Renault has added 30km to the range of its battery powered Zoe subcompact hatchback, allowing the car to go 240km (149 miles) on a single charge. Renault was able to extend its range by using a lighter and more compact electric motor and an optimized electronic management system. Renault seeks to boost sales of the Zoe, which will start selling this spring in Europe.
It will be priced lower than the current Zoe, which has a starting price of 22,400 euros in France, excluding a government rebate that cuts the price to 16,100 euros. At the recently held Geneva auto show, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that the range of the Zoe as well as the Nissan Leaf will be gradually increased to 300km.
For now, the Leaf has a range of 199km. Ghosn said that the enhanced ranges will be achieved in increments of 30-40km and their introduction will be hastened. He also said that to ease the “range anxiety” of car buyers, there will have to be more charging stations available.
He explained that there has to be as many gasoline stations as there are charging stations before we can expect consumers to totally accept electric vehicles as a mainstream alternative to cars with combustion engines.
Ghosn said that this has to be accomplished within 3 to 5 years in developed countries. In Europe, there are over 50,000 public charging stations. Of this number, around 40% are fast charging points.
Market researchers JATO Dynamics said that in the first two months of 2015, Renault sold 1,621 Zoe units in Europe. This is significantly higher than the 590 units sold during the same period last year. On the other hand, 1,784 Leaf units were sold in the first two months of 2015 – a decline from the 2,055 in the same period last year.