Renault seeks increased appeal for Zoe electric car image

The French automaker has come short of expectations for its range of battery-operated vehicles, but seeks to increase sales of its dedicated Zoe model by appliying certain technical tweaks.

The company has managed to lift the vehicle’s battery range by 30 km to a total of 240 km (149 miles), with the subcompact hatchback being among the few electrically driven cars built from the ground up. The new, better-ranged Zoe will become available in Europe this spring, and what might be the greater news is that it would also cost less. In France, the car will have an upfront price of 22,400 euros – while a government subsidy can further drop the model’s cost to just 16,100 euros. The company used a lighter and more compact electric motor, together with an updated electronic management system to lift the overall driving range. The incremental update also comes after earlier this month on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show, Renault Nissan alliance chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn announced the company would move to gradually lift the range of its two best-selling electrics – Zoe and Leaf, to around 300 km. Now, the Nissan Leaf’s range is at 199 km, with the model being the world’s best-selling electric vehicle. Ghosn added that stages of 30-40 km will be used to achieve the new figure and their introduction will be accelerated in time.

The top executive also said that eliminating the consumer’s “range anxiety” – one of the main reasons buyers avoid electric cars – would not be resolved by simply lifting the total driving range of electric vehicles. “Today, you don’t worry when driving your car when you know that you can find a combustion engine filling stations almost anywhere but this is not yet the case for EVs,” said Ghosn. He added that charging stations should be just as widely available as the combustion engine filling stations and the tally could become even in around three to five years.

VIa Automotive News Europe