Renault expects Zoe electric vehicle to outsell the Nissan Leaf

Article by Anita Panait, on May 12, 2012

In a battle of electric vehicle sales between partner auto companies, Renault expects its Zoe electric car to outsell the Nissan Leaf. Renault's EV project director Thierry Koskas, in an interview with  Automotive News Europe, cannot help but compare the Zoe and the Leaf, which are both five-passenger hatchbacks.

According to Koskas, the Zoe's main selling point is that it is laden with more advanced technologies for a lower price compared with the Leaf. The Zoe is also more compact that the Leaf; the former measuring 4,084mm in length and the latter at 4445mm.

Koskas noted that the Zoe sports some technologies not found on the Leaf, like the braking energy-recovery system, a heat pump, and a special series of energy efficient tires. Koskas said that the Zoe is a next-generation car, with its launch scheduled two years later than the Leaf. 

Another key selling point of the Zoe is that it offers a maximum range of 210 km for a single charge, a relatively long distance considering that the Leaf could only be driven up to 175 km on a single charge. The Zoe has a typical range of 150 km in mild weather and 100 km in cold weather. Renault said that Nissan's rollout of the Leaf is helping convince European buyers that electric cars could also do what mainstream cars could do. 

According to Koskas, the Zoe is being targeted to appeal to the needs of the mass-consumer market in Europe, with a starting price of only EUR15,700 in France. It will have the same pricing trend in most western European markets.

In comparison, it Leaf counterpart is almost twice as expensive, having a starting price EUR30,990 in France. The Zoe is expected to be the volume model among Renault's four-model EV range, which includes the Fluence ZE, Kangoo ZE and Twizy. Renault has allotted a 150,000-unit annual production capacity for the Zoe.

As the new electrical era of cars dawned, the designers of Renault’s Zoe electric vehicle saw the opportunity to give the car an over-haul. With the primary creative proposals adopted, creating an tremendously drastic approach, minute steps were taken towards a more rational methodology.

Creating a key disruption in consumer customs, the conversion from internal combustion to electric power made its mark. To balance it all out, the styling of ZOE should not be too out-of-this-world. By aiming to design a car with variance while still mirroring formal cues of automotive design in its streaks and proportions, the brand made sure that this model will be eagerly accepted in the market.

Expressive and pure lines

With the captivating illustration done by Jean Sémériva, two crucial words directed his digital pen work: purity and sentiment. Purity can be found in the lines that give the impression of running the length of the car's body, and sentiment, in its alert, lively glamour. The car had a comforting and vibrant air with its compact, chiseled forms, 2,588 mm wheelbase and elevated waistline.

The ZOE is immediately recognizable as an EV

Straightaway, the ZOE is distinguishable as an electric vehicle, due to the blue effect of the Renault logo and headlamps and the blue dark-tinted windows throughout the range. Strangely seen on a production car, the tail lights are transparent with blue concentric trimming that turn red only during braking and when the lights are switched at night; making the general body colour seem more uniform.

An appearance that’s friendly and appealing

With the arrival of Laurens Van Den Acker in 2009, major design changes were also made. Modifications were done on the front end to further emphasize the new brand identity. That’s why ZOE features slender dual-halogen headlights and a larger logo, providing a stark contrast with the black grille. The broad smiling air intake have two dimples on both sides for the daytime running lights, giving ZOE a welcoming, attractive appearance.

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