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Renault ZOE Review

Written by Allan Noble · 26/04/21

The Renault Zoe is a hatchback model designed for city life, but it won't feel out of place on the motorway. Does the Zoe deliver? Find out more about the whats on offer with this small EV.


The Renault Zoe is the top-selling model within the Renault ZE range of zero-emission vehicles. Officially classed as an all-electric five-door supermini, the Zoe was first introduced as a concept in 2005 before Renault finally unveiled a production version of the car in 2012.

It is much quieter than a petrol-driven car of its class, but it handles very much like a standard hatchback. Indeed, many casual drivers wouldn't immediately notice they were behind the wheel of an electric car when seated in a Zoe.

When new, Renault called the Zoe the Renault Zoe City Car. However, it has since been marketed simply as the Zoe ZE. In 2016, the French carmaker launched the then new Renault ZE40, which had a larger battery. In 2019, it came up with the Renault Zoe ZE50, which offered more range under WLTP conditions. There is also a Zoe E-sport model variant, but this has never gone into production and remains a concept car.

As with other electric cars, there are many factors to consider with this Renault city car model. Frequently, reviews of the Zoe fail to compare it favourably to other, newer electric cars because it was one of the first out of the blocks. That said, any new Zoe purchased today will stand up very well against any other electric car designed for the urban environment.

In particular, the range offered by the Renault Zoe will appeal to motorists who want more than just a run-around from their chosen electric vehicle.

Range, Charging, & Emissions

According to Renault, the latest Zoe comes with the aforementioned ZE50 battery capacity. Under WLTP conditions, this version of the Zoe will allow you to drive up to 245 miles. Therefore, the Zoe's range has compares favourably with the popular Nissan Leaf, which has just a 239-mile range under WLTP test conditions, or just 211-miles for the Corsa E.

No review of the Renault Zoe would be complete with a breakdown of its batteries. Firstly, a current Renault Zoe will be a ZE50 model, meaning a 52 kWh capacity battery is included.

A second hand Renault Zoe ZE40 will have a smaller 41 kWh lithium-ion battery. A Zoe made within the first year of production is likely to have just 22 kWh of battery capacity in the car, limiting its range considerably.

The R135 motor in the Renault Zoe ZE50 has been around since September 2019. After this date, any new Zoe purchased from Renault will offer a three hour charge time from a 22 kW DC charging point. Three hours is reasonably rapid for a 100 per cent charge that will provide a 245-mile WLTP range. However, performing the same feat from a standard three-pin connection would take 23 hours.

If you have a 7 kW wall box charger, expect to get the batteries fully laden with electric power within eight hours. Charging from 20 per cent to 80 per cent with a commercial 50 kW charger would only take 50 minutes, however, leaving you free to continue most onward journeys after a modest break.

Next: Running costs