The Renault Zoe electric hatchback has been upgraded for 2017 with the option of a new battery to give it more range. It will go on sale in the UK in January.
With this updated battery, the Zoe can officially now travel for 250 miles between charges - or around 186 miles in real-world driving conditions, falling to about 124 miles in colder climates. That’s a significant boost compared with the current standard car, which has an official range of 149 miles - equating to about 106 miles in reality.
Renault says the Zoe now offers the greatest electric driving range of any mainstream electric car. It’s biggest rival, the Nissan Leaf, can manage up to 155 miles between charges, while the BMW i3 can travel for up to 125 miles.
The Zoe now offers only marginally less range than the pricier and more luxurious Tesla Model S, which can travel for 267 miles in P60 spec.
Renault is hoping to end range anxiety - the fear of running out of range and having nowhere to recharge your car - with the updated Zoe.
Charging times are comparable with the current model, and as little as 30 minutes of charging from a standard socket will give drivers up to 50 extra miles of range. Despite being more energy dense, the Zoe’s new battery is no heavier or bigger than that of the current car. All Zoes which are sold to private customers come with a wall-mounted home charger.
Renault is also launching two new services designed to simplify charging at any of the 80,000 charging stations across Europe. The ZE Trip system uses the car’s sat-nav to locate charging points and show their availability, while ZE Pass gives drivers paid access to charging points, regardless of which operator they are owned by.
Buyers can choose between the old 22kWh battery in the entry-level Zoe, while every other model in the range comes with the option of the new 41kWh battery, called the Z.E.40.
As well as its new battery option, Zoe buyers can also choose from a new trim level, Signature Nav. At the top of the range, this spec gets leather trim, heated front seats, an upgraded stereo system, rear parking camera, 16in alloy wheels and lumbar adjustment for the driver's seat.
We currently recommend Expression Nav trim, which gets you sat-nav, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and climate control.
For the 2017 model year, the Zoe is now available in three new colours, while there are subtle changes to the Renault logo, badging and alloy wheel designs.
The Zoe range costs from £18,995 if you buy the car outright - but buyers can also pay a lower total purchase price and lease the car's battery on a monthly basis. That total price also takes into account the Government's full £4500 grant for electric cars. Z.E.40 versions of the Zoe are priced from £23,445.
If you lease the Zoe, the range starts from £13,995 and includes a £49 lease if you travel up to 4500 miles per year. Buyers pay a bigger monthly payment depending on how many miles they do.
Would you buy an electric car? Find out what What Car? readers thought of the Renault Zoe in the video below.
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