My Personal Zoe Review

I have finally taken the plunge after several years ‘lurking’ and have ordered a new Zoe. I will post updates of my experiences with the car, whether good or bad, at intervals as and when I can.

So why have I decided to buy an EV?

Quite simple really…I am a great believer in cheap energy, reuse of materials, composting and recycling. To that end we were an early adopter of polyvoltaic solar cells on our roof pumping energy into the house and the national grid, we also have a heat-pump for all our heating and hot water needs, and we produce about 80% of our annual vegetable and fruit requirements in the back garden. We produce our own compost and mulch needed in the garden and greenhouse each year. While landscaping our front and back gardens, we have reused several tonnes of materials (concrete blocks, granite etc) taken out of the house whilst that was being renovated. The old conservatory that was on the back of the house and which leaked badly when we bought the place, has been reused, redesigned and rebuit as the 3 x 2 metre greenhouse which keeps us in tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for several months of the year, not to mention all the seedlings for other crops and flowers during the year.

OK so the concept of an EV fits nicely into our lifestyle and we think we can plan our journeys to suit, but why a Zoe?

We have been actively considering an electric car for several years and have test driven a couple and looked at others, but for the usual reasons such as low range, initial cost of purchase or lack of features, we have not taken the plunge until now. However, the Zoe has been our preferred option since it came to the market (size, decent range, design, features etc) but the rented batteries in the first couple of years was a negative factor as far as we were concerned.

So what changed?

Quite simply, Renault now sells the car and batteries as an option. Couple that with the fact that during the last week or so, a special limited deal has been available with a significant grant from Renault UK on top of the Government’s PiCG which has brought the price down to the same level as ic cars of a similar size (£12,761.92 offer price). Just 81 units were available in the UK and I managed to get what I have been told is the last available one yesterday. In order to get the Renault UK grant, the car must be registered by the end of September (to get the sales figures up), so things are going to move relatively fast.

That is the situation to date. I will add further updates as and when there is something interesting to feed back on.


Many thanks for agreeing to share your experience with us - I for one cannot wait to hear how you get on.



I am also looking forward to reading your posts in the future

Count me in

I had contact from Chargemaster today by email regarding the installation of the charge point. There is a 5 page “Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme Installation Form” to fill in and that has been done, scanned and sent back to Chargemaster this evening. Photos of the main fusebox in the house and fusebox in the garage/workshop, the electricity meter and a photo of my preferred area for the location the charge point have been forwarded as requested.

Apparently if all the submitted documents are in order, I should very soon receive a call to discuss the installation in more detail and an offer for the installation date.

Chargemaster sound very efficient? They have big plans for the future and a stockmarket floatation was recently pulled just because of adverse market conditions.

Hi Ejaydee

How are things - still going to plan?


Am still awaiting further developments. I was hoping Chargemaster would contact me to arrange installation this week, but it has all been rather quiet. The dealer has told me the car has arrived in Cornwall and early next week we should get to choose our preferred registration from those available. as soon as I have further information I will post.

Thanks for the update Ejaydee

If you tell your dealer you are reviewing the car on this site you might get a discount or some freebies - feel free to give it a try if you want :slight_smile:

I look forward to your next update.



Update #1

We have chosen the registration today for the new Zoe and I will be collecting it from the dealer on 30th September. Coincidently, Chargemaster has just been on the phone (seven o’clock in the evening) and a provisional date for installing the charge point has been set as 6th October. The dealer (Dales of Cornwall) will be lending me a granny lead until the unit has been fitted.

I will post further updates as and when there is something to report.


Thanks for the update - not long now :slight_smile:

Update #2

Mission accomplished, the Zoe has landed!!

I collected the new car this afternoon from Dales of Cornwall. On the way home I stopped off at Asda in Hayle and plugged into their charger (Pod-point) for a trial squirt of juice. Perhaps predictably I did not shove the connector in hard enough when I first tried, but redid the connection and it all worked absolutely fine :clap2:. So I went shopping for a few essentials before disconnecting (with no drama), and headed for home with a smug grin on my face.

I have to say “I love it”. The neighbours have already clambered all over the car and have been muttering the right comments. One has already blagged a short ride and is now saying she will seriously consider a Zoe when she replaces her car early next year!

Will update in a day or so.


Hi Ejaydee

That is great news - sounds like you are becoming something of a celebrity with your neighbours :slight_smile:

I look forward to reading you future updates - sounds like a great car.



Update #3

The Zoe is going absolutely great. We have so far just kept local in our journeys, as is our usual daily pattern. I have been down to Lands End to fill up on the Ecotricity rapid charger which went like a dream and was completed in 35 minutes or so. Driving around has become much more relaxed, and I have had a smug grin on my face every time I have been held up in traffic and all the drivers of the noisy ICE vehicles around me have been ‘champing at the bit’ to get a move on!

It has been quite nice to see several people recognising the car as an EV, and this morning a couple lads in their early teens, pointed at the car and waved :clap2: .

Everything in respect of the car itself is 100%, I just wish I could say the same for the peripherals.

Despite having received a firm date for the fitting of the charging point (6th Oct), a mad panic phone call from Chargemaster a couple of nights ago said they had miscalculated and needed to put back the appointment to another date. Luckily it is the day after (Wednesday 7th Oct), so not too bad, but it has meant my other-half will now have to have a day off work, because I will be away in Falmouth for most of the day.

The other issue has been with the Renault website and network systems. On the day I collected the car, the national network fell-over just when dozens of dealers around the country were trying to register cars for the end of the month figures. That meant that my salesman was pulling out his hair trying to sort all the paperwork. However, these things happen from time to time, so I was content for things to catch up with me at a later date.

But…the website/system has refused to play ball since. On Thursday I went onto “My Renault” page to update my car ownership. It allowed me to delete the details of the Megane which I had part ex’ed for the Zoe, but it refused to recognise the VIN or registration of the Zoe.

This had had a knock-on effect that my R-Link has not updated properly, and up until this morning, the nearest charging point it could find onscreen was in France! At the moment it is reporting charging points in Devon (still foreign parts for us in Cornwall), so things are slowly sorting themselves out.

Similarly, when I tried to create an account on the My ZE Online page, it said the VIN and/or Registration could not be found. My sales chap has done his hardest to get things sorted and he managed to get some documents from RUK with an access code etc but still the site does not play ball by refusing to recognise the VIN and the access code.

So today I decided to try again to update the My Renault details for my car, but the site said my password was incorrect. I know it wasn’t, but I decided to play along and click the ‘forgotten password’ link. Very quickly I had an email with a link to renew the password. I changed the password and the site confirmed it had been changed, very quickly followed by an email confirming that change.

Guess what…yup, when I tried to get on the website again a couple of minutes later, it said I my password was incorrect despite it being the one that the very same website had accepted two minutes previously :mad::mad::mad:

Through all this the dealer, Dales of Cornwall, has been extremely helpful and apologetic (although it is not their fault [I]per se[/I]), so hats off and my thanks to them.

We are only four days into the ownership of the car, so very early days, but already the benefits of an EV are clear to see. I am hoping the issues with the website can be cleared up very soon and prove to be no more than an inconvenient glitch, rather than an indication of flaky software integration that could have longer term implications.

Sounds great!

How is the actual driving experience compared to a petrol vehicle? Smoother? More or less acceleration?

Hi Greendriver

This is my second attempt to reply to you, but the previous one on my iPad was not accepted by the system for some reason, as it kept insisting I was logged in as a guest, despite being properly logged in. :mad:

I will attempt to rewrite what I did before.

After getting over the initial strangeness of being in a different car, driving the Zoe is surprisingly “normal”. In some ways, that is the best compliment I can give the car.

As the gearbox is like an automatic (1 gear forward and one in reverse), the drive is very smooth and constant. When in ‘Drive’, from letting off the handbrake and taking your foot off the brake pedal, the car starts to creep forward on level ground and the accelerator then will smoothly and quietly take you to any speed you wish up to the max (circa 84mph). Reversing is same if you are daft enough to keep your foot on the pedal :eek:, although there may be some sort of limiter fitted to restrict the speed backwards. I do not intend to test that idea though.

On the quietness stakes, the car is super and uncannily quiet up to 40-45mph, where tyre and wind noise start to become evident, although it never gets to the level of a average ICE vehicle at the same speed. I previously owned a new Megane GT Line which I thought was extremely quiet compared to my previous Corsa, but the Zoe beats it hands down, and even at 70mph, the radio can still be clearly heard at low volume.

SWMBO drove 20 + miles last night and after the initial half mile or so of strangeness she settled down and throughly enjoyed the drive with grins all round. We also stopped at a charger so she could have a go at getting it connected up, which as I expected, she did with absolutely no problems, other than a bit of a struggle with the thick cable (it was a rapid charger).

Because the batteries are in the floor pan of the car, the centre of gravity is very low down, so the car feels well planted and sticks to the road nicely around the twisty Cornish roads. If you push it into a corner rather fast, there is a degree of oversteer which is easily controlled once you are aware of it. Although the Michelin tyres have a special low rolling resistance layup, they seem to stick to the road well, although I have not driven the car in the rain yet (Indian summer in Cornwall at the moment…lovely). Only time will tell how the tyres perform in differing road conditions and how long they last before replacement is needed (I understand they are quite expensive to replace).

The acceleration of the car is rapid, and it will beat most model of car from the lights to 35 -40mph, but then the acceleration slows down as it gets towards motorway speeds, particularly when you are in eco drive. In town, it is a fantastic car to have as it keeps up with (or beats) everyone else around you, but doing it in smooth and quiet (dignified???) manner. However, in the countryside it is also a joy to drive as it is nippy and holds the road well. We have not done much main road driving yet (we have no motorways in Cornwall :clap2:), but I am guessing it will be like driving any other supermini hatchback, but just having to consider extra ‘coffee and pee stops’ to get a rapid charge or two every hour or so.

To anyone considering buying an EV for the first time, I recommend they fully review and consider the sorts of journeys they undertake and the type of driving style they have (and be completely honest with themselves).

If they regularly do long journeys, particularly in regions where chargers are sparse or non-existent, or they like to drive at high speeds for long periods, or they do not have access to off street parking for a charging point, perhaps an EV is not a sensible option for them (unless they have the wherewithal to buy a Tesla).

If however, the majority of their journeys are relatively short, and they drive at average speeds, and they have off street parking for a charging point to be installed (or a public charger close by), an EV is very much an option to be considered. Of course, an alternative ‘half way house’ option would be a plug in hybrid vehicle.

SWMBO has just made the comment that she is very happy with the car, so that means all is well with the world :slight_smile:

Thanks for the review Ejaydee

Glad to see another Zoe in the South West. Cornwall seems to have got quite a few rapids recently so looking forward to travelling down from Devon when ours arrives. Hopefully Devon will catch up soon :slight_smile:


Update #4

Big day today, Chargemaster installed our charging point…hurray. At least it means I no longer have to drive to Lands End to get the car charged up on the big Ecotricity pump which is where I have refilled three times in the last week. Although I enjoy the road out to Lands End, I will not miss going out there to charge the car! She is charging at the moment, and as we have a bit of sun today, the PVs on the roof are charging it for nothing, bonus.

I drove to Falmouth and back this morning for a photography course I am taking. When I left home the predicted range on the dial was 71 miles (having charged up last night in the gale of wind and heavy rain at Lands End). As this was first time I have driven the car further than the immediate local area, I was wondering how accurate the range prediction would be, although I knew I could there and back easily. The distance to Falmouth is 26.5 miles each way, so a round trip of about 53 miles. I drove carefully but at the speed limit and the same speed as the traffic around me, so did not try to specially extend the range. I was slightly surprised but very happy when I returned home because the range prediction remaining for the battery was 39 miles, rather than the 18 to 20 miles I was expecting. I assume Renault has set the car’s range prediction to err on the side of caution, and as I get to drive it more, hopefully I will be able to predict the range relatively accurately.

The car really is a pleasure to drive, and last night in the bad weather coming home from Lands End I was able to see how it performed in torrential rain and high winds. It handled absolutely fine and was no different in handling to a conventionally powered car.


Update #5

We have now had the car for nearly three weeks. So far we have not been on a long trip, but we have continued to use the car for all the usual trips and journeys on a daily basis, totting up over 600 miles.

Since Chargemaster installed our home charge-point, we have charged the battery as and when necessary from the PVs on the roof. Everything has worked faultlessly. On Saturday evening we charged at a different location because we went to Trerice, a National Trust manor house near Newquay for a stargazing evening. When we arrived there was a charging post in the car park. So never being one for passing up on a ‘freebie’, I plugged in to top up the battery. A great night (if a bit cloudy) and full ‘tank’ for the journey home…result.

There has been one small idiosyncrasy with the car, on random occasions the R-Link flashes up a box saying “ZR Services are not available in this country”. My dealer is rather bemused because all my services and software are up to date, so has asked me to snap a photo on my phone next time it does it, so he can forward to RUK for them to sort out.

Several neighbours are really interested in the car, and I am wondering if any of them will go electric next time they buy a car. Like us, some of them have PVs on their roof and have been making the right sort of noises. Certainly a couple of them have been looking at the journeys they usually do and have said they are really interested. Could it be that we end up with a little ‘lecky car enclave’ in west Cornwall in the next year or two?

In a couple of weeks time we will be doing our first longish trip as we will be going to the Bridgwater carnival, a round trip of about 310 miles. I will report back how we get on.


This is all really great info for the rest of us to read. I think you will find an EV enclave around you very soon as research shows this is how it works and then the groups expand and become wider based. I think it is great that after seeing an EV in use your neighbours are very interested and this post continues to attract more and more visitors.

Thanks for keeping us up to date - looking forward to your future posts :slight_smile: