My father always hated the idea of big cars (read SUVs). He felt after living in a space-scarce country like India, owning a big vehicle for a nuclear family is pointless. And yet, the current scene exhibits the majority of the carmakers coming up with their version of a mid-sized SUV. Moreover, even our very first all-electric vehicle was the Hyundai Kona Electric - an SUV. Just when I thought my father might soon be forced to jump ship, Renault comes to the rescue.
As per an Autocar report, Renault’s plans might include the introduction of its Zoe electric hatchback in India. The French carmaker further plans to showcase the Zoe EV at the upcoming Auto Expo in February, to gauge the initial public reactions. If all goes well, the carmaker might put the car on sale as well, with the release date estimated to be either late-2020 or early 2021.
Don’t expect Renault to bring the global-spec version as it is. Our roads-cum-potholes command modifications. Hence, the carmaker will be looking to provide additional protection underneath the car, protecting the floor-laden batteries from our omnipresent-yet-undulated bumpers. I assume the suspension will also see some tweaks by the time the EV lands on Indian shores.
Powertrain duties are expected to be carried out by a 90hp electric motor accompanied by a 41kWh battery. Even though the car is said to weigh around 1.5 tonnes, courtesy of the heavy battery pack, expect the performance to be prompt from the electric motors. The Zeo EV’s range will most probably hover around the 300 to 350km mark with fast charging available as an option.
In terms of size, the global-spec Zoe amounts to larger dimensions when kept against the Hyundai i20 Elite. The hatchback-EV measures up as the longer, broader and taller car between the two. Couple that with the floor-laden battery setup and smaller electrical components and you’re looking at a more spacious cabin as well — a big plus with Indian customers.
Although the dimensions resemble a hatchback, the price tag doesn’t follow suit. Being an electric car along with no further local manufacturing, expect the introductory price tag to be around the INR 15 lakh mark. In terms of EV competitors, the Tata Nexon EV will pose as the sole competitor at that price.
And if you comprise of the usual SUV-loving crowd, the Renault stand at the expo is expected to feature a concept SUV as well. That will be aimed directly at the compact SUV segment, competing with the likes of Tata Nexon (fossil-fueled), Hyundai Venue, Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and the Ford Ecosport.