I am very passionate about the development of technology and I daresay that I am an early adopter of new technology. Just as I am passionate about technology, I am also a concerned consumer who cares very much about our impact on the environment.
As a student, I have always imagined and envisioned that one day, there will be a worldwide implementation of green technology that can reduce our carbon footprint and our reliance on natural sources.
Well, 2 decades later; that vision and dream
Recently, I was very privileged to have the opportunity to take Renault’s ZOE out for a spin and I honestly had an amazing driving experience.
The Renault ZOE has a very futuristic design and though it is not an extremely sporty-looking car to begin with, it offers a very sporty driving experience which I will elaborate more later.
The exclusive incorporation of distinctive LED daytime-running lights, Z.E.-signature blue-tinted trims on the headlamps, and rear lights with modern concentric blue edges, intensifies the strong electric identity of the Renault ZOE. The 2-door coupé styling on a 5-door city compact hatch is only possible because of the well-hidden inclusion of rear door handles into the window frame.
Inside the Renault ZOE
As a driver sitting in the driver’s seat, I felt pretty comfortable and the rear seats can comfortably seat 2 adults and 1 child. For a compact hatchback, the space isn’t extremely crammed and the controls are all within reach. The materials used for the futuristic-looking dashboard and steering wheels felt premium and not plasticky.
The car boot boasts a voluminous boot space of 338L and that itself is more than sufficient for 2 big luggage.
Driving Experience with the Renault ZOE
The driving experience with the Renault ZOE is truly amazing. When I stepped on the accelerator, the Renault ZOE picks up speed almost instantaneously and the engine is incredibly silent! As there are no gear shifts on the Renault ZOE, the driving experience is very smooth and seamless. When the accelerator is released, the regenerative braking system kicks in and harnesses the kinetic energy from braking and charges the battery.
What is truly incredible is the fact that the Renault ZOE is so silent that the car manufacturer has to give it a humming voice which can be switched on or off just so that it can alert people of its approach.
Cornering and overtaking is not a problem for the Renault ZOE and the driving experience is a vast difference when I compared it with another electric vehicle that I frequently drive. Nimble and agile, the Renault ZOE is like a Ninja (swift, fast, and silent). Since there is no need to travel fast and furious in Singapore, the top speed of the Renault ZOE at 135 km/h is more than sufficient.
On paper, the maximum range that the Renault ZOE can travel on a full charge is 367km and we managed about 320km on Singapore’s busy urban roads. The on-board three-phase 22kW CaméléonTM smart charger allows for a full battery charged in just less than 3 hours and a full charge will cost approximately $10.59# and if you switch to an alternative electricity retailer such as iSwitch, the cost is approximately $7.24##.
#Based on regulated tariff of $0.2582/kWh electric tariff from 1 Oct – 31 Dec 2018.
##Based on iSwitch’s 12-month exclusive ‘Chope’ the Rate of $0.17655/kWh.
For the price of $100k as at the time of writing, the Renault ZOE may seem pretty expensive but honestly, you will see the returns sooner than you think because the cost of maintaining and operating the Renault ZOE is significantly lower than that of a normal fuel-powered car (whether Diesel or Petrol). If you can hit 18km per litre of fuel based on a distance of 320km; it will cost you about $30 (after discounts) for petrol and $23.40 (after discounts) for diesel. Compare this with $7.24 (iSwitch) or even $10.59 (normal regulated tariff); you really save substantially in terms of dollars per km travelled.
Furthermore, the costs of maintenance for an electric car is substantially lower because you don’t have to deal with oil change, fuel filter, spark plugs and gear/transmission issues (additional cost savings of at least $300 per year). The foreseeable maintenance is probably just the battery and tyres.
The downsides of getting an electric car for now is probably the lack of sufficient charging points and also perhaps the hefty price tag to begin with; since demands for electric cars is picking up slowly but surely.
In Singapore, the number of electric car charging points are slowly increasing and with the recent announcement by BlueSG to open up its car charging points to private electric vehicles, this would definitely be a plus point for potential electric car owners.
If you stay at a landed property (Renault will install a charging point for you at your landed property) or if you stay at a place where charging points are highly accessible, the Renault ZOE is definitely a good buy. However, if you plan to take the Renault ZOE out for a road trip to Malaysia and beyond, it probably isn’t ideal at this stage.
Keen to find out more about the Renault ZOE?
Check out Renault’s Official Website and book for a test drive at the Renault Showroom today!