The French manufacturer seems to be optimistic about the car’s chances and considers that convincing a large segment of European consumers that electric cars can make a difference in terms of the environment will not represent a problem.
The Renault Zoe is going to be an electric alternative to the forthcoming Clio model in 2012, when the two cars will make their debut. The price for a Zoe will be, in France, EUR 15,000 which represents the same amount of money you spend on a diesel version of the Clio. For the sake of comparison, the Nissan Leaf sells for EUR 31,000.
The model’s clientele is based on mainstream buyers and this aspect reflects into the Zoe design, which is rather conservatory and not so futuristic like other electric cars. Renault hopes that fuel-cost savings will represent Zoe's main selling point for drivers who desire the same drivability and size that the Clio offers, but want to save a lot of money.
The fully charged Zoe can cover up to 160 km (100 miles) and a quick recharge will only cost EUR 2. It easily costs five times more to drive the equivalent distance in a Clio that runs on diesel.
Renault plans to sell 150,000 units for the Zoe each year, a volume Chief Operating Officer Patrick Pelata says could be doubled quickly if needed.
Unfortunately, there is also a major drawback to this situation, as you might have guessed by now. You can’t take the car on vacation, but good things are about to come. Renault says it will make cars available for weekend and vacation trips.
The French automaker has a bad reputation regarding reliability, but electric cars in general should require less maintenance. This fact can’t compensate for faulty builds and defective components, as many Renault owners know better due to the fact that they have been burned badly and will hesitate to take a risk on something so new that Renault is offering.