LET’S get straight down to business.
I like the Renault Zoe as an electric car. I really do.
It’s cute, trendy, easy, good range — and I’m sure there are thousands of owners out there who are perfectly happy with theirs.
But Zoe as a van?
No, mate. Not good enough.
It’s like someone at Renault said: “Right, we’ve got a load of white Zoes in the car park, let’s rip out the rear seats, stick a cage in the back, and ship them out.”
But in a French accent, obviously.
All sorted in five minutes flat with very little thought.
Take that mesh bulkhead for starters.
You’d expect it to be expertly engineered after much chin-stroking by big brain boxes from a top firm.
It looks properly after-market, fixed to the roof using the holes for the grab handles.
The load cover is poor quality.
The boot catch sticks up — so it snags your boxes as you slide them in.
That’s no good for florists, couriers, bakers and sandwich makers who want a flat loading space.
Plus there’s no protection to stop the top of the bumper from getting scuffed.
The rear side windows have been blacked out with opaque film.
Now I have two problems with this.
Firstly, you can’t see out of them, so it restricts your view when setting off.
All Renault had to do was Google “Contra Vision” for a bit of perforated one-way vision film.
With that stuff you can see out but you can’t see in. They use it for advertising on buses.
It’s all about the detail.
Secondly, if you keep tools in the back, you don’t want glass windows anyway.
You want steel, like on a Ford Fiesta van.
Positives? Rubber flooring, Thatcham alarm as standard, minuscule running costs.
Like the car, Zoe van is powered by a 52kWh battery which is good for up to 239 miles on a sunny day.
That drops to around 150 miles in winter.
Charging takes nine hours from a home wallbox or 30 minutes for 90 miles from a 50kW public rapid charger.
But for those who spend most of their time shuttling around their local neighbourhood they’ll only need to juice up once a week.
Also like the car, Zoe van is nippy and as easy as a dodgem.
It accelerates from 0-31mph in just 3.9 seconds.
And also like the car, the cabin is smart.
Thoroughly modern and full of tech.
This Business+ version had the bigger upended iPad, wireless phone charging and recycled seat fabrics.
So why would you bother with a van, apart from the VAT saving? You wouldn’t.
You’d buy the car and flip the rear seats down.
Zoe van starts at £25,180 including VAT and £6,120 plug-in grant.
Zoe car starts at £26,495 including £3,000 plug-in grant.
Key facts:RENAULT ZOE VAN BUSINESS+
Power: 107hp, 225Nm
0-62mph: 11.4 secs
Top speed: 84mph
Range: 239 miles
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