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Renault adds a new flagship Zoe electric model … which charges to 80% power in an hour

By Paul Connolly

The motor industry’s embrace of electrification continues, with Renault this week unveiling a new range-topping Zoe model that can reach an 80% charge level in 65 minutes.

The new model would allow workers who nip home or to another appropriate location to charge their car over lunch to over three-quarters full.

This would significantly extend the car’s daily range and attractiveness as a commuting vehicle.

Meanwhile, in another advance, a London company has launched a range of EV (electric vehicle) chargers embedded into street kerbs, potentially eliminating the need for people in terraced streets to trail power leads across pavements.

The new Zoe launch is important as the car is the one of the most affordable electric vehicles on sale and Renault is the leading EV manufacturer in Europe with a 22 per cent market share.

The new ZOE S Edition replaces the previous Signature Nav version at the pinnacle of the range.

It adds a host of equipment for £800 extra over the Renault ZOE Dynamique Nav. Ordering is open now and deliveries begin in April.

Additional equipment includes a rear parking camera and a BOSE stereo - which includes DAB radio – delivering improved cabin acoustics.

All of the seats are finished in a leather and textile covering and comfort is enhanced with lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat.

On the outside the car can be specced with either 16-inch ‘Black Shadow’ alloy wheels or, at no additional cost, assertive looking 17-inch ‘Black Optemic’ alloy wheels.

These features are in addition to those already found on the entry level Renault ZOE Dynamique Nav, which includes a hands-free key card, rear parking sensors, automatic wipers and lights, climate control, and a leather steering wheel and gear knob.

Also featuring is front and rear electric windows, and electric, heated and folding door mirrors. Voice-controlled satellite navigation is also standard on all Renault ZOEs via an embedded tablet in the centre console that includes a seven-inch touchscreen.

The Renault ZOE S Edition is priced from £19,270 on the road including the government Plug-in Car Grant. Of £3,500.

Customers can choose to buy their Renault ZOE and lease the battery, or they can purchase the full car outright (referred to as ZOE i). Battery leasing begins from £59 per month.

A choice of two motors are available in the both the ZOE Dynamique Nav and the ZOE S Edition.

The Q90 Quick Charge motor allows for faster battery charging, from zero to 80 per cent in 65 minutes with a 43 kWh charger. The R110 motor has an extra 19 horsepower and has improved performance, especially between 50mph and 70mph. Both are mated to the Z.E. 40 battery and both have a WLTP-rated range of 186 miles (reduced in winter).

All retail customers that purchase a Renault ZOE receive a free 7 kW wall-box for their home that ensures the easiest possible charging experience at home.

The London pilot of kerbside charging points is good news as it could eliminate trailing charging cables – a barrier to the widespread adoption of EVs in built-up areas.

The company, Connected Kerb, has teamed up with Southwark Council to deploy the first of its new kerbside charging points in south London’s Borough Road.

The units offer charging speeds of 3-7kW – enough to fully charge a typical EV with a 40kWh battery in between six and 13 hours.

Connected Kerb’s chargers also act as internet connectivity points for drivers to access. In addition, they provide environmental, weather and traffic monitoring data for public authorities.

The kerbside chargers are designed to be discreet and are manufactured from recycled materials to minimise environmental impact.

The new charger in Southwark is intended to be the first of a whole network across London, once other public authorities invest in Connected Kerb.

In 2018, the company won the Mayor of London’s Award for Urban Innovation and the scheme has the backing of the Mayor’s office.

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor for business, said the Mayor of London – Sadiq Khan – is “working closely” with local authorities and businesses in order to deliver “the charging infrastructure Londoners need.”

Paul Ayres, chief operating officer of Connected Kerb, described the need for a “nationwide” EV charging infrastructure as “critical” and said the UK was on the “precipice” of an EV “revolution”.

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