Renault Zoe long-term test: report 3

Can you switch from a small petrol car to an electric one without changing your lifestyle? We've added our best value small electric car – the Renault Zoe – to our long-term fleet to find out...

Renault Zoe long-term rear tracking

The car Renault Zoe R135 ZE 50 Rapid Charge GT Line Run by Louis Shaw, social media manager

Why it’s here To prove that small electric cars can be more than just city runarounds and in the case of the Zoe, a genuinely viable alternative to a small car.

Needs to Be Practical, comfortable and efficient, with decent range between charges.

Mileage 576 List price £34,495 (before gov't grant) Target Price £30,187 (before gov't grant) Price as tested £35,155 (before gov't grant) Official range 245 miles Test range 191 miles

1 April 2021 – the sound of silence

Does it sound like a bird, or maybe a plane? No, it’s the artificial sound of motion. While I appreciate that electric cars are legally required to make a sound below 20mph – to aid pedestrian awareness – I’m not such a fan of the sound bestowed upon my Renault Zoe, nor the way it’s connected to the accelerator pedal.

Renault zoe long-term sound

Now, you may look at this as a minor issue, but if you’re travelling around London at an average speed limit of 20mph, as I do, the artificial noise will be playing like a summer anthem on repeat – a novelty at first, but a frustration by the 10th play.

Given how often you hear it, I hoped that Renault's Z.E. Voice technology would at least work in harmony with the accelerator response so as to seem semi-natural to the ears, and fitting with the experience of driving a car. Instead my Zoe emits a whir – like a muffled jet engine in the clouds – whose pitch doesn't alter as I press the pedal and lingers for a little while after I release it. It really does sound more like an electrical appliance turned on and off than a car.

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