CarsMotormouth Reviews

Renault’s Zoe could be the MP3 player to our CD dependence

Renault’s Zoe could be the MP3 player to our CD dependence

THERE have been calls echoing throughout Ireland this week to ban new fossil fuel cars.

For those of you who don’t know, the U.K. and France have decided to prohibit the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 onward.

Having lived with Renault’s terrific new, all-electric Zoe for the past fortnight, I got my first taste of driving in the future.

After a week of complaining about the loudness of the indicators, the idea of charging it for long periods, or not being able to whizz off to west Cork at a moment’s notice, the importance of this little electric car hit me in the face like a fiercely struck sliotar.

Once the man drove off in the little white Renault, I sat into my 15-year-old Audi and drove it to a nearby petrol station so I could pour €13 worth of crude oil into it and fill its tank with €50 worth of petrol.

Then, as I looked at my CD player, which sits in the same spot as Zoe’s R-link Multimedia system and reverse camera, it reminded me of when I lost my first MP3 player.

The device was only able to hold 50 songs, but having to go back to lugging around a bag of CDs felt like being forced to use a sundial watch.

I got more mileage from my CDs at the time, but it didn’t take long for Apple to forever change how we all listen to music, with the iPod.

I don’t think it’s fair to describe Zoe as just a stepping stone to motoring’s inevitable iPod moment, because the plucky little Renault has so much more going on than my 50-song MP3 player.

You can park it on a postage stamp with its nimble light handling, sensors and reverse camera and it’s nippy off the mark as it packs a surprising 225 ft lbs of torque.

You can get three full-sized men in the back and a modest amount of shopping in the boot – larger items, like golf clubs or bass guitars, won’t fit.

I’m charged €1,100 to insure my car for a year, but I’ve just been sent a quote from the same company for Zoe of €171.91.

Meanwhile, Revenue mugs me for a further €673, while the Zoe costs €120 a year to tax. That’s quite a saving, not to mention the two weeks I enjoyed spending no money on petrol and charging the car at public charging points.

The ESB claims that if I was to have a home charging point installed, I could top up the car at night for as little as €2 a day, using cheaper night rate electricity.

If you are in the market for a new electric car the ESB will install a free home charging point until the end of 2017.

After that, according to sources, it will cost upwards of €5,000 to have one put in your home.

To charge at a home point it could take 12hrs from empty to full, but I charged Zoe three times in two weeks from empty at a fast charge point and it took a little over two hours.

Also, if you plug it in every night after driving it around the city or suburbs, you’re never going to need to use 12hrs of electricity to fill it.

Despite my praise for Zoe and assurances from Renault that people have driven long distances in it, I feel the Zoe is an urban or suburban car.

I somehow can’t see commuters driving it from Ballyhaunis to Belfast.

My Zoe was a Signature Nav version with the R-link Multimedia system, rear parking sensors, leather seats, a rear parking camera, a Bose sound system and some other treats.

With all the bells and whistles it’s coming in at €30,000, but you can pick up a base model for €23,490.