New hot Renault ZOE RS electric car to replace Clio RS

A Renaultsport version of the electric Renault ZOE is in the pipeline and our exclusive images preview how it could look

A Renault Sport version of the ZOE electric hatch is being eyed up as an indirect replacement for the Clio RS, Auto Express can reveal. Bosses at the firm told us a successor to the hot Clio is no longer a viable business proposition, and that a hot ZOE is currently the favoured option within the company to plug the gap.

Renault previously flirted with the idea of a performance-based EV back in 2017 when it showed the ZOE e-sport concept. The running prototype featured technology learned from the French firm’s efforts in Formula E; a twin-motor set-up delivered 454bhp and a 0-62mph time of 3.2 seconds, but the concept was never intended to be put into production.

Renault ZOE e-sport concept review

However, Ali Kasai, Renault’s executive vice-president of product planning, told us that future Renault Sport models have to be in keeping with the brand’s electrification strategy.

“We need to be in line with the current trends; we have to invent the future sporty cars. This is the role of Renault Sport, to be innovative,” Kasai said. “ZOE, that concept, it is exactly what we were thinking and we still think. That car was appreciated by many people, they loved it, they want to buy it from the feedback we get.”

The latest ZOE is powered by a 52kWh battery that drives a 132bhp electric motor on the front axle. A range of up to 245 miles is claimed. There are various ways in which Renault Sport could develop a more performance-focused model; the first would be to sacrifice some of the car’s range while adding a more powerful electric motor. Another avenue would be to fit an additional motor on the ZOE’s rear axle.

Opinion: "An electric hot hatch is something we should all look forward to"

Kasai added: “The question is what is the performance? What is the range of that car? How would it be on track? Renault Sport is a serious player, so if we do the car it has to have the performance. But if it can only do one lap of a track and then it has to go to a charging station, well that’s not what we want to do.”

One of the defining factors why Renault bosses are leaning towards a hot ZOE is the collapse in a business case for the Clio RS. Kasai said ever-tighter CO2 emissions targets made bringing the vehicle to market at an affordable price unachievable.

“Today a Clio RS would need very elaborate technology to reach lower CO2 levels. And by keeping the high performance necessary for such a vehicle, you would have to charge such a big premium that those customers would be mostly unable to afford it,” Kasai told us. “At the moment, even if we love sporty cars, as is our history, we can’t find the solution to that equation – it’s impossible.

“Also, looking at the competition, we don’t see many rivals.”

Click here for our list of the best electric cars currently on sale...

Recommended

Best electric company cars 2022
Best electric company cars - header image
Company cars

Best electric company cars 2022

With low emissions and attractive tax rates, an electric company car could mean big savings
1 Jan 2022
Renault Zoe awarded zero-star Euro NCAP safety rating
Renault Zoe EuroNCAP test 1
Renault ZOE

Renault Zoe awarded zero-star Euro NCAP safety rating

The all-electric Renault Zoe hatchback is only the third car in history to receive zero stars from Euro NCAP, despite the previous model scoring top m…
9 Dec 2021
Renault ZOE review
Renault Zoe
Renault ZOE

Renault ZOE review

The Renault Zoe is a capable small electric car, but is ultimately let down by its poor safety rating
9 Dec 2021
The best 0% finance car deals 2021
Best 0% finance car deals - header
Best cars & vans

The best 0% finance car deals 2021

Tempted by a 0% APR deal? Here are our best 0% finance deals starting from only £145...
21 Oct 2021

Most Popular

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?
number plates
Tips & advice

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?

Everything you need to know about so-called ‘4D’ number plates, including whether you’re allowed to have them on your car
25 Jan 2022
Best electric cars to buy 2022
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2022

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
10 Jan 2022
New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time
Lamborghini Countach - front
Lamborghini Countach

New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time

Lamborghini’s reborn Countach pictured on the move ahead of it arriving with customers
25 Jan 2022