Zoe helps Re­nault power on with elec­tric

Wales On Sunday - - MOTORS WALES - ED­WARD STEPHENS news­[email protected]­line.co.uk

THE flow of new elec­tric ve­hi­cles com­ing on stream over the next four years looks set to turn into a tor­rent, with Re­nault one of the prime movers.

Not only does the French car maker in­tend to have eight new pure elec­tric mod­els by the end of 2022 but au­tonomous ve­hi­cles (those which drive them­selves) also fig­ure large in the com­pany‘s plans.

In fact it in­tends to have 15 au­tonomous ve­hi­cles avail­able within the next four years and cur­rently there is a large busi­ness park in Nor­mandy where four such ve­hi­cles are al­ready in use.

The next Re­nault Clio, Cap­tur and Me­gane mod­els will all in­clude elec­tric ver­sions, broad­en­ing the choice for buy­ers who have al­ready opted for the Zoe, not to men­tion con­verts to the new silent world of mo­tor­ing.

But while the Zoe is cur­rently the only fam­ily sized elec­tric car the com­pany pro­duces there is also the slightly wacky Twizy – where two pas­sen­gers sit one be­hind the other like on the mo­tor­bike.

And less well known is the com­pany’s new range of elec­tric vans, in­clud­ing the new Master ZE, a very large van de­signed to reach city cen­tres with zero emis­sions.

Up un­til now the Zoe has only been avail­able with a 90hp en­gine but now there’s a new 110hp en­gine – at a £750 pre­mium – de­signed to im­prove ac­cel­er­a­tion and high speed drive­abil­ity.

Re­nault says the new model has a range of around 186 miles, al­though driv­ers I spoke to have been known to get more than 200 miles on one charge.

In cold win­ter con­di­tions the range drops to around 124 miles, but that’s still well within most peo­ple’s daily com­mute range.

If you buy a new Zoe part of the deal is that Re­nault will fit your home with a 7kW do­mes­tic wall box quick charg­ing point in with the price.

That means a com­pletely flat bat­tery can be charged to 100 per cent in just over eight hours, or overnight.

But while that might sound a long time most bat­ter­ies will rarely have to be charged from zero.

Sam­pling one of the new mod­els I was in­stantly im­pressed by the in­te­rior space of the car.

The height of the Zoe means enough head­room for even the tallest driver or pas­sen­ger while legroom too is more than ad­e­quate.

Priced at £17,420 the R110 ZE model that I drove had a max­i­mum speed of 84 miles per hour and a lively 0-62 mph time of 11.4 sec­onds.

But it’s in mid range driv­ing that the Zoe is most im­pres­sive with plenty of power on tap when you need to speed things up a bit.

And as well as be­ing silent it’s also a very re­fined car, co­coon­ing pas­sen­gers from the hus­tle and bus­tle of life on the road.

Along­side the dig­i­tal speedome­ter there’s an en­ergy mon­i­tor show­ing not only how much power you have left but how much you are us­ing at any given time, around 15kW at 40 miles per hour for ex­am­ple.

That means that, just like with a petrol pow­ered car, you can lighten your right foot and see con­sump­tion drop re­mark­ably while still re­tain­ing your speed.

The same mon­i­tor also shows you how much power you are put­ting into the bat­tery when brak­ing or not us­ing the ac­cel­er­a­tor, help­ing you to ex­tend the range of the car.

With the ZE spec, driven here, you can mon­i­tor the bat­tery charg­ing from your smart­phone and even set the cabin tem­per­a­ture ready for when you set off each day in the win­ter.

And if you are wor­ried about the safety of pedes­tri­ans when driv­ing this five-door, five-seater, you can now use an au­di­ble warn­ing to tell pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists you are head­ing to­wards them.

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