It’s official. I am in love.
Today, Friday the 29th, I picked up the new Renault ZOE50 for a long test weekend. The start was awful. I am trained, the hard way, not to start driving with the parking brake engaged. Firstly because it’ll stop working, and secondly because it’s an expensive repair. How to disengage the parking brake of the ZOE mystified me. It has an automatic parking brake. The car itself engages it when parked and disengages it when you start driving. Simple, effective, and only discovered while at home and reading the manual.
There are more little things to learn. I drive a stick shift, so driving without a transmission is something I had to get used to. I also checked with the kids, since they drive a Saab93 with an automatic transmission. They had to get used to the ZOE, too. Their top-of-the-line SAAB is a different beast, more sporty, Tesla-like according to my daughter. The ZOE impressed them nevertheless with its effortless, supple quality.
There were more small, nice surprises. When going around a corner at night, a small extra light comes on, illuminating the curb. Simple, effective, and enhances safety.
This is not the review — that is coming next week. This is just my first impression of an awesome car. Sorry, it is not for sale in the USA. It is too small, for the USA, even though it is more than large enough for me.
The ZOE used to be a small car with a far too expensive battery. To keep the cost from going through the roof, it was not a luxury car. The interior was often compared to the interiors of much cheaper cars, and it often not win those comparisons. With the price staying about the same, the battery has grown from 20kWh to 52kWh and the interior has been upgraded from simple and cheap to the style and quality one may expect from a car in this price class.
That I am not the only one who has fallen in love with this car is shown by it reaching 200,000 total units produced this week. This was celebrated in the factory in Flins, France, with a new owner receiving ZOE #200,000 and the normal entourage of important people surrounding the happy occasion, one of whom just had to tell me about the festivities.
One other thing about me and my new love for the ZOE50. A few weeks ago, I ordered one unseen, even before it was available in the showrooms, just based on the specs. It’s time for a new car, waiting longer wasn’t smart. It was a bit like an arranged marriage from earlier times. I had to marry, and I could be lucky with a great partner, or I could discover that we did not have anything in common.
I am a very lucky one.