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Long Termers: Renault ZOE

By / 3 years ago / New Cars / No Comments
After six months and almost five thousand miles, our ZOE has gone back to Renault. But, in that time, it’s answered the question I’ve been asked so many times since it was delivered: what’s it really like living with an electric vehicle?

It’s much easier than you’d expect. We usually carry hundreds of miles of unnecessary fuel in a conventional car, but the ZOE shows a typical range of between 80 and 100 miles is quite generous. It’s enough to comfortably get from my house in Cardiff to Bristol and back, and the electricity costs less than half the price of the Severn Bridge toll. At each end, I can plug in while I do other things.

Of course, long trips take planning. The range drops to around 75 miles on the motorway, not helped by my impatience at the Eco mode’s 60mph speed limiter. At a steady 70mph, with the blowers on but air conditioning off, it comfortably gets between Ecotricity’s Electric Highway network on an 80% charge, reached in 20 minutes. Range anxiety is usually down to bad planning.

It’s hard not to love the technology, too. R-Link is fiddly at first but easy to get used to, setting cabin temperatures from your bed is a useful feature, and the Chameleon Charger means it takes the fastest charging speeds from whatever you can plug it into. Domestic sockets are the painfully slow exception, though, and the three-pin cable is really only a backup.

The more you live with it, the more it becomes a normal car. It’s stylish, comfortable, has a generous boot, folding seats and ISOFIX points in the back, plus the refinement is blissful. For mostly urban driving and occasional motorway trips, do you really need a plug-in hybrid?

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.

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