Renault Zoe Electric Vehicles

The reason? It brings electric vehicles closer to the mass market by being seriously affordable. The compact hatchback, purpose designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, is being shown at Geneva in its final production form prior to sales starting in the autumn. In France, prices will start at just €15,700.

As well as being truly innovative, it’s also one of the most usable electric cars yet created, with a range of 210km (NEDC)… the first mass-market electric car capable of such a distance between charges.

More than 60 patents have been filed for aspects of its design and it boasts six brand new features, the most significant of which is the unique Range OptimiZEr, technology designed to improve its real-world range under all driving conditions.

The system combines three key innovations (new-generation regenerative braking, a heat pump and MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyres) that enhance ZOE’s real-world range by up to 25 per cent and significantly reduce range variability.

For example, in a commuter-type journey with an outside temperature of 13°C, ZOE achieves a real-world range of 140km, 30km of which are obtained directly through the use of ‘Range OptimiZEr’.

ZOE is powered by a synchronous electric motor developing 65kW (88hp) and 220Nm of torque for a top speed of 135 kph. As well as providing a range over 200 km, the lithium-ion batteries can be recharged via single- or three-phase supplies of up to 43kW.

What does that mean? Simply that ZOE is one of the most versatile EVs out there. It takes nine hours to recharge on a domestic single-phase supply, but one hour at a 22kW three-phase charging station. And if that quick charger station can deliver a 43kW charge, well the recharging time comes down to just 30 minutes.

With more than enough performance and range for most urban users, ZOE is cool, fun and practical and, of course, produces zero tailpipe emissions.

But its biggest selling point is the price. Although prices inevitably vary according to market and to local incentives, in France – where the car was designed and is built – the entry-level ZOE Life will cost just €15,700 to buy once the €5,000 eco subsidy has been deducted, with battery leasing costs from €79 a month. The high end ZOE Zen and ZOE Intens version will start from €17,500, again post subsidy.

With ZOE and the even more affordable Twizy just around the corner, Renault is underlining the Alliance’s leadership in zero emission mobility.