Renault Zoe sets a new all-time EV sales record

Renault Zoe in blue

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:

  • Price

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 Electric cars without these kind of safety features feel outdated.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?



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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4 years ago

Everywhere you read bad comments about LEAF and ZOE and hyping Ampera-E or new the Ioniq. But in real world Leaf and Zoe sold out these cars with 350.000 vs. 12.000 ! Also in 2017 the Leaf is by far on top and the Zoe is uninhibited by far in Europe! No Ioniq at all in top 10, ha ha.
Ghosn has no dream or vision, he just do what other manufactures do not want. Also if some people think Zoe or Leaf are to expensive, they must be proftible.

4 years ago
Reply to  Leafer

And for how long are you able to buy Ampera E and IONIQ?
And for how long ZOE?
I own ZOE Q90 and had a Q210 also.
Since quality didnt improve that much and charging is worse (no 40 kW anymore) and range is effectively same in winter as IONIQ with 100 km/h cruise, i sold my ZOE Q90 41 kWh and ordered IONIQ (for nearly the same price and without renting the battery!)

mathieu romain
4 years ago

Battery leasing is a real problem. For business it could be an ICE killer.

Asle H
4 years ago

The lack of a 60/40 seat is the sole reason I haven’t bought a ZOE. They are working on a seat solution, if the words of Eric Feunteun is to be trusted.

Asle H
4 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Have tried to pack my gear into a ZOE today. It holds a HK Lucas Nano 600, a Blackstar HT20 amp and a Mesa Engineering 1×12″ recto cab and a Mackie DL1608 in a Pelicase without any problems.Still room for my led-lights. With a foldable backseat I could have brought my guitars as well and still bring 3 people.

Neither the Ioniq, Soul or Leaf managed to house all this in the back. Ioniq came a close 2nd while the Leaf ended last in my gear hauling test.

Asian cars insist on having flush locks and inside panels that protrude into the available boot space, which again make them difficult/unpredictible to pack.

4 years ago

Battery lease is the BIG turn-off as I got so bored with the battery lease that I went out and swapped my battery lease Zoe for a new Zoe-i so I now own my car and it’s battery.
It’s so naff having Renault dipping into my back every month with no end in sight 🙂

4 years ago

Should be “Bank”

4 years ago

Why Zoe with battery leasing shouldn’t be more expensive than a Clio? The Zoe has similar or better performance than a Toyota Yaris Hybrid and has a similar price. You pay for what you get.

I agree with interior practicality, but not seems critical to me. I haven’t used the 60/40 feature of a car for 10 or 20 year, maybe.

New generation safety systems highly missed.

Fast Charging will increase usability a lot. With a 200 km range at 120 km/h, fast charging will allow long travels feasible. However a supermini is not intended for long travels. In any case, lack of charging infrastructure in Spain give this little value to me. 🙁

Increasing efficiency not so important. With a 41 kWh battery capacity I do all my daily commute (140 km, 90 of which in highway) with no need to drive efficient. Always at 120 km/h in highway and never using the “ECO” mode (also know as “Granpa” mode), I think like with mobiles at the 90’s, battery capacity is the main feature of an EV, but as battery capacity increases, less important will it be.
Anyone ask for battery capacity when buying a mobile now?

I chose battery leasing because a 119€/month fee for unlimited km is a no brainer to me. I plan to drive 25.000 to 30.000 km a year, so battery warranty will end after 5-6 years if I bought it. (160.000 km). After 6 years I will pay the same it costs if you consider financial expenses. Additionally I get unlimited warranty for the battery.

4 years ago
Reply to  Alnair

And i drive 50k km per year and the new ZOE Q90 is not able to charge with more than 37 kW.
No 43 kW – and 22 kW is too slow for me.
Also there is no battery heater. In Winter range is 180-210 km with 100 km/h cruise.
Thats why i sold it already and will get the IONIQ soon.
8 years / 200k km warranty and 5 years infinite miles warranty for the car.

So take the price of Zoe + battery lease and then you are more expensive than an IONIQ or probably Kia Soul EV, that comes with higher warranty.

4 years ago

The real reason why ZOE became so successfull is the 3 phase AC charging. 3P AC has the very best infrastructure because it’s already there. Leaving 3P AC fast charging by adding CCS will reduce success, because driver’s are not longer independant and the price for DC is much higher than for AC.

3 years ago

Now that the Opel Ampera e as a competitor looks to be killed off there is even greater opportunity for Renault and Nissan.