Renault Zoe long-term test review

The Zoe is one of our favourite electric cars – 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 ZE40 Dynamique Nav
  • Run by Rory White
  • Why it's here With its improved range and keen pricing, is the latest Renault Zoe an electric 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, EV choice.

List price Β£18,920 (after plug-in car grant), Price as tested Β£19,970 Miles covered 4522 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)

25 January 2018 – the regeneration game

I think it’s fair to say that my commute is a tad longer than most people’s. Although I’m mainly based in our Feltham office, I live in West Sussex, more than 50 miles away. With that in mind, I was slightly wary when I landed in the Zoe one evening.

In theory, everything should have been fine. We found the real-world range to be more than 130 miles and I knew there were charging points on the way. Even so, I worried as it was cold and a good chunk of my journey is covered at motorway speeds. In other words, the perfect conditions for draining a battery very quickly.

I started off cautiously, keeping my speed at a maximum of 60-65mph and using the regenerative braking as much as possible to recoup any wasted energy. It soon became clear that I needn’t have worried; by the time I got home, I still had plenty of juice and decided against plugging the car in.

On my way back in to the office the next morning, I felt far more confident. My top speed increased to 70mph and I even dared to turn the heater up a bit more. And even then, I reached work with plenty of charge left over and feeling more relaxed than I would in most other cars.

Why so chilled? That’s entirely down to the way you have to drive the Zoe to get the best out of it. Heavy acceleration and hard braking hammer the range, so you end up looking as far ahead as possible to drive in the smoothest way. Although that may sound boring, there’s something very rewarding about seeing the range go up after a particularly effective bit of regenerative braking.

Considering the comfortable ride and excellent visibility the high driving position affords, the Zoe makes a great deal of sense as a commuter car, especially if you can charge it at work. And considering that I can do just that, I'll be taking it home a lot more in future.

More on our long-term Renault Zoe >