Let's not kid ourselves, electric cars are expensive. You pay more money for less automotive freedom and the environmental balance is not necessarily better, at least if the electricity comes from the lignite-fired power plant. But facts on the table: the Renault From next year, Zoé will cost 41 euros with a large 32.900 kWh battery including battery. Without buying a battery (then the power storage must be rented) there are still 24.900 euros on the bill for the 68 kW / 92 hp small car. For comparison: a 90 hp Clio costs 15.190 euros - and even the lavishly equipped and more powerful (87 kW / 118 hp) initial Paris version is still far below a Zoé with 21.990 euros. It may be the case that you save a few hundred a year as a result of the inspections saved and cheaper loading campaigns - in any case, you would have to drive a long time for amortization. Anyone who moves an electric car must find the attraction somewhere else. Which brings us back to the Zoé.
It's a cool thing, even looks a bit futuristic and doesn't miss much in everyday life. Certainly not the tired sound of any low-cost petrol engines that would be common in this segment. The resharpened Renault Powerpack with 220 Nm offers enough punch over almost the entire rev range to push the front-wheel-drive Frenchman quickly from standstill. If you approach the pace of the highway, the advance becomes more and more asthmatic - but that's okay. If you slow down towards thirty things, the Frenchman makes strange noises that are almost reminiscent of Enterprise. They are intended to make passers-by aware of the otherwise almost silent approaching Zoé. In practice, however, they hardly notice it, at least not acoustically.
A good car should make life easier for its owner. This includes that this owner does not have to follow his car too much. So much for the classic teaching. With the electric car and its limited range, things look different. The Zoé can at least alleviate this problem a little. Theoretically, it now manages 400 kilometers, a significant plus compared to vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf (250 km in the battery-powered version) or the E-Golf (300 km next year). When getting into the test car, the range field shows at least 280 kilometers. The previous driver must have pressed the pedal properly, because after 40 kilometers of moderate, but by no means creeping, driving, the display still remains at 275 kilometers.
Product manager Reginar von Schönau speaks of realistic 300 kilometers with a full battery and that can be said to be quite reasonable. Only so little charging infrastructure would be nice to turn the Zoé into a really chic everyday car. Those who can charge the large electricity storage in the home garage with a wallbox with a price of 11 kW or even more, costing a thousand euros, can count themselves lucky - after about four hours, the full range will be available again. This is a little more difficult on the way, because firstly, the network with 8.000 fast-charging points in Germany is still rather leaky, and secondly, it is not even easy to use every charging point. Registration is often required. After all, Renault issues a so-called ZE passport for around 4.000 charging points nationwide, which can be used via a uniform accounting system. However, these are by no means all quick chargers.
Apart from the currently rather system-related disadvantages, the Renault is an exciting companion, although the driving feel seems a bit synthetic. The power steering is extremely easy and supports you when parking and maneuvering in the city. The brake pedal, which has to strike a balance between sensibly controlled recuperation and disc brake use, reacts sensitively and not always linearly. The Frenchman only decelerates moderately, and shortly before standstill he bites properly while the pedal pressure remains the same.
Anyone who charges at home with the Zoé, which is quite spacious for his segment, pays around four euros for a 100 kilometer journey. With a 90 PS Clio, it would be a little more than six euros according to current fuel prices. The manufacturer charges between 59 and 119 euros per month for the battery, depending on the mileage. With this in mind, have fun calculating. The small battery with 22 kWh capacity for a theoretical range of 240 kilometers is still available, then the Zoe costs from 22.100 euros plus battery rental. An offer for particularly brave drivers who are not afraid of being left behind. (Patrick Broich / SP-X)