The French-designed Renault ZOE electric car is now available for purchase in one of the strongest electric vehicle markets in the world, Norway.
The rather inconspicuous-looking little vehicle was given something of a grand welcome on March 25th at the Olympic stadium in Oslo. The event was even attended by the French ambassador and Norway’s environment minister.
At the launch, 15 of the ZOEs were available for test-drives on the athletics tracks, and a number of workshops were put together in order to showcase the features of Renault’s new (to Norway) electric car. In particular, a how-to on the “Chameleon” charging system was included. Reportedly, people were waiting in long queues for the opportunity to give the ZOE a go, and more than 100 test drives were given out during the day.
Explaining why the company is only just now entering the Norwegian market, the press release from Renault states:
Why is Renault only launching ZOE in Norway now? For a couple of reasons. Norway was a special case. We needed time to be ready.
Firstly, there was a debate about whether people should lease or buy the battery. Everywhere else in Europe, Renault offers a battery leasing package which works well. But things are different in Norway, and people are used to buying the battery along with the car, also in order to benefit from the fiscal incentive. So, in January, Renault Norway confirmed that (the) ZOE would be available with (the) battery to buy, rather than the leasing solution.
The other obstacle was the electric charging system. Norway’s power network is different to other countries in Europe, so we had to create a package for home use. It includes a wallbox and transformer – the magic kit that lets people charge up at home in just 2 hours!
Now that the ZOE is entering the market, things are beginning to move relatively fast — for example, Renault-Nissan is currently in the process of boosting the publicly available charging infrastructure through the installation of more than 50 fast-charge poles at select Kiwi grocery-store locations.
The company is also planning something called the “TRY ME” ZOE Experience Tour — wherein eight ZOE’s will be toured throughout Norway for a period of eight weeks. The goal is to give out more than a 1,000 test drives during that time period.
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