Much has changed in the battery electric vehicle (BEV) sector since Renault launched its Zoe in 2012.
The market has become much more crowded, with an ever-growing number of manufacturers launching their own BEVs with ever-increasing ranges, dwarfing the usability of the early models.
However, regular updates have kept the Zoe supermini competitive. And now this new version has moved it back to the top of the class.
On sale now with first customer deliveries due in January 2020 – Groupe Renault UK managing director Vincent Tourette told Fleet News the BEV would have lead times “comparable to ICE engines” – the updated model offers a range of up to 245 miles on a single charge, up 32% from its 41kWh predecessor.
Other changes include heavily revised interior and exterior styling, including standard LED headlamps, revised bumpers and a more sculpted bonnet.
As with earlier versions of Zoe, customers can either buy the vehicle and opt to pay a monthly battery lease (expected to start from around £50), or buy it at a higher price, but with the battery included.
Renault said in the past fleet customers have overwhelmingly opted to buy the car with the battery included and it expects this to continue.
The new model comes with either an R110 (107PS) or a new R135 (134PS) electric motor and three trim levels are currently available: Play, Iconic and GT-Line.
For customers who opt to lease the battery, the range has a starting P11D price of £22,115 for the R110 Play, rising to £25,065 for R135 GT-Line. With the battery included, P11D prices go from £29,115 to £32,065.
Note, a lease at £50 per month works out at £2,400 over four years, much less than the P11D jump.
All models are eligible for the Government’s £3,500 plug-in car grant.
Iconic and GT-Line models are also available with optional 50kw rapid charging (£750), which can add around 90 miles of range in 30 minutes.
As standard, all models have 22kw AC charging capability, meaning a car can be charged from empty to full in three hours.
We drove a GT-Line spec car on the press launch and it immediately impressed. The interior is a noticeable step up in quality and design from the previous version, making it feel less of an economy-focused model and more upmarket.
Its 9.3-inch portrait-style infotainment touchscreen – standard on GT Line but part of an £800 Technology Pack on Iconic – is a noticeable highlight.
On the road, Zoe rides well and offers a refined and smooth driving experience: there is a murmur of road and wind noise, but none of the intrusive sound of a petrol or diesel engine.
Tourette described the new Zoe as “wonderful asset and a key weapon in the fleet sector” and it’s easy to see why he is so full of confidence about it.
Overall, it’s an impressive package and given the upcoming 0% benefit-in-kind tax band for zero emission cars, if the lead times live up to Tourette’s expectations, then it would be no surprise to see Zoe prove to be a big hit among fleet customers.
Specifications shown for Renault Zoe R135 Iconic Rapid Charge