Renault Zoe Owner Review

title image of Renault ZOE - the car with the best ratio of range and equipment to market price

Renault Zoe

Life R110 2020

9.3/10not logged16 votes

Renault ZOE - the car with the best ratio of range and equipment to market price

The ZOE intrigued me for several reasons. In particular, the price includes a high-performance AC 22 kW charge, which allows me to easily recharge relatively quickly and inexpensively at home and at work.

12 Mar 2021

Renault Zoe Pros and Cons

Pros:
  • it's the car with the best range and equipment to market price ratio

  • unbeatably fast AC charging (for me a key buying point) - at home I charge the car from empty in just 2.5 hours - so I practically don't even need DC

  • cheap insurance coefficients and associated operating expenses

  • very cheap spare parts and available service

  • even basic equipment includes such features as a heat pump and LED lights

  • it has an air-cooled engine and battery

  • The charging connector is in an ideal location - under the logo at the front (short DC charger cables easily reach)

  • very decent consumption: real average 11- 13 kWh in summer - 16 kWh in winter, on the highway at 130 km/h 23 kWh, and in conjunction with the large battery of 55 kWh/52 kWh), the summer range is up to 480 km, winter is around 280 - 320 km

  • extremely comfortable chassis - especially on my version with 15” tires

  • relative to its segment, it has a deep and spacious boot

Cons:
  • the absence of lighting above the rear seats

  • in the infotainment, it is not possible to restrict charging e.g., at 80%

  • less space in the rear seats

  • official impossibility of having any tow hitch

  • sharp rear door edge (though the door shape makes sense making it easier to get in, and the rear window can be fully lowered)

Considered buying

BMW i3

example image of BMW i3

The Attractions:

fun, powerful and surprisingly quite spacious

The Dealbreakers:

expensive, small battery, expensive spare parts, rigid chassis

Jac iEV7S

example image of Jac iEV7S

The Attractions:

I like it, similar to the Hyundai Kona, nice-looking refinement

The Dealbreakers:

small battery, slightly more expensive than the ZOE, only one service center in the entire Czech Republic

Owner Review

Renault ZOE - the car with the best ratio of range and equipment to market price

Many years ago, around 1996, I had the opportunity to check out the electric Škoda Beta. Next, I “encountered” the electric Škoda Favorit. As far as I know, these were exported to Switzerland. Ten years later, I met a man who had bought an electric Peugeot 106. Then in 2009 at an exhibition in Leipzig, I saw the first truly large-series manufactured electric car, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

IMG 0075

TAZZARI Zero

Well, it didn't take too long, and in 2013, I bought my own first electric car. It was a two-door mini-car from Italy, the TAZZARI Zero, slightly used with 4,000 km on it. It managed to get it up to 100 km/h. It had an aluminium frame, asynchronous engine at the rear and rear wheel drive. Simply a fun little “go-cart”. Its LiFePO battery was modern for its time. I ultimately put 70,000 km on it! Though the battery was not large, its low consumption meant that I could travel up to 130 km on one charge. Consumption was only around 10 kWh and it had a diesel heater. An hour’s worth of recharging by standard outlet gave me cca 35 km.

By 2016, I began longing for something better, and another opportunity presented itself to buy a slightly used electric car. This time it was almost a fully mature car, a Peugeot iOn, with only 5,000 km on it. I described in more detail my experience with it in another review here.

IMG 20210118 114112

Peugeot iOn

The iOn is an excellent electric car. I still own it, but I ultimately wanted a long-range electric car that I could easily use to travel the Czech Republic and sometimes take a trip abroad. So, I started looking around the market to see what was out there (2020). I tried, for example, the BMW i3, China's JAC, and I was also interested in an Opel Ampera-e, whose last models are being sold at good prices e.g., in Germany.

BMW i3

Because I am very practically oriented, for me the i3 is unnecessarily expensive and still has a relatively small battery. I don’t like the rear-hinged rear doors because for someone getting in the back, you have to open the front door and unbuckle. Also, I had concerns over high prices for service and spare parts. As a car however, the i3 is great fun to drive, it’s strong and surprisingly quite spacious. Then again, it has an extremely rigid chassis, and for everyday driving, I found this to be bothersome.

JAC iEV7S

Briefly. I liked this car too, but it too had a smaller battery (39 kWh), only one service center in the Czech Republic, no heat pump and the price (around EUR 31,000) was a little higher than the offer I ultimately got for the ZOE. But this car is indeed nicely designed, and I almost picked it.

Opel Ampera-e

This car is actually an American Chevrolet Bolt imported into Europe as an Opel. But Opel has come under the Groupe PSA, so sales of Ampera-e are ending. This fact however meant good prices in Germany, plus Ampera-e has a large Li-ion battery capacity of 60 kWh.

And the winner is.... the Renault ZOE

Ultimately, the Renault ZOE won it all. Why is that? Starting from the beginning, I had inquired about the ZOE with several dealers, and the best offer pleasantly surprised me. For EUR 26,000, including VAT, I did get the basic trim level Life (I didn’t want higher), but with DC charging included (otherwise a EUR 1,100 surcharge), along with their Winter Pack (heated seats and heated steering wheel), metallic paint and parking sensors. The all-important heat pump comes as standard with the ZOE!

DSC 4642b

The ZOE intrigued me for several reasons. In particular, the price includes a high-performance AC 22 kW charge, which allows me to easily recharge relatively quickly and inexpensively at home and at work. The advantage of the three-phase AC charger for me is that at home, I have a rooftop 10kW solar power system, which is also three-phase. This means I can charge at full power, provided by just these photovoltaics.

I only use DC fast charging occasionally. The ZOE unfortunately is not capable on the display of setting the maximum percentage of charge (e.g., at 80%).

In just under six months, I put 22,000 km on the ZOE, of course fault-free and with no interior creaking or squeaking.

My daily driving averaged 100-200 km, for which a large battery more than suffices. The vast majority of charging takes place at home and at work. In just 2.5 hours, the ZOE’s charged. Its battery has nominal capacity of 54.7 kWh, of which 52 kWh is usable.

IMG 20201130 082000

The charging connector is in an ideal location.

On the road, I like to use cheaper AC charging, which is often free. For example, I took a trip in the fall through Austria with charging completely free, because I easily found through a phone application those particular and plentiful AC stations spread across the country. The cruising pace also meant low consumption, which decreased to 11 kWh per 100 km (translating to a range of almost 500 km). Normally I run at 13.5 kWh per 100 km in summer, but in winter, the need for interior heating causes consumption to rise to 18 kWh. The ZOE’s worst performance is on motorways limited to 130 km/h, where consumption climbs to 23 kWh. However, reducing the speed to approximately 115 km/h rapidly reduces power consumption to 18 kWh.

Now, in winter, I appreciate the heated seats and heated steering wheel, as well as the well-lit LED lights.

Renault Zoe Photos

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Discussion

  • 2021-06-05 21:55:59 UTC

    Great car as a package!

    Yer some cars are better as some things but the ze50 is good at everything than matters , in first 3 months did 6500 miles and 420 miles in one day and 1050 miles in 4 days with sightseeing etc with a family of 4 . Fits all our stuff in and was getting 150-180 miles range in winter short journeys and 220-280 miles in summer and it’s happy to travel at 70 mph without not too high consumption ! 200-220 miles with bit left to be sure getting a charge at 70 mph in summer!

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