Forget The Tesla - Renault Provides EVs For Real Life

Posted by on 21 September 2016


Forget The Tesla - Renault Provides EVs For Real Life

Instead of blasting around the racetrack in expensive Teslas, which is an irrelevant practice often used here to promote electric vehicles, I decided to use my electric test vehicles in day to day conditions. In recent weeks, leading up to the EV week, I put Renault’s Zoe, and Kangoo E through their paces and even with the understanding that there is close to zero infrastructure for these cars in Christchurch I found they could each manage my usual day’s driving with not a skerrick of range anxiety coming through.

RENAULT KANGOO - I’ve always loved the hard-working and disarmingly practical Kangoo and now as an EV it’s even more of a wee cracker! Quirky looks - well, it IS French! - uncanny quietness, and terrific load capacity, who wouldn’t like to make deliveries in this all day?

In its home market there are various seating and loading combinations, as well as full and part glazing, along of course with diesel and petrol options. Europe loves them and we should too. More relevant than a Tesla, and probably more classy too, truth be known.

Just to check its viability day-to-day, assuming a single morning charge, I visited every major DIY store in Christchurch over three hours and still had 2/3 charge left. This tells me two things: 1/ The Kangoo EV will do a day’s deliveries and pick-ups with no range anxiety entering the driver’s mind. 1/ I’m possibly not driving hard enough (doubt it).

I’d love to have had the five-seater version of the Renault when the kids were growing up!

RENAULT ZOE - A more conventional five-door hatch design, the pretty wee Zoe is even more refined and quiet than the Kangoo. For anyone living within 50km of Christchurch, even with the city’s almost total lack of EV infrastructure, which means for the time-being once a day charging, the Zoe is fun, a terrific handler and can take a family with little discernible affect on range or performance.

I took the car for a jaunt up and around Christchurch’s port hills and discovered that any extra juice required to scamper up to the summit was replaced through braking and energy regeneration on the way down - uncanny. Both Zoe and Kangoo owners can option a wall-mounted fast-charger for home and work use. The units take up little space and will provide an 80 per cent charge in 90 minutes. Full charges without it take more like eight hours, but it costs so much less than liquid fuel.


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