Renault Reportedly Plans a 200-Mile ZOE for the Paris Motor Show

Despite being a pretty capable little EV by European standards, the Renault ZOE found itself in the dreaded situation of answering a question nobody had asked.
Renault ZOE 9 photos
Photo: Renault
Renault ZOERenault ZOERenault ZOERenault ZOERenault ZOERenault ZOERenault ZOERenault ZOE
You could argue that its poor sales outside France were down to the weird design that Renault insisted on calling "bold" or the fact that it went against the larger Nissan LEAF, but at the end of the day, when it comes to electric vehicles, it's all down to their maximum range.

Even though a lot of people don't ever need all the miles of their EV's maximum range, it's still a matter of psychological comfort. And it's a very strong one: take the anxiety you feel when the fuel tank gauge nears the "empty" position and multiply it by ten. And that's largely because charging stations aren't nearly as abundant as their gas counterparts.

Since carmakers don't do infrastructure - well, some of them do, but they're in the minority - the only possible way they can ease the minds of their prospective clients is by increasing the distance their vehicles can travel between charges. For years, Tesla has been the only manufacturer that offered an electric car capable of covering more than 200 miles (320 km) on a full battery, but that is about to change.

More and more models are joining the 200-miles plus club, either de facto (Bolt + Ampera-e) or declaratively (Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen and just about every other brand you can think of), and it would have been ridiculous for a company with Renault's history in the field to be left out. Which is precisely why the French manufacturer plans to release a 220-miles ZOE at next month's Paris Motor Show.

The report comes from French publication BMFBusiness which doesn't reveal one of the most important aspects: what will the capacity of the new battery be? The ZOE currently uses a 22 kWh battery pack that manages to offer 150-miles (NEDC) of maximum range (that's nearly 250 miles). Still, considering the European standard is a lot more optimistical than the EPA-enforced one, the real-world autonomy is roughly two-thirds that.

The ZOE's battery will be modified (even though it most likely won't be swapped for the 60 kWh unit powering the next Nissan LEAF), but the range increase will also come from increased efficiency. The changes will be radical such as the completely new electric motor, or more discreet like the heating/cooling system or the LED lights.

We don't expect the sales of Renault ZOE to explode overnight, but it's nice to see that things are starting to heat up in the EV market. And the route chosen by Renault for its ZOE hatchback is also encouraging: instead of stacking more cells into the battery, the engineers tried to find other solutions to increase the range. That's the kind of forward-thinking this yet niche market needs right now.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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