The Transport Evolved team has been on an outing today to a Renault/Dacia drive event and after all the driving, the little cheesecake yummy things, the chin-wagging with non-electrically minded motoring journalists we were left with one thought: We think Renault should make a ZOE GT.
In the world of EVs, the Renault ZOE has its admirers. The aggressive looks and charging flexibility means that not only does it look like it fits right in to the ‘hot hatch’ scene but it can also make use of pretty much any AC power you can supply it. But – when it all comes down to it, the ZOE is a little lacklustre to drive.
The Renault ZOE has a 65kW motor – which is on the low side compared to the Nissan LEAF’s 80KW and the BMW i3’s 130kW. This gives the ZOE a 0 – 62mph of 13.5 seconds while the Leaf and i3 come in at 7.9 seconds and 7.2 seconds respectively.
And while we understand that these cars aren’t in the same segments, we are still at a point with EVs where we have to take what we can – and what is most sensible – for comparisons.
This lack of oomph with the ZOE leads to a slight miss-match between styling and performance which is why we think Renault should create ZOE GT.
Today we drove the Clio GT and while in many ways it was similar to the ZOE, it did point the way for some improvements. In standard mode, the Clio GT – which uses an automatic gearbox that can be switched to manual and then controlled with flappy paddles, is a bit slow off the mark. It’s performance being around the same as the ZOE albeit with an additional half second delay between flooring it and the car responding.
But switch the Clio into manual mode and – well – that car will respond.
The Clio also has a more solid suspension set up. Taking bumps and potholes with a solid jolt but holding the road tightly. Although that being said, it does suffer from more body roll than the ZOE.
What would a ZOE GT have? Well, the idea would be to take the suspension set up from the Clio GT and pair that with a larger motor, say the LEAF motor though the Renault-Nissan alliance. The larger motor would give the ZOE a far more competitive 0 – 62mph along with some improved regenerative braking. The suspension set up would give the car an overall sportier feeling which is more in-line with the ZOE’s external styling.
Take the flappy paddles too – only have these changing the level of regen applied by the motor. This would be the same as the approached used in the Smart ForTwo ED because, let’s face it, there is no feeling more sporty than playing with flappy paddles.
With these changes the new ZOE GT would take its place at the top of the ‘hot hatch’ pile, rivalling any internal combustion car in its class.
We do truly believe that this would then bring Renault more potential sales. People who bought cars such as the LEAF, iOn, C-Zero or iMiEV didn’t have a lot of choice when it came to car style or size and due to this, introducing a truly sporty smaller car would offer them the ability to downsize. Right now, the step down in power from any of those cars to the current ZOE is just a little too far for most to make the switch.
This isn’t to say that the ZOE doesn’t have a place ‘as is’. It truly does – but the Zoe GT would open it up to a new market; a market which, we think, Renault already believes they are catering to and are missing. You can see a short video of Mark driving the Clio GT and giving his views on this below:
What do you think about the idea of a ZOE GT? Would you buy one? Any other additions you’d like to add to our theoretical ZOE GT? Let us know below.
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