Renault Zoe to make electric cars safer and more affordable
Renault’s plans to make electric vehicles more attractive to consumers have received a boost from Euro NCAP, which has given the Renault Zoe electric supermini a five-star safety rating. With industry sales of electric vehicle sluggish, the Zoe’s ability to combine safety and range in an affordable package could be critical to their acceptance.
In Euro NCAP’s assessment, the Zoe achieved five stars with scores that are just as high as many more conventional five-star cars: the results were generally all good or above average for adults, children and pedestrians. The tests indicated that Renault has been careful to ensure that most child seats can also be installed easily. The only weak points in the car’s crash protection were identified as the chest protection in the severe pole-strike test and the protection against whiplash injuries.
Euro NCAP doesn’t conduct specific tests on the integrity of electric cars’ battery packs, but Renault has stated that 90 Zoe vehicles underwent crash tests to validate the vehicle’s design: “Tests sought to ensure that the structure would efficiently protect the cabin, its occupants, and the integrity of the battery. As a precautionary measure, the airbag ECU immediately deactivates the battery,” said the company.
Driver assistance systems on the Zoe will also help improve safety and range for drivers. A speed limiter device is fitted as standard as well as a system that displays the current speed limit. If electric driving helps to make all drivers more conscious of speed and energy, then they could help to reduce accidents, not just CO2.
Costing £13,650 and the battery hire starting at £70 per month, the Zoe is Renault’s attempt to bring electric vehicles within the reach of more people. Concerns about safety as well as their range have put off a lot of drivers in the past. With five star safety and a range of 60-90 miles depending on your driving style, the Zoe could be the first time that an EV starts to make sense.
If electric driving helps to make all drivers more conscious of speed and energy, then they could help to reduce accidents, not just CO2
- UK prices start at £13,650 including government incenties, with battery hire from £70 per month, depending on mileage
- In France prices start from €13,700 including VAT and eco-bonus. Battery rental from €79 for 12,500km /year over three years