Renault’s Zoe was one of the first electric superminis.
It’s a market segment that is about to become more crowded with the launch of the Honda e, Mini Electric, Vauxhal Corsa-e and others.
Anticipating this surge from rivals, Renault has updated the Zoe. The exterior’s been given a slight restyle, bigger batteries and more powerful motors have been introduced, and a large touchscreen and soft-touch materials improve the interior of the car.
Prices start at a little under £26,000 (once the government’s electric car grant has been taken off) and the top spec GT Line R135 model I drove cost £30,495 without options.
My car came with 50kW charge capability, which is a £1,000 extra. This lets you use rapid chargers which fill the battery from empty in just 90 minutes.
Most 22kW public chargers will do the job in around twice that time, while a 7kW home wallbox will fill the battery overnight.
Official range is 238 miles, though in a week of real world driving, using heated seats, radio, lights etc, I found 170 miles is a more likely range.
That’s still excellent, however, and despite taking the car on some kind of journey I only had to charge it once during my week with it – plugging it into one of Dundee’s rapid chargers and going for walk while it filled the battery.
The Zoe is easy and exellent to drive. Just put the gear lever into go and press the accellerator. Eco mode helps eke out range by limiting power, while B mode uses regenerative braking to top up the battery.
It’s a nippy little beast, with a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds – though the instantaneous power delivery makes it feel even faster.
It will cruise nicely at 70mph, the lack of engine noise making it quieter than I expected.
The interior is a nice place to be, with plenty of room up front, reasonable rear space given its size and a spacious 338 litre boot. A 9.3in touchscreen controls most functions.
My car came with luxuries such as hands-free locking and unlocking, automatic cruise control and reversing camera.
The Zoe is a hugely impressive little car and shows that electric superminis have a bright future.