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Renault Zoe: game-changer or plus ca change?

The new Renault Zoe will give consumers a choice between an electric supermini or a conventional supermini, such as the new Renault Clio. That’s the view of Renault’s Darren Payne. Editor Ralph Morton disagrees
709_Renault_Zoe
Renault Zoe - this is how Renault would like us to perceive the experience. But reality is likely to be very different, particularly for small businesses that need guaranteed mobility

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28 December 2012

 

Darren Payne, Renault
Renault’s Darren Payne – Zoe is EV  tipping point

Blog: RALPH MORTON

THE Renault Zoe – renault’s all-electric Clio sized supermini – is a game-changer reckons Renault’s sales director Darren Payne.

I was having lunch with Darren (left), alongside other assorted hacks, before Christmas when Darren came out with this statement.

Brave stuff. But with so much of Renault’s hopes pinned on ZE – zero emission technology – it is with a back to a corner that Darren speaks.

“When customers walk into a Renault showroom they can have the choice of a conventional new supermini – our new Renault Clio – or they can have a Renault Zoe ZE.”

Renault Zoe
Renault Zoe – this is how Renault would like us to perceive the experience. But reality is likely to be very different, particularly for small businesses that need guaranteed mobility

Given the price of electric vehicles so far, that might sound far-fetched. But the new Renault Zoe is available from £13,650 (after the £5k government incentive) – rather more affordable than a Nissan Leaf, for example.

And the new Clio? That’s available with five doors from £12,225. So drivers are being given a real choice for once.

But will they be brave enough to opt for electric? Our view here at BCM towers is that electric vehicles, which are great to drive by the way, have a limited application for small businesses.

New Renault Clio 4
New Renault Clio – over 88mpg capability, and CO2 emissions from 83g/km

The main handicap is the limited range – some 100 miles on a good day. A conventional diesel Clio can give you over 88mpg on a single gallon.

What would you choose? Quite. Business requires mobility and the electric car only delivers within a limited sphere.

Zoe, then – a game changer? It might be in the eyes of Darren and Renault. But for most small businesses and SMEs with a company car policy, I don’t think so.

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Ralph Morton

Ralph Morton

Ralph Morton is an award-winning journalist and the founder of Business Car Manager (now renamed Business Motoring). Ralph writes extensively about the car and van leasing industry as well as wider fleet and company car issues. A former editor of What Car?, Ralph is a vastly experienced writer and editor and has been writing about the automotive sector for over 35 years.

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