Renault “Zoe EV”

That’s probably all you’ll hear when it passes by after its electrically thrust into the market in late 2012. Renault’s big surprise at the Geneva Motor Show last week was a well-dressed production version of its “coming-soon” Zoe electric vehicle. And the UK Government must like it a lot, as there’s a hefty subsidy they give you if you decide to purchase one.

You can expect a quarter of the price, up to a maximum of five thousand quid, rendering the car’s net price at £13,650. According to Renault the intention was for that to be about the same as a supermini with diesel propulsion. The difference is of course there’s no diesel, but a monthly battery hire that starts at £70. For that they’ll help you out if you run out of juice as well. And since Renault claims you’ll be doing around 130 miles on a full charge this little car promises to be a very viable alternative for small city cars that go from-home-to-work-to-the-daycare-centre-to-Tesco-and-home-again-every-day.

Provided none of that is too far away and that you don’t run into too many traffic lights or road works or some such. A range of 130 miles sounds all fine and dandy, but the reality is in city traffic, with lots of stopping and going again, the range you’ll see will more likely be in between about 60 and 90 miles, says Renault. Depends on weather too, as I’m sure you’ll have noticed that batteries die out quicker when there’s ice on your windshield. Won’t be the RAC to help you out though, but Renault itself, or whoever they hire to get the job done.

What I appreciate from Renault is a good dose of honesty when it comes to indicating how clean the Zoe will actually be. They say it depends on where in Europe you are, as electricity is won from different sources in different countries. In most European countries the Zoe will do about 62g/km of CO2, but in France – where they use a lot of nuclear power – that may go down to as low as 12g/km. So depending on where you get your juice from, that’s not even that much lower than the most efficient of combustion engines. But it will be a lot cheaper.

That’s good. What else is good, is the way the car looks. It’s pure style. Futuristic and snazzy. It’s a statement. That clean and green doesn’t have to be boring as watching a banana take a nap and that you’re one modern type of human being when you drive one. Look at that sexy French bum with its taillights that look like a Lancia Thesis’ headlamps – that car was a fashion statement! And look at that face that looks at you a wee bit angry or in a cute and fluffy teddy bear sort of way, depending on what you want to see. It might actually strike a fancy from all kinds of people.

Are we looking at the first EV to achieve proper sales figures then?

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