Renault Zoe Review

The Renault Zoe is a great all-electric car for both range and price. Amongst the six models on offer is the cheapest fully electric car in the UK (the 22 kWh Expression NAV) and cars with 155 miles of range from the Z.E. 40 battery - more driving range than the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3. Both the Leaf and the i3 are a bit zippier and quicker to charge, however. Zoe drivers also have the option to hire the battery for a monthly charge instead of buying it outright, reducing the initial purchase price by £5,600. An added perk is the free wallbox to supply 7 kWh of charge at home to your Zoe.

Pros...

  • 338 litres of boot space
  • Starting price under £20,000
  • Option to hire battery, reducing purchase price
  • Z.E. 40 battery range around 155 miles

Cons...

  • 0 - 62 mph in 13.5 seconds

Review: Is the Renault Zoe the EV for you?

The Renault Zoe offers great affordable electric cars with longer than average driving ranges. Those in the market for a cheap EV should consider the 90-mile range, 22 kWh Expression model, which can be purchased for an on-the-road starting price of £19,845 (net of government grant) or only £14,245 if you hire the battery. Anyone after maximum range might prefer paying an extra £4k to upgrade to a model with the larger Z.E. 40 battery, supplying around 150 miles of driving range between charges.

By driving an EV like the Zoe, the average driver can save around £900 a year in fuel and vehicle tax savings vs a petrol car. Assuming an electricity cost of 16.7p/kWh, a full charge on the larger Z.E 40 battery costs around £6.80; the smaller 22 kWh battery costs about £3.65 to charge. That's an energy cost of only 4 - 5p per mile, nearly 70% less than the average 14p per mile you'd pay driving a petrol car. Read more in our article How Much Can You Save with an Electric Car.

The larger Z.E. 40 battery can achieve an 80% charge in as little as an hour on a rapid 43kWh charger (often found in motorway service centers), if you've paid an extra £750 for the Quick Charge option. Without Quick Charge, you're looking at an hour and 40 minute wait. If you expect to make regular journeys longer than 180 miles in summer or 120 miles in winter, paying for the Quick Charge feature for the Z.E. battery will be a lifesaver. No one wants to sit at a charging point for over an hour and a half - there are only so many coffees you can drink.

When you buy a Zoe, you'll get a free wallbox from Chargemaster for faster home charging (subject to conditions). The wallbox charges the Zoe at a rate of 7.4 kilowatts per hour, more than doubling the charging speed from a domestic plug. Even with the wallbox, it will take 7 - 8 hours to charge the larger Z.E. 40 battery and 4 hours to charge the 22 kWh battery. These home charging times are typical and perfectly acceptable, since most people plug in their cars overnight and wake to a fully-charged car in the morning.

In the interest of saving energy, you might not be looking for quick acceleration from your fully electric car. Even so, be aware that the Renault Zoe is the slowest off the mark of the EVs available in the UK, taking 13.5 seconds to bring the car up to 62 mph. If you're after a faster car, you can find out more information in our article Best Electric Cars.

Renault Zoe Features

  • Approximate 90 mile range on the 22 kWh battery
  • Approximate 150 mile range on the 41 kWh Z.E. 40 battery
  • Running costs around 4.1p - 4.8p per mile
  • 111 MPGe (MPG equivalent), approximately
  • Charge times from 65 min at a rapid charger or overnight on a home wallbox

Range & Battery

The Renault Zoe comes with a choice of two battery options, a smaller 22 kWh and a larger Z.E. 40 (which actually has a capacity of 41 kWh). The larger the battery, the further the car can drive on a single charge. The 22 kWh battery can go an estimated 89 miles on average from a full charge - more specifically, 106 miles in summer and 71 miles in colder winter months. Since it is a larger battery the Z.E. 40 can go further, offering around 180 miles in summer, 120 miles in winter and 150 miles on average. Upgrading the Z.E. 40 to a quick charge (Q90) option (more on that below) reduces the range a bit, as you can see in the following table.

Summer Range (miles)Winter Range (miles)Overall Range (miles)
Renault Zoe 22kW R901067189
Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 R90186124155
Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 Q90174112143

Charging

A Renault Zoe will charge at different rates, depending on the type of charging point you plug into and whether or not you bought the Quick Charge option. The type of charge point determines the speed at which electricity flows into the car. For example, a 2.3 kWh domestic socket takes roughly 20 times longer than a rapid 43 kWh charger, commonly found at motorway service centers.

The Quick Charge option is available to upgrade an R90 model to a Q90 model at a cost of £750. Interestingly, while the Quick Charge option speeds up rapid charging by around 45%, charging at a home wallbox is slower. You can see approximate times to achieve an 80% charge in the table below.

Minutes to Achieve an 80% Charge

Charger TypeRenault Zoe 22kW R90Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 R90Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 Q90
Domestic Plug 2.3 kW69012001460
7.4kW183300380
11kW AC Rapid Charge100200200
22kW Public Charger54100100
43kW5410065

With the Zoe, you'll receive a free 7 kWh Chargemaster Homecharger (i.e., a "wallbox"), subject to conditions. Renault is able to supply this wallbox thanks to the OLEV (Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme) subsidy of £500.00 (including VAT).

How Long do you Charge to Drive 50 Miles?

What if you are out of charge and you need to get to a destination that is 50 miles away - how long will you have to wait for your car to charge? It depends on which model you drive and what type of charging point you plug into. On the home charger, R90 models charge faster, taking about two hours to achieve a 50-mile range. At a rapid 43 kWh motorway charger, the Q90 is quicker taking a mere 30 minutes.

chart showing charge times for Renault Zoe models, for 7.4 kWh home wallbox charger and 43 kWh rapid charger
Charging Time for 50 Miles of Driving Range

Ports

The Zoe's Chameleon Charger™ is compatible with various power sockets and sources, enabling charging between 3 kWh and 43 kWh. Using the Chameleon Charger you should be able to charge at most charging points you'll encounter in the UK.

Performance

The Renault Zoe is the slowest accelerating all-electric car in the UK market, with a - 0 62 mph time of 13.5 seconds. Perhaps this reduced power helps the Zoe achieve such a long range. The Zoe's top speed of 84 mph is just a tad lower than the Nissan Leaf's 87 mph max speed.

Like other EVs, the Zoe uses regenerative braking to recycle energy back into the battery when you either brake or just take your foot off the accelerator, slowing down through friction. The car can be even more efficient by using the Eco mode, in which dynamic performance and heating/AC are limited to maximize ZOE’s range.

Trim

The Renault Zoe comes in three trim levels: the Expression, the Dynamique and the Signature. The Expression is only available with the smaller 22 kWh battery; the Dynamique and the Signature come with the larger Z.E. 40 battery. You can see a selection of some features that come as standard with the different trim levels in the table below. Each model includes features of the model above, plus additional features. For complete details, you can find the Zoe brochure here.

TrimBatteryAdditional Features
Expression22 kWh batteryChameleon charger with a charging time from 1 to 13.5 hours depending on power supply, Cruise control, Electric front windows, Eco mode, TomTom® LIVE navigation, Bluetooth®* audio, hands-free calls and voice control
DynamiqueZ.E. 40 batteryRain-sensitive wipers, Electric rear windows, Rear parking sensors
SignatureZ.E. batteryPart leather upholstery, Electrically folding door mirrors, Rear view reversing camera, Heated front seats

Prices

You can get behind the wheel of a Renault Zoe Expression for as little as £14,245, if you hire the battery. Whether your hire or buy the battery, upgrading to a Dynamique model with a larger Z.E. 40 battery for a 150-mile range will increase the price by about £4k. A further upgrade to the Quick Charge option would add another £750 to your purchase price. You can learn more about Zoe trims levels above. The following table includes "on the road" (OTR) prices for the various Zoe trim and battery options, net of the £4,500 government grant.

Basic PriceVATTotal RetailOTR Price after Grant
Hire BatteryExpression NAV 22kWh£15,038£3,008£18,045£14,245
Dynamique Nav Z.E. 40 R90£18,308£3,662£21,970£18,170
Signature Nav Z.E. 40 R90£20,183£4,037£24,220£20,420
Purchase BatteryI Expression Nav 22kWh£19,704£3,941£23,645£19,845
I Dynamique Z.E. 40 R90£22,975£4,595£27,570£23,770
iSignature Nav Z.E. 40 R90£24,850£4,970£29,820£26,020

^“On the road” price includes delivery to the dealer, number plates and First Registration Fee of £55

Battery Hire

If you're looking to reduce upfront costs or are concerned about your car losing value as new technology makes your battery obsolete, Renault offers the option of hiring your battery instead of buying it. Hiring the battery will initially reduce the price of the car by £5,600. In return you will pay a monthly hire cost between £49 and £110 per month, depending on your expected mileage. Exceeding the contracted mileage results in an extra charge. See the following table for details on battery hire changes by estimated annual mileage.

Renault Zoe Battery Hire Monthly Prices

Annual Mileage4,5006,0007,5009,00010,500Unlimited
22kWh Battery£49£59£69£89£89n/a
Z.E. 40 Battery£59£69£79£99£99£110

How the Renault Zoe Compares to Other EVs

To help you decide if the Renault Zoe is the best car for you, we've compared the Zoe to a few comparable all-electric and petrol cars.

Renault Zoe vs Nissan Leaf

picture of grey Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is another solid fully-electric car offering in the UK. Drivers have the option of a 24 kWh battery or a 30 kWh battery that provide an average of 80 or 130 miles of range, respectively. 370 litres of boot space make it easy to transport school bags, sports kit, luggage, etc. Expect to pay £4 to charge the smaller 24 kWh Leaf battery or £5 for the larger 30 kWh capacity; that equates to about 5p and 3.8p per mile.

Quick Takeaway: If you're after more boot space and a faster rapid motorway charge, the Leaf is your car. If you are most concerned with price and range, the Zoe will tick more boxes, plus there's the free wallbox. Neither car is very quick, but the Nissan Leaf will get you from 0 - 60 two seconds ahead of the Zoe.

Renault Zoe vs BMW i3

picture of blue BMW i3
BMW i3

The BMW i3 is a zippy EV with a starting price around £28,600. While a bit pricier, you are paying for a sportier car; the i3 accelerates from 0 - 62 mph in 7.3 seconds. Boot space of 260 litres under the shelf is a bit limited but the average range of 125 miles per charge is decent for an EV. You have to buy the BMW Wallbox separately; it will set you back at least £640.

Quick Takeaway:If you don't mind paying a few thousand pounds more, the BMW i3 will be a much sportier ride. If you're after maximum range and a slightly larger boot, then the Renault Zoe will give you around 150 miles of range for less money.

Renault Zoe vs Renault Clio

picture of red Renault Clio
Renault Clio

The Renault Clio is a subcompact car of similar size and shape to the Zoe. Prices start from £12,225 for the basic Expression model, which comes with features including cruise control, Bluetooth® audio streaming and hands-free calls, USB and AUX sockets, smartphone cradle, front electric windows, etc. Boot space is 300 litres and the Clio can accelerate to 62 mph in up to 11.2 seconds, or as little as 6.6 seconds with the turbo option. In terms of fuel efficiency, expect the Clio to achieve an average of 41 mpg.

Quick Takeaway: The Clio is quicker and initially cheaper than the Zoe, but we estimate that the Zoe will save the average driver around £600 per year in fuel costs alone. If you're after long-term annual savings and no emissions, the Zoe may be a better choice.

Comments and Questions