Renault has launched an updated Zoe with increased power and range, a host of technological improvements and distinctive new looks. The company says the launch of the third generation of its flagship vehicle in its 100 per cent electric range is a major milestone in its commitment to large scale electric vehicle development. Seven years after the release of its best-selling predecessors, the new Zoe has “evolved in versatility, quality and technology to offer superior features while still remaining affordable”.
The interior has been completely overhauled, with a fully redesigned instrument panel and dashboard for improved comfort.
Under the skin the new Zoe gets a 52 kWh battery that delivers a range of up to 242 miles (WLTP). There are also more recharging options, including the introduction of an optional direct current (DC) charger, and the availability of a more powerful 100 kW motor on GT Line models.
Elsewhere, the new Zoe is equipped with many innovative features. The Renault EASY CONNECT services deliver increased connectivity, plus there are extra driving aids, a 10-inch TFT instrument cluster, the Renault EASY LINK multimedia system and a new B Mode, which has been perfected for urban driving. All have been designed to make everyday driving easier and more enjoyable.
At the front of the new Zoe the redesigned contours of the sculpted bonnet converge into a large aligned diamond. The new shape of the bumper incorporates chrome inserts in the grill and around the fog lights, enhancing the lower section.
Set in the centre of the chrome trimmed grille is the large Renault diamond logo, which now features a “holographic” design that gives a 3D effect to the flat surface. The badge also doubles as a charging port, which flips open to reveal both a type 2 AC plug and the connector for the new optional 50 kW fast charger.
All ZOE models now get full LED headlamps as standard, which feature chrome inserts and are framed by the trademark C-shaped daytime running lights. The new lamps provide 75 percent more light than equivalent halogen units.
There’s also a new, wider front bumper design that benefits from side vents designed to improve the flow of air around the front of the car and over the wheels. Also included are new LED fog lights that contribute to the overall improved lighting system.
At the rear of the Zoe are bigger new LED lamps that help to create a wider look and now include dynamic indicators that sweep from the centre outwards – the repeater indicator signals integrated in the door mirrors also use LED technology.
Other external changes include a completely revamped range of wheel designs, with three different diameters available – 15, 16 and 17-inches. Regardless of wheel size, all Zoe models get four-wheel disc braking.
Completing the comprehensive exterior changes are the addition of three new metallic paint finishes – Celadon Blue, Flame Red and Quartz White. This means there are now a total of nine colours to choose from.
Groupe Renault says its designers have paid particular attention to the interior quality, finish, comfort and ergonomics. Soft touch plastics and new sustainable trim finishes are intended to help boost premium appeal and comfort.
Ahead of the driver in the new Zoe is the 10-inch TFT instrument cluster, which is standard across the range. This display contains the main driving information including an eco-meter that encourages eco-friendly driving habits. The driver can also customise the lighting and the layout of the different information on-screen, while the display’s horizon and varying perspective effects create a sense of depth for greater legibility. On versions equipped with sat-nav the instrument cluster also relays turn-by-turn instructions for safer, less distracting progress.
The dashboard has been completely redesigned to significantly improve the quality of its finishes. Additions include soft fabric inserts that matches that used in the seats, while LED interior lighting is standard across the range.
On Iconic models there is 100 percent recycled seat upholstery. Using the traditional process of carded yarn manufacturing, which creates a quality material “without melting” or chemical transformation, this fabric is made from safety belt scrap and plastic waste (PET) materials. This innovation is a first for the automotive industry, its sourcing and short-loop manufacture helping reducing CO² emissions by over 60 percent compared to more traditional materials.
The centre of the dashboard also houses the Renault EASY LINK multimedia system, which on certain models now benefits from a large 9.3-inch touchscreen. This system controls the main functions of the vehicle and can be enhanced with specific operations, such as the real time availability of charging stations. Smartphone connectivity is taken care of by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Between the driver and passenger is a revised centre console that’s home to a new electronic gear selector, plus the driving mode selector, the chrome switch for which is decorated with the “Z.E.” logo and enables the transition between the various driver settings, notably the new B Mode that boosts regenerative braking to encourages single pedal driving.
Standard across the range is a new electronic parking brake, which replaces the traditional handbrake to free twice as much storage in the centre console, such as a new wireless smartphone charging option and a pair of cupholders. In the rear, passengers have access to two USB sockets that can be used to charge devices such as mobile phones, tablets and portable games.
Range and charging
The new Zoe benefits from the new 52 kWh Z.E. 50 battery, which takes the useable range up to 242 miles (WLTP), which is an increase of around 30 percent over the old 40 kWh pack. It now also offers fast direct current (DC) charging, in addition to the alternating current charging (AC) options already available at home or on the street.
Despite the increase in range and capacity, the battery has not increased in size physically, meaning no loss of interior space and practicality. Another benefit of Z.E. 50 is its ability to deliver more performance from the new R135 motor.
At its launch in late 2012, the first Zoe with its 22 kWh battery offered around 93 miles of real range. In 2016, Renault launched the second generation of Zoe with its 41kWh Z.E. 40 battery that doubled the real world range to 186 miles.
For the new Zoe, engineers focused on the architecture of the lithium-ion battery and the different aspects of its design, achieving an impressive 52 kWh within the same physical cell size. This translates to a 30 per cent increase in range, to 242 miles WLTP.
Charging the battery is also made more straightforward by the Renault EASY CONNECT smart services, which allow quick and easy location of charging points, plus the addition of the simplified optional Combo charging plug.
Located behind the Renault diamond logo charging hatch, the new Combo plug (CCS) is slightly larger than the previous plug and consists of both a European standard socket and a two-pin connector for DC charging.
Thanks to this Combo plug, the new Zoe is able to charge quickly with a direct current (DC) up to 50 kW, simply by inserting the charging cable attached to the terminal into the two-pin connector that’s sited below the type-2 socket.
The standard type-2 cable provided with the car and the Caméléon charger are used for everyday AC charging use, such as at home with a Wallbox, at work, in the car park or on public roads using anything up to a 22kW supply.
When using a 7kW Wallbox the New ZOE can charge from 0 to 100 percent in 9 hours and 25 minutes. This ensures that a complete recharge can comfortably be achieved overnight. Around 190 miles of range can be achieved in just 8 hours*. Users charging their vehicle at home can also benefit from the programming options, adjusting their recharge to correspond with tariff fluctuations from their electricity supplier.
Plugging the Zoe into a public 22kW roadside charger can deliver a useful 78 miles of range in only one hour.
However, the fastest recharge times are achieved with the new 50kW DC charging option. Replenishing the battery in this way can add around 90 miles of range in as little as half an hour
The new R135 100 kW engine delivers the equivalent of 133 bhp and improved torque for faster acceleration and greater responsiveness. Engineers have used the increased-capacity battery of new Zoe (Z.E.50) to get the most out of the Renault developed motor, which packs 181 ft lb from zero rpm and drives through a single speed gearbox, helping the Zoe sprint from 0 to 62mph in less than 10 seconds and onto a top speed of 87mph. The 100kW model can accelerate from 50 to 75 mph in 7.1 seconds, which is 2.2 seconds quicker than than the 80kW 110 PS R110 engine, which is carried over unchanged.
Both motors now come equipped with the new “B mode” driving function, which intensifies the regenerative braking effect to allow the driver one pedal operation of the car. When B mode is activated, the car decelerates significantly faster as soon as the driver releases the accelerator pedal. B mode makes driving easier, especially in the city or in slow moving traffic.
On a technical level, its integration is accompanied by a new braking system that offers improved feel through the pedal. As for D mode, it remains particularly useful when the car is moving at a constant speed, on the open road or motorway for example.
The driver can switch on demand between B and D modes with a simple push on the new e-shifter. This replaces the old car’s mechanical lever with an electronic switch. Simple pressure on the knob is enough to send instructions to the motor, while selected driving mode is displayed on the center console and on the 10-inch driver’s display.
Safety and Technology
Renault has engineered the new Zoe with a brand-new electrical infrastructure. It now allows for the integration of all the sensors and automated functions that are essential for the new driver assistance systems (ADAS). They are designed to better inform the driver, simplify driving and enhance safety.
There are a whole suite of safety systems on the Zoe, including the Active Emergency Braking System (AEBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Auto High/Low beam headlamps (AHL).
Further driving assistance features include the hands-free Easy Park Assist (EPA), front and rear parking sensors, Auto-Hill hold and an automatic parking brake.
The Zoe’s infotainment system features the Renault EASY CONNECT set-up, which combines with the new Renault EASY LINK multimedia system and the MY Renault app to offer drivers a range of applications and services.
On a smartphone, the MY Renault application includes a variety of useful services to manage a car remotely, such as a remote check on the battery range and charging status. You can also plan charging during off-peak hours, start or schedule heating or air conditioning to reach the ideal temperature of 21 degrees C for the moment of departure without affecting the range.
Another feature is the ability to pre-plan your journey with MY Renault. After entering your destination the app plots your route, including the most suitable charging points and, accounting for the recharge stops, the overall travel time.
On board, Renault EASY LINK’s connected navigation beams the route to the multimedia screen and includes the location and availability of the nearest charging stations. The map is also enriched with real-time traffic information provided by TomTom, plus new features such as Google Search. The EASY LINK navigation map database is regularly updated, automatically and transparently for the user, via the “Map Auto-Update” function.
Furthermore, the navigation and map can be displayed on the 10-inch instrument cluster ahead of the driver, which also houses the trip computer that provides information on regenerative braking performance and driving efficiency, helping to make the most of the battery’s range. The user can also choose the layout of the display, so that it shows their preferred information.