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Review: Renault Zoe electric car

At last, an affordable, practical, decent looking e-car. WOOT

To argue that the electric car has already failed is farcical. To date only one mass-market EV from an established car maker has been launched in the UK: the Nissan Leaf. Even I’m not fully convinced by the Leaf. I think it’s too big, too ugly and too expensive. A revised, cheaper, longer-range Sunderland-built model will address some of those failings, but I can’t see it changing my essential feelings towards it.

No, in my opinion the only two cars that will fly the flag of the e-car in a convincing manner in 2013 are Toyota’s Prius Plug-in hybrid and Renault’s new Zoe BEV. If in two years’ time global sales of these two are still piss poor then, and only then, will I discuss the “failure” of the e-car.
Renault Zoe

Renault’s Zoe: bang up to date

My initial impressions of the Zoe were gathered over the course of a two-day test in and around Lisbon on roads that looked like they had last been repaired just before the Romans pulled out. Naturally this also meant I was driving a left-hand drive car so I can’t guarantee the ergonomics of the right hookers we’ll get in the UK.

The Zoe is based on the same shared Nissan-Renault platform that underpins the new Mk. IV Clio. So everything is bang up to date and as safe as any other car in its class right down to the five-star Euro NCAP rating. The platform should also be a clue that the Zoe is a size smaller than the Leaf: a largish B-class rather than a C.

For drivers, the good news is that out on the open road, despite only having a 65kW (88bhp) electric motor, the Zoe feels both quick and responsive. More importantly it feels light and agile which is quite an achievement when you remember that there is a 290kg battery pack slung beneath the cabin.
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