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Driving report Renault Zoe (2019): Almost Tesla range

Driving report Renault Zoe R135 ZE 50 (2019)
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The French electric car is outwardly almost the old one. Only the previously harmless round hood got a couple of strong beading in the middle, which gives the small car a much more determined facial expression. The air inlets underneath are slightly larger, the full-LED headlights look a little different, the rear lights have also been redesigned and now have dynamic indicators.

The smaller battery is actually big

The most important innovation under the sheet metal remains without any external signs: The optionally available ZE: 50 battery with 52 kWh net capacity fits into the same air-cooled casing in the vehicle floor, although according to Renault A quarter of 80 percent of the increase in range can be attributed to the newly ingenious arrangement of the cells from LG and only 20 percent on their chemistry. The weight of the battery only increased by 20 to 325 kilograms. A 41 kWh battery remains in the offer and makes the Zoe with the same equipment around 2000 euros cheaper, although it does not differ from the larger hardware in terms of hardware. It has not yet been decided whether Renault will offer the capacity increase via software update at an additional cost. This is not planned for the market launch.

The interior space remained at the same level: There is space in the rear for people up to 1.85 meters tall. Larger ones are likely to have problems with headroom and probably also with leg space - the back seat is mounted quite high because the battery underneath has a second floor at the rear end. Three adults in the rear are also recommended for short trips at best.

Decent trunk, tight rear

The 338 liter trunk is already the dimensions of smaller luggage compartments in the compact class and now also has a second floor , under which there is space for the charging cable. This means that the trunk floor is practically at the level of the loading sill. Fortunately, the backrest of the rear seat can now also be folded down in a ratio of 1/3 to 2/3. Unchanged: The high seat is in the way, so that the backrests are not horizontal and a high step is created in the middle of the cargo space.

Although the Zoe was designed as a pure electric car from the start andHas the corresponding package advantages, a lush center console rises between the driver and front passenger, which is annoying when the front seats are pushed far forward. With the facelift, the same recycled material can be found on the center console, the center section of the instrument panel and the door panels as on the seats. It's done clean and looks high quality. The lower areas of the instrument panel and glove compartment lid made of hard plastic are not noticeable. In the test car, there was a compartment with a rubber floor in the back of the center console for inductively chargeable smartphones, and two USB ports in the front. The infotainment system integrates smartphones via Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

Stylish touchscreen, operation not perfect

The 9.3-inch upright touch display in the higher equipment and the Configurable digital instruments with good resolution and readability do the rest to drive the small car character out of the Zoe. Operation exclusively via touchscreen, however, is not ideal: On the one hand, the menu navigation of multifunctional systems is seldom intuitively obvious for all users, on the other hand, the control panels or active areas of the display are sometimes small and do not always react immediately to touch - depending on the surface, operation may also be required corresponding to a restless hand, often more attention than it is necessary to concentrate on the road. This is most noticeable when it comes to the volume control on the display. The fact that rotary controls and large control panels are better is demonstrated by the control for the air conditioning under the touchscreen, which with its chic, metallic jagged edges is reminiscent of Audi's TT models.

The seating position is also quite high at the front, the steering wheel should be able to be pulled out a little further. In return, the clarity is good and the A-pillars are not in the way of the view in curves. The Zoe does exceptionally well in those areas: the lateral inclination is kept within limits thanks to the low center of gravity, understeer is only combated by the ESP at cornering speeds, which very few Zoe drivers are likely to use. A more direct steering could make the Zoe look more manageable in the city, where the at best average turning circle is also noticeable. The more powerful motor in particular pushes the front wheels to their traction limits when accelerating from a standstill.

Comfortable suspension, noticeable increase in performance

The comfort is very good: The suspension speaks up Short and more pronounced bumps are equally good, the suspension travel only reaches its limits with very deep waves, the chassis noises remain largely inconspicuous - not a matter of course, especially with e-cars. In general, the noise level in the Zoe is not reminiscent of a small car - more insulation material behind the instrument panel and in the doors made it loudRenault improvements over its predecessor.

The driver also perceives this in terms of performance. The new engine now gives the small car with 245 Nm 20 Nm and 27 hp more, the acceleration from 80 to 120 km /h should be 2 seconds faster, from a standstill the more powerful Zoe is in 9.5 seconds to 100 km /h , the 108 hp variant takes 11.4 seconds to do this. In addition, the 135 hp machine can accelerate the small car to 140 km /h (145 km /h according to the speedometer). With 108 hp, the electric Renault is electronically braked at 135 km /h. According to the manufacturer, there are no technical reasons for this, the still air-cooled battery would also cope with correspondingly higher performance requirements, but empty quickly. On the first test drives on mountainous country roads in Sardinia, the Zoe Z.E. 50 with the more powerful engine is usually even less than the WLTP figure of 17.7 kWh. And the range? Exact measurements are of course reserved for a real test. But the odometer showed 231 kilometers for the test drive, the on-board computer trusted the battery to be 96 kilometers afterwards. According to this, it would have been 325 kilometers - as I said, driving on mountainous country roads practically exclusively in the strongly recuperating B mode, which only works when the charge level drops to 90 percent. Before that, simply no recuperation energy fits into the full battery.

Now also quick charging with direct current and 50 kW

Gerd Stegmaier
If required, a new engine with 135 HP can be installed under the hood, and a CCS between the headlights Socket.

A battery that drains quickly at high speeds would be less of a problem with the latest generation of the bestseller in electronics: The Zoe hides now behind the branded rhombus on the front, next to the chameleon socket for AC charging, there is also one for CCS plug r for direct current charging with up to 50 kW. This should bring an empty battery back to 80 percent in 70 minutes or a range of 150 kilometers can be recharged in 30 minutes. The Zoe can still process alternating current in various power levels. 3-phase from 11 to 22 kW, 1-phasefrom 3.7 to 7.4 kW and at a normal household socket 2.3 kW - then the 52 kWh battery needs 34:30 hours from completely empty to 100 percent - not realistic for a full charge, but a good 100 kilometers Range are also possible overnight. All in all, the Zoe offers a very high degree of flexibility in practice for all possible charging stations and, together with the large range, is extremely suitable for everyday use.

Price question

And what does the everyday e-car cost? The starting price remains the same - sounds good at first. But 29,990 including a 41 kWh battery (and 108 hp engine) is still a lot for a small car. Sure, with a rental battery the starting price drops to 21,900 euros, but then 69 to 119 euros are due monthly for battery leasing. The larger battery costs 2000 euros more to buy, the more powerful motor (not without a 52 kWh battery) costs another 1000 euros. Another 1000 euros are added because this package is only available in the Experience version. A Zoe with 135 PS and a 52 kWh purchase battery costs at least 33,990 euros. For comparison: an equally powerful Opel Corsa e with 330 kilometers of WLTP range starts at 29,900 euros. Also interesting: The cheapest configuration for a Model 3 from Tesla with more than 300 hp and a range of 409 kilometers costs 46,370 euros (not including the environmental bonus).


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