Long-Term Renault ZOE Review


Renault ZOE cutaway

Renault ZOE cutaway

EV Fleet World released a short summary from its long-term test of the Renault ZOE in UK.

As it turns out, after six months and almost five thousand miles, impressions are very positive.

According to the article, living with an electric vehicle is much easier than you’d expect.

Range of 80-100 miles on a charge is “quite generous“, although on the motorway range is closer to 75 miles and long journeys need planning.

“It’s enough to comfortably get from my house in Cardiff to Bristol and back, and the electricity costs less than half the price of the Severn Bridge toll. At each end, I can plug in while I do other things.”

Renault ZOE is the only series produced EV in Europe equipped with a 3-phase 43 kW on-board charging system. As Ecotricity installed a lot of multi-standard stations in UK, traveling is as easy as with DC fast chargers – sometimes just 20 minutes to 80%.

The most popular 3-phase stations in Europe are 22 kW 3-phase though, which still are sufficient for one hour charging.

“It’s hard not to love the technology, too. R-Link is fiddly at first but easy to get used to, setting cabin temperatures from your bed is a useful feature, and the Chameleon Charger means it takes the fastest charging speeds from whatever you can plug it into. Domestic sockets are the painfully slow exception, though, and the three-pin cable is really only a backup.

The more you live with it, the more it becomes a normal car. It’s stylish, comfortable, has a generous boot, folding seats and ISOFIX points in the back, plus the refinement is blissful. For mostly urban driving and occasional motorway trips, do you really need a plug-in hybrid?”

Source: EV Fleet World

Category: Renault, Test Drives

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19 responses to "Long-Term Renault ZOE Review"
  1. Robert Goldsmith says:

    I agree entirely. I’ve had one for 18 months and covered 25000 miles. My wife loved mine so much she’s now got one as well 🙂

    1. Speculawyer says:

      It is hard to go back to gas once you’ve had the fruit of electric.

  2. ggpa says:

    “Renault ZOE is the only series produced EV in Europe”

    How about i3?

    1. Alonso Perez says:

      …with a 43kW charger. Does the i3 have such a charger in Europe?

      1. K-lein says:

        Zoe is the only EV with a 43kW AC quick charge system period.
        All others use DC for quick charge.

  3. ffbj says:

    The key line for me is it hard not to love this technology. I think people tend to focus to much with what is wrong with things, rather than what is right. So there are those who say it’s range is too low, it needs to be charged too often. Chargers out of service, you know the drill.
    But then it is a superior mode of transportation and after all humans are very adaptable. They adapted to the inferior technology of the ice, and now they will adapt to the superior ev.

  4. zoe-driver says:

    To set up a 43kw AC charging point costs around 1000€. In northern Germany we start to build an own private 43kw network by crowdfunding. I partially funded 2 stations which are operated by private owners. THAT is the cool thing. AC is everywhere and a box by OPENevse is so cheap.

    1. Mark Kane says:

      Any links?

      1. zoe-driver says:

        This one for example is directly beside the Motorway A7 in Bad Fallingbostel:


        Next here

        Most northern one:

        Or this beautiful on direct at Bremer Kreuz:

        Or this (the ONLY one in Hamburg)

        or here

        Next is Wittenburg an Tönning.

        AC is everywhere. To enable 43kw just a few bucks and cool people who bulid the TYP2 Station. Here we have workshops for everyone, so that everybody can learn how to bulid an own box.


      2. zoe-driver says:

        A default home from today has 50A 3-phase as default. (My 12 year old one has 63A).

        To get 63A it costs you some more money. In the past 63A was the default. So utilities learn how to make money here.
        Next Steps are 80A and 100A with additional costs.

        Most restaurants / hotels have already the strongest setup and enough “room” to host an 63A / 43kw TYP2 Wallbox.

        1. Mark Kane says:

          Thanks. Could you add links to affordable EVSE 22 and 43 kW on the market?

          1. zoe-driver says:

            Just two 22kw here:

            Good looking one, with addl. outlet: 840€ incl Tax:

            Cheaper one, no outlet for 699€ incl. Tax:

            43kw is BYO with OPEN EvSE

    2. arne-nl says:


  5. Anon says:

    Nice car, but double the range won’t hurt it…

  6. arne-nl says:

    I’ve got my Zoe now for nearly two years and 50k km. Indeed, the 3-phase Chameleon charger is priceless. It enables me to charge at home in 2 hours. No other affordable EV can do that.

    The reason is that in The Netherlands (and I suspect in the rest of Europe it’s more or less the same) we have a choice of 1x25A, 1x35A, 1x40A or 3x25A. Any more than that is always three phase and at least 600 euros per year more in fixed costs.

    So when I charge my Zoe at 3x16A, I still have 3x9A left for my home, which is enough to do my cooking at the same time on my induction furnace.

    Nissan is stupid in this respect. They offer single phase 32A, which is useless. The only way to do that as a consumer is take a 1x40A grid connection and then run your home on the remaining 8A while your Leaf is charging. Haha, not possible.

    Therefore I see a three phase charger as imperative on EV’s sold in The Netherlands/Europe.

    Apart from that, the performance is adequate, she’s very nimble and easy to drive in city traffic, thanks to the instantaneous response of the drivetrain that is natural to all EV’s.

    The big disappointment was the discomfort in warm weather. Especially for a French car! The seats are sweaty, the windshield doesn’t block a lot of IR, the ventilation openings in the middle of the dash lack the option to deflect the flow of cool air down into your lap where the sun is burning mercilessly… Very bad job Renault!

    Furthermore, the rear seat passengers have very little head and leg room. The floor is high in the rear, because the Zoe battery is flat on top, unlike that in the Leaf, which has a profile to allow more leg room for the rear seat passengers.

    Fit and finish is what you would expect from a French car.

    And finally, I closely monitor battery capacity and have not yet been able to see any degradation. In summer, it is still ~23.5 kWh usable capacity. Good job Renault.

    In all, in Europe in my price class, I don’t see any competition in the EV space, and that is all thanks to the Chameleon charger.

    1. Dave K. says:

      In the US everyone has 240V 100A service (At least) but it’s SINGLE phase, this is why Nissan has a single phase charger and Renault went 3ph, Zoe isn’t sold here but lots and lots of Leafs.

  7. arne-nl says:

    Some thoughts about the new R240 motor/charger.

    It only allows charging up to 22 kW. I see that as a first step in the move towards CCS and I am happy for that.

    The reason is that faster charging speeds are coming to affordable EV’s, the Soul EV setting the trend. The others will follow soon. Since the Chameleon charger uses motor windings in it’s circuit, I suspect the motor must be designed to accommodate that 43 kW of power, making it heavier and more expensive than necessary. And Renault must go along in the trend of more charging speed, meaning they would have to redesign the motor to allow 80 kW, 100 kW, ….. who knows where it ends?

    DC charging through CHAdeMO or CCS otoh is cheap for the car manufacturer. You only need a bit of electronics to handle the communication protocols and a thick cable directly to the battery. This makes it much cheaper for Renault to follow along in the quest for ever higher charging speeds.

    So I expect (and hope) Renault will quickly add a CCS option to the Zoe, combining the best of both worlds.

    My lease is up in July 2016, and at this moment I only see two contenders: the Leaf with the update battery that has been suggested here, or an R240 Zoe with CCS.

  8. Chip says:

    Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield has a page on her web site which explains that the new 2015 Zoe motor and power electronics make lower-speed charging more efficient, but as a consequence have lost support for 43 kilowatt three-phase rapid charging:


    1. arne-nl says:

      Don’t mix (as Nikki and almost everybody does) the words ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’. The Zoe charger becomes less effective at lower amperage due to a decrease in cos phi. Iow, Renault states that the Zoe can charge at 3.6, 11, 22 or 43 kW, but they should say it charges at 3.6, 11, 22 or 43 kVA.

      Lower charging speed due to a cos phi is not a loss. I have a power meter installed to monitor consumption from my Zoe separately from my household and when I charge my Zoe at 11 kVA, the meter shows 8.9 kW.

      From the kWh’s measured by that meter and the statistics I maintain through the onboard computer, the roundtrip efficiency of charger and battery is 87%. This is not bad.