Why We Think Renault Needs to Make a ZOE GT

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.

The ZOE, While Competent in Many Ways, Can be a Little Slow Off the Mark

The ZOE, While Competent in Many Ways, Can be a Little Slow Off the Mark

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.

Should Renault Make a ZOE GT Like This Clio GT?

Should Renault Make a ZOE GT Like This Clio GT?

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.

Maybe All Cars Should Have Flappy Paddles?

Maybe All Cars Should Have 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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  • offib

    Does the LEAF actually to a 0-60 in 7.9 seconds? I thought the old one did it in 11.9 seconds. I really think that 0-30 times and g force should be adopted for EVs as that’s where they excel.

    • Mark Chatterley

      I got the time from here: http://www.zeroto60times.com/Nissan-0-60-mph-Times.html nnThese seem to the best independently verified times. Although what is interesting is the change from the 2011 LEAF to the modern 2013 one.

      • alloam

        That 0-60 time for the Leaf is a complete outlier. I have never seen that before, and it is not referenced on the site so is meaningless. The argument you are trying to make , Mark, fails on this point. When the Leaf is bang between the i3 and ZOE, at around 10 to 12 seconds depending on the tests that are more usual, then the various compromises between cost/performance/weight/range are seen for what they are. To make a faster ZOE would inevitably alter that compromise (with range and cost being the big losers), is that really what the ZOE needs?

        • Mark Chatterley

          I’m not saying that all ZOEs would be like this – but as an option for people… I think it would sell.

      • According to the official brochure from Nissan the 0-100 time is 11.5 s, about 1.2 s faster than the time I unofficially measured using gps for my Zoe. Forget about the 7.9.

  • Ad van der Meer

    I would choose more range over more power. The Zoe is quick enough as it is.

  • I too find my Zoe to be fast enough under all circumstances in normal day-to-day driving. Of course, when doing a test drive, you approach things more from a fun perspective and then it is not terribly exciting. nnEven though the official maximum power of the Zoe is stated as 65 kW, if you put the dash on instantaneous power, you can see it maxing out at 72 kW.

  • alloam

    I do agree with Mark that I wish ZOE had adjustable regen braking rates. Even if it was just adjustments via the R-Link on how much it regens, as per the adjustments on a Model S. That would be a nice addition.

  • Craig Pugsley

    My Renault Zoe has all the oomph I could possibly want. I accidentally got into a drag race with a Subaru a few weeks back, and totally flummoxed the sports car driver with my Zoe’s performance as I left him in my dust.nnHonestly, I can’t understand why anyone would want a car faster than my Zoe on normal roads – you can’t use the extra power without risking breaking the law and you pay in range and cost.nnRenault should concentrate their efforts on bringing the cost of Zoe down even further, and finding ways to increase the range (that can be retrofitted to existing owners too 😉

  • Matt Beard

    The motor coils form part of the Chameleon charger circuitry – changing the motor could cause all sorts of headaches!

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