- P11D Value: £23,365
- 0g/km – BIK band: 9%
- 3-door electric hatch
- 92hp electric motor/automatic
- NEDC range /real life: 250 miles / 186 miles (summer)
What is it?
Here’s Renault’s electric Zoe supermini, newly updated as of the start of this year and now with extended driving range of up to 250 miles on a single charge with Renault Zoe Dynamique R90 ZE 40.
Such a range immediately opens up the viability of running an electric car, making the Zoe a far more practical day-to-day proposition for business buyers.
Central to the story is the Zoe’s enhanced Z.E 40 battery pack. This not only doubles the driving range versus the original Zoe launched back in mid-2012, it also gives the Zoe the longest claimed range of any mainstream vehicle.
That’s according to the dated New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) testing system, at any rate. Out in the real world, Renault candidly admits that a full charge range with the new Zoe should be estimated at between 186 miles in the summer months or 124 miles in cold winter conditions (with heater on etc).
Still pretty fair, most would say, and the Zoe also now gains a new Signature NAV top-of-the-range trim level, plus a raft of interior and exterior updates as part of this 2017 model year refresher.
Your route into Zoe ownership comes in two ways – outright purchase or car plus monthly battery lease programme.
For the business community, there’s take up on both options, says Ben Fletcher, head of Z.E for the UK and Ireland. “Leasing companies tend to prefer full purchase as it’s simpler for them to integrate into their systems and gives them ownership of the whole asset, so it’s easier to manage.
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“For companies buying the vehicles directly, some prefer the reassurance of battery lease while others like full purchase. We don’t push one or the other, so it’s about giving the customer the choice.”
This particular Zoe, the Dynamique Nav R90 with latest ZE 40 battery pack, is on the market with a P11D rating of £23,365. That includes the battery which, although it’s leased, is a taxable benefit to HMRC.
Renault offers a range of monthly battery lease options, starting at £59/month for up to 4,500 miles per annum. Or up to 10,500 miles is £99/month for example.
Renault quotes a 0-80% charge time of 1 hour 40 mins (at a 43kW charge point). Alternatively, a full charge at home (at 7kW) will take 7 hours 25 mins.
Within the new Zoe range, you can buy cheaper (the original 22 kW battery is still available on the entry level Expression model) and there’s a couple of fast charge Q90 models which cut the chargepoint time down to 65 mins.
But the Zoe Z.E 40 tested here has the longest official range of the new Zoe family, plenty of kit and on balance, is maybe the best all-rounder.
- The Zoe has always been a neat and effective electric mini but its new official 250 mile range massively expands its practical everyday driving appeal.
- Quick and fun to drive! The Zoe is both silent and speedy and with peak torque of 220 Nm available from just 250 rpm, pick up of course is instant and ,er, electric. It feels far zippier than its factory 0-62 mph time of 13.5 secs suggests.
- The Zoe rides and handles well, with major controls (steering, brakes, throttle) well weighted and ‘natural’ in feel, unlike some earlier electric/hybrid cars.
- Zero emissions means ultra low tax: £0 VED and just £35/month for 20% tax payers, rising to £70/month for higher rate payers, after a £2,103 BIK charge.
- As standard, Renault’s ZE Connect app allows you conveniently to monitor battery levels and charging status remotely via smartphone or computer.
- You also get a 1 year subscription to the Z.E Interactive App that lets you charge your Zoe remotely, or schedule changes, as well as cabin temperature.
- Two new smartphone applications to make it easier to charge at public charging points – Z.E. Trip and Z.E. Pass – will be available later in 2017
- Generous kit levels in this Dynamique Nav guise, including 16-in alloys, cruise control, leather steering wheel, 7-inch touchscreen with TomTom Satnav, Bluetooth and Renault’s R-Link2 infotainment system, rear parking sensors and more.
- Practicality: the Zoe offers generous front seat space and a huge boot and cabin quality, fit and finish are also to a high level.
- While the Zoe’s P11D is £23,365, plus monthly battery lease, the Zoe as tested was also available for £17,845 OTR (after £4,500 Plug In Grant), plus battery lease, as a retail purchase.
- Some parts of the latest Zoe equation, such as the free wall box installation offer for charging, are for retail buyers only. When offered, business take up was reportedly low, anyhow.
- Renault is offering an unlimited mileage battery lease programme for the new Zoe at £110/month but again that’s not available for business buyers.
- Company car tax bands for EVs are 9% for 2017/18 but will rise to 13% and then 16% in 2019/20. So some pain in the short term but from 2020/21, EVs will drop to 2% so they (and ULEVs) are definitely the low taxation future.
Verdict on Renault Zoe Dynamique R90 ZE 40
As a product, the Renault Zoe has always been one of the most appealing small electric cars and across Europe, it’s been a strong and steady seller.
The arrival of the new Z.E 40 battery back, with around double the storage capacity of the Zoe’s standard 22 kWh battery, clearly takes the Zoe up to the next level. The driving range officially extends now to 250 miles per full charge, thus opening the car’s appeal and to drive, the refreshed Zoe is also on the money. It’s a fun and refined electric supermini, perfect for the city.
For business buyers, running costs will be spectacularly low but how the Zoe is acquired – outright purchase or car + monthly battery lease – will need careful crunching of the numbers to work out the best deal.
Bottom line. If you liked the Zoe before, you’ll like it even more now….