Last week at the Geneva Motor Show, Renault presented the newest addition to its zero-emissions fleet: the Zoe all-electric car. The supermini joins the Fluence, the Kangoo Van, and the Twizy, the automaker's other all-electric models.
But what sets Zoe apart is its price tag. Marketed by Renault as the "first affordable car for everyday use," the new model starts at just 13,650 pounds sterling ($21,313 at the current exchange rate), after a government incentive of up to 25 percent of the cost of the car. In Switzerland, which does not offer such incentives, the car starts at around $24,800 - decidedly below the typical range for an EV.
Renault claims the five-seater is the first mass-market electric vehicle with a range of more than 130 miles (according to the New European Driving Cycle). Also, thanks to the use of a Chameleon charger, Renault says the car is the first EV that can be charged at any level of power - taking anywhere between 30 minutes and nine hours to charge.
Zoe is now available for pre-order in 11 countries. As arguably the first electric car to be priced comparably to traditional diesel-engined city cars (where tax incentives are available), the success of this EV may provide a gauge of consumers' willingness to cross over to electric vehicles, as in this case cost is not a main concern.
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