There’s nothing small about the new Renault Zoe supermini’s electric range.
What is the 2020 Renault Zoe?
The Renault Zoe is currently the flagship model in Renault’s pure-electric portfolio, with one of the longest production runs of any electric car, having first gone on sale in the UK in spring 2013.
It’s proved to be a decent hit: Renault says that in the last six years, roughly 150,000 Zoes have found homes across Europe.
While Renault has been steadily updating the Zoe since it was launched six years ago, mainly with incrementally bigger and better battery packs, this latest version is the most comprehensive overhaul yet, with subtle exterior tweaks but a heavily updated interior and, yes, a better battery.
Buyers will be able to choose one of two power options: base models will come with a 108bhp “R110” electric motor that’s carried over from the current car, with the range-topping “R135” motor generating 133bhp.
How far can the 2020 Renault Zoe go on a charge?
The new Zoe’s power pack can hold 52kWh of energy, up from 40kWh in the model it replaces. This is despite not increasing in physical size (so it doesn’t take up any more interior space but thanks to ever-improving chemistry and engineering, . That results in a 20% increases in range — now 242 miles per charge rather than 182 miles (on the new, more realistic WLTP test).
This means the Zoe will punch above its weight in terms of range; it’s only a whisker behind big SUVs like the Audi e-tron (249 miles) and Mercedes-Benz EQC (259 miles), although a way off the Hyundai Kona Electric (279 miles) and Kia e-Niro (282 miles). See below for how it compares to its true electric supermini rivals, though.
The car’s entire battery can be replenished in 9 hours 25 minutes using a 7kW domestic wall box charger — for most that will mean a full battery every morning, assuming they can plug in at home.
As standard, all Zoes will accept fast charging speeds of up to 22kW (AC), which Renault says translates to fairly decent recharging times. The French car maker claims Zoe drivers will get 78 miles of range after an hour of charging at a 22kW public charging point,
Buyers can also specify compatibility with 50kW DC rapid chargers as an optional extra, allowing the Zoe to be topped up with roughly 90 miles of range per half hour.
What tech will the 2020 Renault Zoe have?
Full details are still to be confirmed but the new Zoe has a larger (9.3in) touchscreen for the infotainment system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a 10″ digital driver’s display; a trend kicked off by Audi with its “virtual cockpit” and now found on many other new vehicles, from the VW Golf to the Peugeot 508.
The Zoe will also be available with driver aids such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition systems and a hands-free parking assist.
As before, Zoe buyers will be able to check on their car’s charging status and turn the car’s heating and air-con on remotely using a mobile app, and all Zoes will come with built-in navigation with real-time traffic information and support for over-the-air updates.
None of which is terrifically innovative but the new Zoe will definitely be slicker than before.
When will the 2020 Renault Zoe go on sale?
An exact launch date is still to be confirmed but it will likely go on sale before the end of the year with first customer cars expected to arrive on UK roads by early 2020.
How much will the 2020 Renault Zoe cost?
Prices haven’t been announced at the time of writing but as a guide, the current Renault Zoe range starts at £18,420 including the £3,500 government Plug-in Car Grant discount, plus mandatory battery hire of £49-89 per month for the 22kW battery or £59-110 per month for the Z.E. 40 (depending on mileage).
If you decide to buy the battery outright, which we imagine will be possible with the new car, too, prices for the current Zoe start at £24,320 including PiCG.
What are the 2020 Renault Zoe’s rivals?
Though the current Renault Zoe has the zero-emissions supermini sector practically to itself, its successor won’t be in a class of one when it goes on sale. Pure-electric versions of the Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa (which share the same underpinning and 211-mile range) will be available to buy before 2020.
A new MINI Electric with around the same range is expected to arrive in showrooms in early 2020, and Honda will be launching the highly-anticipated Honda-e city car, although that models is expected to be capable of “over 124 miles” only. Later this year, expect to see a new electric-only Kia Soul, too.
And then there are the electric compact crossovers on the way, including the Peugeot e-2008 (early 2020), BMW iX3 (late 2019), DS 3 Crossback E-Tense (November), MG e-ZS(late 2019) and Volvo XC40 Electric (November). That’s in addition to the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric mentioned above.
Basically, the 2020 Renault Zoe will have its work cut out.