2012 Geneva Motor Show: Renault ZOE priced at €15,700

Article by Christian A., on March 7, 2012

Renault has started to take orders for the ZOE, its new compact, all-electric hatchback that is currently on display at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Sales in Europe will start in the autumn for this vehicle built in Flins, France. If you want to place your order, you should go to renault-ze.com. ZOE Life, the entry level version, is offered with the following as standard equipment: the integrated Renault R-Link multimedia tablet, Chameleon battery charger and automatic climate control.

In France, the tax-paid prices for Renault ZOE have a starting price of €15,700. Meanwhile, the tax-paid prices for ZOE Zen and ZOE Intens (the two high-end versions) have a starting price of €17,500.

To promote ZOE, the vehicle will be represented at six global premieres, and it is said to have contributed to 60 patented innovations and Renault's expertise in the field of electric powertrains just like the most advanced electric vehicle technology.

First of all, this is the first mass-market electric vehicle that been given pre-tax prices in France starting from €15,700. Secondly, this is the first mass-market electric vehicle with a range of 210km (NEDC cycle).

Furthermore, this is the first vehicle to Range OptimiZEr, a system meant to maximize range whatever the conditions thanks to three innovations: new-generation braking energy recovery, a heat pump and energy efficient Michelin Energy E-V tires.

For instance, drivers may want to visit a place near the built-up area. They would be glad to know that this vehicle offers a real-world range of 100km in cold conditions and 150km in mild weather.

Its integrated Chameleon charger is very useful. It reaches 43kW - in between 30 minutes and nine hours. ZOE's battery could be charged in about one hour at 22kW fast-charge stations which are technically simpler and more economical than current fast-charge stations.

This intermediate power level guarantees a longer battery life and it also has less impact on the grid compared to a 43kW charging station. It is the first electric vehicle to allow the prevalent deployment of fast-charging stations that are easier to use and up to four times less expensive.

The first to be featured is the Renault R-Link, an integrated, connected multimedia system. Because of ZOE, Renault places zero Emissions2 mobility within the reach of most motorists. It is the first car to be built from the ground up as a totally electric vehicle. It has a tax-paid price tag in France, beginning at €15,700.

Press Release

Renault ZOE

Renault ZOE heralds the start of a new era, one in which electric mobility becomes available to everybody. It marks a major step forwards for the automotive industry and also for Renault. Throughout its 115 years of history, the brand has shown its ability to innovate and to bring technology within everybody's reach. ZOE is the emblem of Renault's strategic plan - Drive the Change 2016 - and the spearhead of the Renault Z.E. range. It combines all Renault's electrical expertise in a compact and attractive design with an affordable price. Revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Renault ZOE arrived on the market in France at the end of 2012, prior to its rollout across the network in March 2013. It will be launched in other European countries over the following months.


Designed from the start as an all-electric vehicle, Renault ZOE is a supermini of clean, flowing lines. The distinctive front end expresses the new brand identity with its friendly, appealing looks. The blue effect of the logo, headlamps and dark-tinted windows identify ZOE as an electric car. Reflecting the concept of purity, the cabin aims to create a relaxing, zen feel with materials that are soft to the touch.

A design adventure dating back to the end of 2008

At the end of January 2008 at the Davos Forum, Carlos Ghosn announced the ambition of the Renault brand to market a range of four electric vehicles. The flagship model was project X10, a supermini designed as an all-electric vehicle, intended for mass marketing. This far-reaching mission was placed in the hands of the pre-project teams, who confirmed its technical and economic feasibility on December 16, 2008. This marked the starting point of the design process, organized on a competition basis. The brief presented on January 21, 2009 stated that the design should be "friendly and reassuring for an innovative, responsible all-electric vehicle".

ZOE, a car with a difference

The first creative proposals adopted an extremely radical approach. Designers saw the new electrical era as a great opportunity to reinvent the car. Nevertheless, little by little, studies gradually converged towards a more rational approach. The transition from internal combustion to electric power would already mark a major break in customer habits, so it was important for the styling of ZOE not to be too perplexing. The aim was to design a car with a difference, but reflecting the formal cues of automotive design in its lines and proportions, so that it would be immediately accepted.

Lines expressing purity and emotion

The winning drawing was by Jean Sémériva. Two key words guided his digital penwork: purity and emotion. Purity, in the lines that seem to run the length of the car's body, and emotion, in its agile, dynamic allure. The car had a reassuring and dynamic look with its compact, sculpted forms, 2,588 mm wheelbase and raised waistline.

A car that is visibly electric

ZOE is immediately identifiable as an electric vehicle, with the blue effect of the Renault logo and headlamps and the blue dark-tinted windows across the range. Unusually on a production car, the rear lights are transparent with blue concentric edging. They turn red only on braking and when the lights are switched on at night. This makes the overall body colour appear more uniform.

Friendly, appealing looks

When Laurens Van Den Acker arrived in 2009, he made major design changes, modifying the front end to reflect the new brand identity. As a result, ZOE features slender dual-halogen headlights and a larger logo, contrasting with the black grille. The wide smiling air intake with two dimples on either side for the daytime running lights, give ZOE a friendly, appealing look.

On July 28, 2009 in the presentation room at the Technocentre in Guyancourt, Jean Sémériva, presented his work to management team, receiving a highly enthusiastic reaction. His design carries his signature: a thumbprint in relief on the exterior handle of the rear doors, concealed in the rear pillar.

Customer tests began in March 2010. The prototype presented at this time closely matched the model that would be brought to market at end-2012. Again, the reaction was highly enthusiastic.

A relaxing, zen interior ambience

The interior design of ZOE is the work of Dominique Marzolf whose first sketches also expressed the theme of purity. The dashboard is carved from a single block, in clean, taut lines. The same approach is visible in the fascia strip, which resembles the blade of a wind turbine. This component uses a material that is new to the automotive industry, soft to the touch and inspired by the world of home design. The pure, relaxing ambience is underlined by the use of pastel colour schemes in the cabin - on the Life and Zen versions - and by the presence of advanced technology. The 7" screen of the Renault R-Link console appears to float in front of the dashboard, while the TFT (Thin Film Transistor) screen on the control panel hints at ZOE's high-tech content.

The seats feature built-in headrests, with pale textile upholstery (on the Zen version) treated with Teflon® stain protection for easy cleaning. The identity of Renault ZOE as a zero-emission vehicle is shown by the initials Z.E. on the gear knob and on the driver's seat headrest. A pictogram resembling a printed circuit can be seen on the roof lining and on the dashboard.

The official presentation: Geneva 2012

The design of ZOE was completely finalized in July 2010. The reveal was organized in two stages. First, the presentation of the ZOE preview show car, also designed by Jean Sémériva, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The show car, which went on to share 90% of its design content with the production model, was a huge and immediate success with customers and in-house staff.

the ultimate stage in the design process: the world preview of ZOE in its definitive form at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The resemblance between ZOE and the ZOE preview show car was applauded by both the public and the press, who gave the car a warm welcome.


With ZOE, Renault makes Zero Emission mobility available to the greatest number. ZOE is the first car to be designed as an all-electric model and sold at the affordable price of €13,700 incl. VAT (price for France, minus the tax incentive, battery rental from €79 / month incl. VAT for 12,500 km/year over three years) and ideal for day-to-day use. Embodying Renault's electrical expertise, it features cutting-edge electric technology. With more than sixty patents filed as part of its design, ZOE boasts six world firsts in the fields of range, easy use, and connectivity.

ZOE, the first production electric vehicle with a homologated range of 210 km (NEDC)

Renault ZOE is able to cover between 100 and 150 km depending on driving style and weather conditions, giving it the longest range in its category. In homologation tests based on a standardized NEDC cycle, Renault ZOE is the only electric vehicle with a range of over 200 km (210 km). This performance can be attributed to the Range OptimiZEr system fitted on all Renault ZOE models, which boots vehicle range by almost 25%.

The Range OptimiZEr system comprises three major technical innovations, each of which makes an equal one-third contribution to increasing the range of ZOE:

new-generation regenerative braking,
a heat pump,
and Michelin EnergyTM E-V tyres.
New-generation regenerative braking recharges the battery during the deceleration and braking phase

Regenerative braking enables the motor to act as a generator. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the motor recovers kinetic energy from deceleration and turns it into an electric current that recharges the battery. This energy would otherwise be lost as heat when the brake pads clamp together.

To maximize power savings during braking, Renault joined forces with Bosch to develop a new-generation system. This system intelligently distributes braking force between the clamping of the brake pads and the engine brake in order to maximize the action of the engine brake in charging the battery. The action of these two components is fine-tuned in order to prevent jolts or pronounced engine braking when on the move.

The heat pump maintains the range of ZOE when the heating is in use

Inspired by home development, this innovation is now available for the first time on a production car. The operating principle was already well known. The difficulty lay in adapting it to a car. Special control algorithms were developed to take account of the thermal inertial and power of a vehicle interior.

To cool the cabin, the system works in the same way as a normal electric air conditioning system.
To heat the cabin, the system reverses the cycle of operation. It traps calories in the ambient air outside the vehicle, compresses and heats them, then directs the heat into the car.
This system lets the driver heat the cabin without impacting vehicle range. Limiting the energy consumption of the heating system significantly reduces disparities in the range of ZOE during the cold or warm seasons. For an equivalent level of heating, the heat pump consumes up to three times less energy than a conventional system.

The required cabin temperature is reached more quickly and maintained at a more stable level than in an ICE vehicle, where the heating depends on the calories given off by the engine.

Michelin ENERGYTM E-V tyres increases the range of ZOE

Renault ZOE is the first vehicle to be shod as standard with this highly energyefficient tyre developed with Michelin. Combining energy savings, safety and durability, it was designed to reduce the high energy losses associated with rolling resistance while accepting the sharp acceleration of electric cars.

Tyres account for up to 30% of energy consumption on an electric car. With each rotation of the wheel, the tyre is deformed under the weight of the load as it makes contact with the road. As its structure is deformed, the components heat up and a certain amount of energy is lost. Reducing this heat build-up makes it possible to reduce energy consumption. The Michelin ENERGY™ E-V tyre generates very little heat build-up when driving, thus lowering energy consumption. At the same time, the patch of rubber in contact with the road is capable of heating up quickly during braking, thus reducing the distance necessary to bring the car to a stop.

Drivers also contribute to range

Even more than on an ICE vehicle, drivers can maintain vehicle range in a number of simple ways:

Adopt eco-driving practices (anticipate, use the engine brake, adopt a reasonable approach to driving, etc.). Applying these rules improves range by an average 16%.
The dashboard and R-Link multimedia connected system supply the driver with all the information necessary to manage the journey, vehicle range and charge more effectively.
Activate Eco mode to increase range by up to 10%.
Use the pre-conditioning function to heat the cabin.
Driving assistance from the control panel

The TFT screen on the ZOE control panel provides the driver with a continuous readout of parameters on driving style and vehicle range. It comprises:

a gauge indicating battery charge status and the remaining range in km. Calculation of this figure is based on driving parameters for the last 200 kilometres. A reset function reduces the calculation base to the last 30 km covered in order to estimate the remaining range based on immediate driving conditions,
an econometer indicating whether the vehicle is consuming or recovering energy at any given time,
the speed displayed in digital format and the lever positions, which resemble those of an automatic transmission (Neutral, Drive, Reverse, Park)
Information from the onboard computer such as the distance covered, average consumption (kWh/100 km), both overall and immediate (kWh), time, outside temperature, etc.
The "driving style indicator" function changes the background colour of the TFT screen to reflect driving style: green for eco-driving, blue for neutral driving and violet for a dynamic driving style consuming more energy.


This function provides reassurance. It maintains the range of ZOE by reducing the performance of the air conditioning and heating, as well as motor power. It is activated by a switch on the central console. The bottom of the TFT screen turns green and the ECO acronym appears. If the driver needs stronger acceleration, when overtaking for example, the function can be deactivated by pressing down hard on the accelerator pedal.

Two service packs for information and remote action on ZOE

Drivers of Renault ZOE may also receive information and even interact with their vehicle by means of two service packs: "My Z.E. Connect" (standard on ZOE) and "My Z.E. inter@ctive" (optional on Life or standard with Zen and Intens).

For remote information: the "my Z.E. Connect" pack

Wherever they are, drivers can consult the following information from their smart phone or computer:

the charge level, estimated remaining range based on the most recent driving parameters, the time of the last charge, the charge status if the vehicle is connected (in progress or not), the time remaining to complete a full charge and a monthly history of charge data,
the location of charging stations in each city,
practical tips to make better use of the electric car and maintain its range. For example, using the pre-conditioning function to heat the cabin, adopting a smooth driving style, etc.
users can also receive notifications on the start or end-of charging (by e-mail) or alerts for a low battery charge or charge interruption (by email or text).
For remote interaction with the car: the "My Z.E. inter@ctive" pack

With this pack, drivers can use a smart phone or computer to:

run or set the pre-conditioning function to heat the cabin,
start remote charging,
set a daily charging schedule by selecting a time slot,
optimize the charging schedule based on the cost of electricity and its CO2 content (from a PC only).
The Chameleon charger for a faster charge

Patented by Renault, this revolutionary charger adapts to the power supply available, single-phase or three-phase, up to 43 kW. Renault ZOE can thus charge its battery to a level of 80% in 30 minutes. Chameleon also has the unique advantage of being able to charge ZOE at varying levels of power: for example, at 11 kW (a charge of around two hours) or 22 kW (80% of the battery for a one-hour charge). These intermediate power levels maintain battery service life more effectively and have less impact on the grid than a "fast" charge (43 kW). Europe currently has more than 4,000 11 or 22 kW charging stations, referred to as "fast charging stations". In Germany, most public charging stations (mode 3) are of the fast-charging type.

Chameleon, an innovation from Renault to develop electric vehicle use

The Chameleon charger is a solution developed by Renault to fit electric cars with a powerful onboard charger at limited cost. The basic idea is to "divert" the motor and inverter from their role in providing traction so that they also contribute to the charging of the battery. The Junction Box, a new sub-system developed by Renault, manages the charging process, changes the alternating current to direct current and communicates with the charging station. The Chameleon charger's Junction Box is only slightly bigger and heavier than the 3V charger found on most other electric vehicles on the market but, thanks to the use of the inverter and motor windings, charging power can reach 43 kW.

Fitted under the bonnet of ZOE, the Chameleon charger considerably simplifies the technology used by high-power (43 kW) charging stations. Since these fast-charging stations will no longer need a built-in rectifier, they will cost just onequarter of their current price and be easier to deploy. This innovation will contribute to the development of electric vehicle use.

All versions of ZOE equipped with Renault R-Link

Renault R-Link, the integrated, connected multimedia system is fitted on all versions of ZOE from launch. Renault RLink groups a full range of multimedia functions in a single system: navigation, radio, telephone, Bluetooth® audiostreaming, music, connections for portable devices, connected services (depending on versions), etc.

Fingertip or voice-access to main functions

Using the 7" touch screen or intuitive voice recognition, drivers can, for example, dictate an address to the navigation system or issue instructions: "make a phone call", "display my apps", "run e-mail", etc...

The Text To Speech (TTS) function enables messages and other RSS feeds from some applications to be read out loud when the car is moving.

R-Link functions dedicated to electric driving

On ZOE, Renault R-Link includes features dedicated to electric driving. The TomTom® Z.E. LIVE navigation system displays a circle showing the operational radius corresponding to vehicle range. It also informs drivers entering a destination if they have sufficient capacity to reach it. If this is not possible, it can show the way to the nearest charging station. It can also suggest the route that is most economical in terms of energy use and display charging stations (mapped by TomTom®) on the map (depending on the vehicle's geographical location or on destination).

Renault R-Link is linked to ZOE ECUs, authorizing other new vehicle functions. In real time, drivers can view their consumption history, or the energy flows between the battery and electricity-consuming functions such as the motor, air conditioning, heating, R-Link system, etc.

On arriving at destination, drivers can assess their eco-driving performance by selecting the "Driving eco²" function. This function analyzes driving style and gives customized tips for more "economical" driving. A comparison between journeys encourages drivers to take up the challenge of improving their eco-driving style.

R-Link connected to the Internet

Renault°R-Link is also connected to the outside world and to the Internet through a built-in Edge 2.75G connection. Connected services, such as TomTom® LIVE and Coyote Series alerts, provide drivers with real-time information on traffic conditions so that they can cut journey time.

"TomTom® LIVE" helps drivers to choose the best route:

HD Traffic® is the best traffic information system on the market. It analyzes traffic flows over sections of just a few dozen metres. Right from the start of the journey, it gives a precise time of arrival.
TomTom® Places, the largest location database (updated in real time via the Internet) helps drivers find a specific place or the address of a service nearby or in a given city.
Weather provides a 3-day weather forecast.
Danger zones, issues real-time road safety alerts.
The Coyote Series1 driving aid contributes to safety by helping drivers anticipate any slowdowns. It provides information on high-risk areas, reported and confirmed in real time by members of the community, as well as danger zones, with or without fixed speed cameras. It also provides information on traffic slowdowns, such as accidents or obstacles on the road.

Renault R-Link Store, an original automotive apps store

With around fifty applications available from launch (depending on country), R-Link Store offers a range of applications and services that is without competition. Exploring a full range of fields, from general or theme-based information (tourism, sport, female interest, culture, etc.) to vehicle-linked apps (Renault Assistance, e-guide: interactive vehicle manual), via community applications, e-mail and social networks, the R-Link Store catalogue is set to grow quickly. To deploy a range of apps for automotive use, Renault worked with a number of partners: development companies as well as start-ups founded by young entrepreneurs in the field of connected services.

For the launch of ZOE, Renault is offering buyers a passport to the online world, to help them get used to R-Link:

connected services free for three months: TomTom® Live and Coyote Series,
a number of applications free for three years (on Zen and Intens, optional on Life): e-mail, R-Link Tweet, weather, Renault Assistance. This offer will gradually grow with new apps.
as well as access to the R-Link Store for three years (on Zen and Intens) in order to download, from the car, more than fifty apps available from launch, depending on the country.

Renault ZOE ships with a wide range of features dedicated to comfort. For example, the cabin can be pre-heated to the right temperature (22°C) before the driver gets in. The air breathed in inside the car is cleaner, and the air conditioning maintains a sufficient level of moisture in the air to avoid dry skin.

ZOE sets the right temperature

With the pre-conditioning function, the cabin of ZOE is heated or cooled to the right temperature (set at 22°C) at the time specified by the driver. This function, which can be set from the car's R-Link tablet or remotely from a computer or smart phone, heats or cools the cabin of ZOE when the car is connected to a charging station. The energy required to reach the desired temperature is therefore drawn directly from the socket and not from the battery, thus maintaining the range of Renault ZOE.

When the driver starts moving, the air conditioning or heating function simply maintains the set temperature without having to increase power to make up for a significant difference in temperature levels.

Even if ZOE is not connected, the pre-conditioning function can still be activated immediately, but only for a period of five minutes. This can be done in two ways:

pressing the dedicated button on the hands-free card,
via a smart phone or PC.
The air breathed by the occupants of ZOE is cleaner

An activated carbon particle filter purifies the air in the cabin, absorbing most unpleasant smells and pollutants. Made up of electrostatic layers and activated carbon, the filter traps ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, toluene, benzene and hydrocarbon particles (dust, pollen). It also filters out contaminants of just a few microns in size, such as pollen or soot.

Intelligent air conditioning that does not dry the skin out

Extensive use of conventional air conditioning can make the skin feel dry. The air conditioning of ZOE automatically adjusts the level of humidity in the cabin for a more comfortable feel.


Renault ZOE is a lively vehicle, easy to handle and fun to drive, with a chassis tailored to the specific characteristics of electric vehicles and specially tuned steering, tyres and shock absorbers. ZOE is a reassuring vehicle that performs consistently on all types of journey: in the city and on the open road (around the city and motorways). As an electric car, it is quiet and restful to drive, with no engine noise or vibrations.

An architecture dedicated to electric driving

Renault ZOE is based on the "B" platform already used by around twenty Alliance models including New Renault Clio. The front suspension, which is shared with Clio IV, is of the McPherson type, associated with a lower wishbone arm. The sub-frame and lower suspension arms are taken from the next segment up (Mégane) for increased comfort and more precise steering. The rear suspension features a programmed-deflection flexible beam. It is the most robust in the Renault group in order to take the weight of the battery positioned in the chassis. It has been optimized for greater comfort, with the addition of polyurethane bump stops for better damping.

Dynamic features for greater drivability

The synchronous electric motor with rotor coil delivers excellent energy efficiency in all phases of use. With output of 65 kW (88 hp), it produces maximum torque of 220 Nm almost instantly, in less than one hundredth of a second, for strong acceleration and pick-up from the lowest engine speeds. It takes just four seconds to accelerate from 0 to 50 kph, a frequent requirement in city driving.

The position of the battery under the floor helps to balance the weight between front and rear (59 % / 41 % when stationary) for better traction. Compared with the Clio 3 platform, the centre of gravity is 35 mm lower, the tracks 16 mm wider and the torsional stiffness of the platform increased by 55%, thus improving the stability and road behaviour of Renault ZOE.

The steering is precise and easy to handle. Renault ZOE features the linking rods of Clio 3 RS, a car reputed for the quality of its steering, with rubber sub-frame mounting points specially developed for more dynamic behaviour. The low steering ratio (2.71 turns lock to lock) combined with a power steering motor from the next segment up improves handling and driving pleasure.

A calmer, more restful drive

Acceleration is smooth and linear with no stumbling, thanks to the reduction gear, which transmits the rotational speed of the motor to the wheels, without a clutch system or converter. For the driver, the effect is like having the best automatic gearbox on the market.

The onboard silence and absence of vibrations are restful for the driver. The car is particularly quiet at speeds of up to 40 kph. Beyond this speed, the main noises heard come from the wheels on the road and the flow of air over the bodywork. The noise level measured in the cabin of ZOE between 40 and 75 kph is between 60 and 65 dB, which is between two and three times less than an ICE vehicle of equivalent power.

The onboard calm lets drivers take full advantage of the listening quality delivered by the onboard audio system. Renault ZOE ships with 3D Sound by Arkamys® on the Zen and Intens versions. Using digital signal processing software, this system creates a spatialization effect, giving increased depth and relief to the sound heard. Drivers can select sound zones in the cabin: driver alone, the first row or the whole vehicle.

For peaceful, stress-free driving, when approaching urban areas, ZOE ships with Z.E. Voice: an exterior sound to warn pedestrians of the oncoming vehicle and enable them to estimate its speed, since the frequency varies with the speed of the car. Z.E. Voice is active at speeds of between 1 and 30 kph. The car is silent when stationary. Special design studies were conducted on the sound in order to create a sound identity corresponding to the character of ZOE. It was developed in association with the Sound Perception and Design Team at the research institute IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique / Musique). Drivers can choose between three sounds: "Pure", "Glam" and "Sport". The system can be turned off simply by pressing a button. It comes back on automatically when the driver starts the car again.

All Renault ZOE models ship with hill-start assist for easy starting on slopes. This system holds the car stable on a slope for a few seconds, while the driver releases the brake and starts to accelerate.

To ensure a relaxing experience over the longer term, the electric motor is "maintenance-free", waterproof, and requires no lubrication. The servicing costs of an electric vehicle are up to 20% lower than those of an ICE vehicle. No timing belt, air filter or fuel filter to be replaced, and no oil changes.


ZOE carries all of Renault's expertise and know-how in safety and quality written into its genes. Renault ranks among the best full-line manufacturers for reliability and is recognized to meet high standards in safety. As part of the development process, ZOE underwent the same function approval tests as an ICE vehicle, along with further tests specific to electric models.

Perceived quality in order to build appeal

Perceived quality contributes to making a car appealing and robust, and was therefore a key concern for Renault throughout the ZOE design process. The design and perceived quality teams worked together to showcase the design of ZOE. The LED daytime-running lights, the charging socket on the front end with the "Z.E" diodes, the full contour lines and the lighting technology are just a few of the features contributing to the overall perceived quality of Renault ZOE. The bonnet cut-out also highlights the design of the grille and headlamps. Concerning quality of finish, key points include:

the particular emphasis on gap and flush on the bodywork,
a radius of curvature of less than 2 mm,
the significantly smaller space between the tyre and the wheel arch.
Inside the car, particular efforts have been made concerning the quality of finish and assembly. The design contributes to the overall impression of strength. The dashboard strip uses an attractive material that is soft to the touch.

Production quality at the Flins plant

Renault ZOE is built at the Flins plant alongside New Renault Clio and to the same high standards of build quality. In particular, requirements have been tightened up concerning the processing of minor defects at the end of the assembly line in order to improve perceived quality.

ZOE, tested from all angles

Renault ZOE was driven for 850,000 km in order to test dynamic performance, carry out fine-tuning, and assess reliability and durability in all driving conditions. The car was spared nothing during tests: extreme temperatures, dryness, humidity, rough surfaces, dust and gravel. In the list of points for inspection, particular emphasis was placed on the performance of the battery and electric motor. Tests carried out in conditions of extreme cold (up to -20°C) in Kiruna (Sweden) confirmed the battery's resistance to the cold.

Everyday handling

Like the other vehicles in the range, Renault ZOE also underwent the EDAU range of tests (from the French acronym for tests of durability in appearance and use). Introduced in 2010, the tests reproduce everyday handling over a period of two months in order to simulate three years in the life of the vehicle. The results of these tests placed ZOE among the best on the market for durability of appearance.

Sealing tests

The various sealing tests are part of the common core of Renault tests: washing with high-pressure jets, test in a shower cubicle simulating rainfall of all types up to 800 mm/h (on-site rain test and maximum rainfall known worldwide). The car was even tested in 40 centimetres of water at a speed of 10 kph with the battery totally immersed in order to ensure that failure would not occur.

Electric motor tests

The electric motor of Renault ZOE was developed and tested at the Lardy technical centre, France. All electrotechnical and characterization tests (speed, torque), simulation of road cycles and endurance (heat and vibration) were carried out on a ZOE "5A generation 2" motor. The tests, carried out over a period of between eight and twelve weeks, correspond to 20 years of normal use.

Battery tests

The batteries for Renault electric vehicles are tested in a 2,500m² electrical test facility at the Lardy centre. Their mechanical and chemical endurance, reliability and performance over time are all assessed.

Charging infrastructure tests

Renault conducted a campaign to test the public charging infrastructure in eleven European countries. The aim was to list charging stations, escalate information on any operating defects and ensure that conditions are right for the launch of Renault ZOE.

A more extensive warranty than for ICE vehicles

In the same way as ICE vehicles, ZOE ships with a warranty of two years / unlimited mileage or three years / 100,000 kilometres (depending on the country, based on the local ICE vehicle offering).

The Renault Z.E. range also ships with the following additional warranties:

Electric powertrain warranty: 5 years / 100,000 km
Lifetime battery warranty: the rental contract states that the battery must always be operational and with a charge capacity greater than 75% of its initial capacity. If one of these two points is not satisfied, the battery is replaced free of charge.
Zero compromises on safety

Renault ZOE inherits all Renault's safety-related know-how and techniques. The structure of Renault ZOE and the battery pack have been reinforced to protect the occupants and the battery in the event of impact. For greater safety, an electronic system continuously monitors the state of each cell (the basic component of the battery) and switches off the current immediately if necessary.

90 ZOE vehicles subjected to crash tests

During the design phase, 90 ZOE vehicles underwent all sorts of crash tests in order to validate the technical choices and sizing parameters relating to safety: head-on, side, rear impact, etc. In a head-on crash test, the vehicle slows from 64 kph to 0 kph over a distance of 120 cm, a deceleration of 35G. Tests sought to ensure that the structure would efficiently protect the cabin, its occupants, and the integrity of the battery. The roof line of ZOE remained intact after this test, and it was even still possible to open the doors. The crash test dummies sustained no major injuries and the battery was intact. As a precautionary measure, the airbag ECU immediately deactivates the battery.

Pedestrian impact

The constraints linked to pedestrian impact were taken into consideration right from the start of vehicle design. The design and composition of the bonnet, front bumper and headlights were optimized to reduce the risk of pedestrian injury. The front end features many crumple zones, particularly round the charging socket, in order to dissipate the force of impact, weaken hard zones and contribute to deformation. ZOE also features a flexible crossmember at the junction of the windscreen and bonnet in order to better absorb impact energy.

Passive safety

Passive safety equipment available on ZOE:

Driver and passenger front airbags
Front side airbags (head - thorax)
"Passenger Restraint Cushion" airbags in the front seats
Front seats designed and tested to reduce the risk of whiplash
Three-point seatbelts with pretensioners at the front
Three-point seatbelts with force limiters at the rear
"Fix4Sure" anti-submarining seats at front and rear
Isofix mounting system on the rear side seats and front passenger seat
Active safety

Active safety equipment available on ZOE:

ABS with emergency brake assist,
Electronic stability control (ESC) with traction control (ASR) and understeer control (CSV)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Standard speed limiter / cruise control
Legal speed limit displayed on the navigation screen
Hazard warning lights activated automatically in the event of emergency braking
Doors lock automatically when moving
Teritary safety, also a priority

Tertiary safety (the safety of the occupants after an accident) is also a priority for Renault, which provides support for the emergency services during operations or at an earlier stage during training. Eighteen months before the launch of the first electric vehicles, fire fighters from the Paris region were involved in drafting the guide issued by Renault for the emergency services, with recommendations for operations involving electric vehicles (checking the type of energy, disconnecting the 400V circuit, disconnecting the 12V battery, techniques for freeing passengers, operations on vehicles that are burning or under water, etc.). Since then, Renault has continued cooperation with the fire services.

Fire extinction tests conducted with the fire services in the Paris region showed the efficiency of conventional means of extinction: water puts out the fire with no undesirable side-effects.


The electric vehicle programme led by Renault ZOE is the spearhead of Renault's eco² environmental policy. It is contributing to the commitments pursued by the Renault group as part of the strategic plan "Renault 2016 - Drive the Change": to cut its global carbon footprint by 10% in 2013 and a further 10% between 2013 and 2016.

Zero emissions in use

Like all electric vehicles, ZOE emits no CO2, NOx, carbon monoxide, small particles, smells or engine noise when on the road (excluding wear parts). Electric cars thus have a positive impact in the city, where they contribute to improving air quality and reducing urban noise.

With the introduction of tighter regulations on pollutant emissions (Euro 1 through to Euro 6), air quality in the city is improving, but this progress depends on the renewal rate of the local vehicle parc. The gradual integration of electric vehicles will speed up improvements in air quality. With electric vehicles making up 20% of the urban vehicle parc, concentrations of pollutant emissions could be slashed by between 20 and 40%, depending on the pollutant.

Electric vehicles set to increase their impact on the carbon footprint

Well-to-wheel emissions of CO2 depend on how countries generate their electricity. Based on the energy mix in Europe, ZOE emits 58g of CO2 / km, compared with 89g for the new Toyota Prius. In France, most electricity is produced from carbon-free sources, so the well-to-wheel figure is just 15g of CO2 / km.

In 2010, in Europe, 18% of electricity was generated from renewable sources, and this figure is set to grow with the increased use of renewable sources in the electricity generation mix. Eurelectric, the association representing the electricity industry in Europe, expects to see a 15% fall in the carbon dioxide intensity (g CO2/kWh) of electricity in France and Europe between 2010 and 2020. And this progress will have a positive and immediate impact for all existing electric vehicles, unlike for ICE vehicles, where upgrades in technology bring no immediate benefits for all the cars already on the road.

Renault ZOE will have 55% local content when fitted with the Renault electric motor produced at Cléon. This figure, which is set to increase in the coming years, will contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of logistics aspects.

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