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In-depth reviews

Renault ZOE review - MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

Battery lease costs are significant, but as a full recharge only costs around £3, you’ll still be laughing

There are two ways to get the keys to a Renault Zoe. You can now buy the car outright, with no battery lease to worry about. Zoe models bought outright are now set apart by an 'i' badge on the bootlid, apparently in an effort to bolster residual values – as the list prices are very high.

Alternatively, it’s still possible to buy the car for less money up front and lease the batteries for a monthly fee, although paying full price at the start should still work out cheaper as the battery leasing deal is costed against a usage plan. For example, drivers taking out a 36-month package with an annual mileage of 7,500 will pay around £70 per month, while a 12-month/12,000-mile deal costs about £113 per month. If you don’t use all your agreed mileage allowance, you’ll be paying over the odds for sure.

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As with all electric cars, range is a concern. Renault claims the 41kWh battery gives the Zoe a range of 187 miles under the comparative WLTP test regime, but says you shouldn’t expect more than 125 miles in normal driving – although this can fall in cold temperatures and with the use of lights and heating.

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If you’re paying for the electricity, we reckon charging the car’s battery fully would set you back around £3. In addition, as the Zoe has zero tailpipe emissions, there’s no VED, company car tax or congestion charge to pay, although if you take into account the carbon dioxide produced by making the electricity in the first place, the CO2 rating is around 54g/km.

Don’t read too much into the latter figure, however; hydrocarbon-fuelled vehicles do not have to factor in the significant CO2 ‘costs’ of drilling, refining and transporting fuel in bulk when their individual emissions are calculated, so it’s hard to make meaningful comparisons.

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The Zoe comes as standard with a chameleon charger – so-called because it adapts to the power source it's plugged into. A home wall charger is provided free of charge for buyers, but those who require a traditional three-pin household charging plug have to pay extra. 

A full charge from a domestic socket will take up to eight and a half hours, but this three-pin plug could be useful for nights away from home. If you just rely on that, you're looking at 15 hours to fully recharge a flat battery.

Renault’s 3-year roadside assistance and warranty package helps minimise running costs as well, while a three-year servicing pack will set you back £389.

Insurance groups

The Zoe has an impressively low insurance rating of group 14 or 16, depending on trim. The costs are kept down partly because of the car’s unambitious outright performance, and partly because the mileage expectations are so low.

Depreciation

Our experts predict the Zoe will retain 36.5 per cent of its value after three years, which means lots of depreciation – a concern for private buyers. But 'i'-badged versions of the Zoe (those bought outright) may hold on to more of their new price.

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Most Economical

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