My thoughts on the Renault Z.O.E.

20w ago

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Let's start with some numbers about the 2018 Z.O.E. The Q90 model featured here has a theoretical range of 290 km, but you're more likely to see around 200 km, except when babying the car around with it's ECO mode switched on. It can recharge its battery in about 25 hours with a home charger, or two and a half hours on a fast charger, so it's worth investing in a faster home charger when buying any electric car. Its electric motor puts out 65 kw or 88 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque, but it produces these numbers from a dead stop, so it feels quick, even though it takes 13,2 second to reach 100 km/h. The city is where Z.O.E. feels at home, with its light steering and smaller size. For comparison it's only 4 centimeters longer and just as wide as a Clio, on which it is based on. Because of the batteries, Z.O.E. weighs 400kg more, but they are mounted low in the car so it rolls less than you'd think in the corners. The suspension however has to be stiffer, so the car can feel bouncy over bigger bumps and holes.

The car is 11 centimeters higher than a Clio and features funky blue rear lights.

You can of course take your Z.O.E. on to the highway and the car will be quiet and comfortable, but it feels happiest at around 110/120 km/h and is limited to 140 km/h. The problem with highway use, is you can see your range disappearing into thin air much faster, than on a back road. Electric cars aren't that great for doing long trips. This one is however not bad when it comes to storage space. There's ample room in the back row and the boot is bigger than in a Clio (338 litres), due to this car's higher roof line. If you want to expand this the back seats do fold down, but unfortunately only as a single unit. The boot increases to 1225 litres, but you lose all rear seating.

The boot lip is rather huge and the seats don't fold down completely flat, but the overall size is the same as the Golf.

From the driver's seat, it feels a lot like a Clio. It has some funky details to help you remember this is an electric car, but the materials as a whole feel cheap. The dashboard is the biggest offender, with it's cheap textured plastic, that reflects on the windshield in practically HD quality. The seats look good, but don't feature adjustable lumbar and aren't height adjustable, meaning if you are over 1,90 metres tall, you'll struggle to find a comfortable position. The lack of an armrest is another failure of this super-mini and its cup holders are abominable.

As a whole, the Z.O.E. feels cheaper than a car starting at 32.290 € should. You may see it advertised at just under 24.000€, but that means you are renting the battery and have a limit on the amount of kilometres you can drive. You do get incentives from most countries for saving the planet, so the price can come down a few thousand euros, but it's still a hard sell over a normal petrol powered Clio.

Z.O.E. feels right at home in nature.

Now, onto more important topics..

The meaning of life itself!

What does it mean to be aliv... No wait, that's for a different blog.

Electric cars in my opinion

They are the future. They are absolutely the future of motoring, because in just over 55 years we will run out of oil with current levels of consumption. Most of us will still be alive when the pumps run dry and we will be forced to change how we produce electricity and more importantly power our cars. For a time hydrogen looked like the best bet for the future and it may still be, but that has it's own set of problems, so for now all we have are batteries. And battery technology has progressed so far in the last decade, you can only imagine what capacities and recharge times will be possible another ten years from now.

The front also features blue accents in its headlights

But no matter how fast the chargers get, not everyone will have them. And herein lies my biggest problem with electric cars. When I sat into the Z.O.E. this Monday morning and the dash said 290 kilometres left, I felt at ease. 290 is a lot of kms I though to myself, I'll never get through that in a day. So after driving for an hour I again looked at a dash and it read 150. I know I didn't do 140 kms, the trip computer even said so, but my driving style drained the battery over half way in less than 100 kilometres of driving. And than the slight panic, that you feel when your needle rests on Empty in a normal car, set in. Do I have enough range to make it back home? What if I run out? Can this car even be towed? These were the kind of questions that went through my head at that time. But the battery still had half it's charge, so of course I made it home and with 30km to spare. But the fear of running out is so much bigger in an electric car, because after that fear sets in you are automatically driving in full hypermiling mode and can't just call a mate and ask him to bring a jerrycan when you run out. You HAVE TO tow the car. In the future we may see trucks with batteries strapped to the rear, that you call when you run out and they come and fill you up, so you can get home, but that as of yet doesn't exist.

The car is full of small details, like this fingerprint on the rear door handle

I know electric cars will get better. And what people like Elon Musk are doing is great. But today, if you use your car for anything other than going to work and back, I cannot recommend an electric car. If you still want to reduce your carbon footprint, get a plug-in hybrid. You can still get to work and back on electricity, but still take the car on a longer journey without the constant fear of remaining stranded at the side of the road.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Leave your comment below!

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