so attractively.

There is an additional cost with the Zoe though, which is the battery rental - in the UK, monthly battery hire costs from £70 (9,000 miles/36 month contract), inclusive of comprehensive breakdown assistance (which covers flat batteries). This extra cost, including the cost of charging the batteries at night still puts the Zoe ahead on costs over a diesel hatchback though and you have the peace of mind that you are driving a zero emissions vehicle. Plus you pay no congestion charge in London and get lots of free parking for EVs so the benefits continue to stack up.

 The base Zoe Life includes an integrated Renault R-Link multimedia tablet, Chameleon battery charger and automatic climate control as standard equipment. The two high-end versions, the Zoe Zen and Zoe Intens, will start from around £15,000 after the Government grant.

Driving range according to the NEDC cycle is 130 miles and the Zoe is fitted with Renault’s Range OptimiZEr, a system designed to improve real-world range under all driving conditions. For example, in suburban use the owner will achieve between 62 and 93 miles which is more than acceptable and will mean recharging only need be done a few times per week given that the average car journey in the UK is just 20 miles in total.

The Zoe is the first electric vehicle capable of being charged at any power level up to 43kW in between 30 minutes and nine hours with its integrated Chameleon charger. The Zoe's battery can be charged in approximately one hour at 22kW fast-charge stations which are due to be rolled across the country soon. This intermediate power level ensures longer battery life and has less impact on the grid than a 43kW charging station.

The Zoe goes on sale his autumn and is available to order now.

Images courtesy of Renault

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more