“It looks like a chic new supermini but the Zoe is so much more.” That’s Ken Gibson’s verdict on the Renault, which he calls “the breakthrough car” in EV motoring.
For starters, the £13,695 price tag is not only “affordable” but £8,000 less than its nearest competitor. “What’s more, it’s the same price as a Ford Fiesta diesel, so for the first time an electric car costs the same as a mainstream internal combustion engine-powered car.”
Perks include a charging point fitted at buyers’ homes for free and leasing the battery for £70-a-month. “You’ll get a good chunk of that back on the money you’ll save at the pumps.”
After testing the “sexy-looking” Zoe on crowded city streets and a stretch of motorway in Lisbon, “I’m happy to agree that it truly does deliver and feels every inch a ‘real car’.
“The big difference is that it’s a much more enjoyable drive than even some of the best superminis. It’s so ghostly quiet and refined it feels like you’re driving a very expensive executive car.
“For millions of city commuters – 87 per cent of whom drive less than 37 miles a day – it is a realistic every day car with a maximum range of 130 miles, the longest yet in a pure electric car.
“In real urban driving conditions the Zoe will get just over 60 miles in cold winter conditions and around 90 miles in summer months.”
Gibson stresses that the UK is making “real progress” on setting up a network of charging points and that “filling up on electric power is dramatically cheaper” than petrol.
The Zoe is “perfect for nipping in and out of city traffic” and a top speed of 84mph “means you can cruise silently on motorways”. The layout of the “comfortable” interior has a “clean, simple yet sophisticated hi-tech feel to it”.
Gibson adds: “It’s the best electric car I’ve driven and I’d happily buy one if I lived in a town or city. For the first time, an electric car makes rational sense to an awful lot of motorists.”