With 2.024 Renault Zoe registered last month in France, Zoe sets a new all-time record, as no other electric car model has managed to sell this many units during a single month in this country. There is no doubt that electric cars are ready to go mainstream.
Now that the battery capacity problem is solved with the recent 41 kWh battery, the Zoe has only just a few – easy to solve – limitations remaining before it starts competing with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars.
Let’s see what they are:
The Zoe with the battery leasing shouldn’t be more expensive than the Clio. Renault is clearly undermining Zoe’s sales by making it overpriced – as all other legacy automakers do with their own EVs.
- Interior practicality
A decent glove compartment and 60/40-split fold-flat rear seats are easy and cheap improvements that Renault must do in a Zoe facelift.
- Improving safety
If tested today the Zoe wouldn’t get 5-stars Euro NCAP safety rating due to the lack of accident prevention features such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) or Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS). Even the cheap new generation Kia Picanto – that costs around 11.000 € – gets AEB as a 350 € option. Electric cars without these kind of safety features feel outdated.
- Faster charging
Adopting the CCS fast charging standard by adding 2 extra DC pins, 2 extra cables, a charge controller and firmware update would enable the Zoe to recharge at a CCS fast charger from 0 to 80 % in roughly 30 minutes. This hardware and software modification shouldn’t cost Renault more than 200 € to implement in a Zoe facelift. Eventually this measure would actually decrease costs, by reducing production complexity with the termination of the Q90 powertrain nonsense. The R90 with a CCS fast charging capability is the only powertrain configuration that the Zoe needs.
- Increasing efficiency
Every electric car should have an optional “eco trim” that provided increased efficiency for those who care. I’m think of 15-inch wheels with moon discs and wheel skirts. This could boost the range and efficiency from 5 to 10 %, depending on speed.
- Battery leasing shouldn’t be mandatory
While in most countries we can now buy the Renault Zoe with battery included, France is still the exception. Even with Renault representatives insisting that people prefer the battery leasing scheme, we know that this isn’t true, as it suggests a poll that toke place at the French Automobile Propre forum, where only 10 % of the inquired said to prefer the battery rental scheme…
As you can see all those things listed above are simple to solve, it’s not rocket science. When Renault decides to get serious about EVs and start implementing some of the obvious recommendations, Zoe’s sales will vastly improve. We know that Europeans prefer superminis and the Zoe is probably the best looking supermini available – electric or not -, Renault just has to improve the interior a bit more.
What do you think? When will Renault take the next step to improve Zoe’s sales?