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Renault Zoe long-term test review

We've added our current Electric Car of the Year to our long-term test fleet. With its improved range, is range anxiety now a thing of the past?

Words By Rory White

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Renault Zoe
  • The car Renault Zoe Q90 Z.E.40 Dynamique Nav Quick Charge
  • Run by Rory White
  • Why it's here With its improved range and keen pricing, is the latest Renault Zoe a pure electric small car for the masses? We’re running one to find out.
  • Needs to Prove it can mix with the best fuel-powered cars as an alternative, pure-EV choice.

List price Β£18,920 (after plug-in car grant), Price as tested Β£19,970 Miles covered 3520 Official range 250 miles Real-world range 160 miles (summer) 130 miles (winter) Options fitted Quick charge function (Β£750), I.d Zircon Blue Metallic paint (Β£625), rear view camera (Β£250), Blue interior touch pack (Β£175)


6 December 2017 – Range testing

Now we’ve had a chance to drive our Zoe on various roads and at different times of the year, we thought it’s about time to update you on our real-world range experiences.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s worth remembering that, just like with internal combustion engines and fuel economy, the claimed range given by manufacturers for electric cars needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. These ranges are worked out in labs, and while they are a good indicator of what an EV is ultimately capable of, it doesn’t reflect how they are used in the real world and what you’re likely to achieve yourself.

It’s also worthing bearing in mind how EV ranges fluctuate throughout the year as the UK’s temperature changes. Batteries work best in warm weather when their internals are most efficient. In cold weather, they struggle to achieve the same longevity, while powering the car’s heating system on the go also takes its toll.

However, unlike many EV manufacturers, Renault is honest in giving you its own real-world predicted ranges via an online calculator which you can find here So, did our Zoe manage to beat Renault’s more conservative figures?

Well, surprise surprise, in the warmer summer months when the temperature was in the mid-twenties and over mixed driving our Zoe managed to cover the furthest range, some 160 miles, which is someway down on its official 250-mile range, but much closer to the calculator’s figure and a very impressive result amongst its peers – especially given its modest price. You can go further, but you’ll need to spend a serious wad of cash on a fancy Tesla to do so.

However, we’re now deep in the throes of winter and carrying out the same test at between 3-5 degrees celsius resulted in the Zoe’s range dropping to 131 miles. That’s disappointing, yes, but also frankly inevitable. All-told, the ability to cover 130 miles is still a hugely commendable considering Renault’s own calculator was more pessimistic.

More on our long-term Renault Zoe >