Despite its relative similarity in size to renault’s existing Clio range, the battery-powered five-door Zoe hatch will be priced from $44,470 while the Kangoo Z.E. Maxi commercial van will be a $45,990 proposition.
Buyers with green aspirations won’t have open access to the new range additions however, with the EV pair not appearing in showrooms. Instead Renault will sell the Zoe and Kangoo Z.E. directly to businesses and government departments only.
The fleet-focused strategy give Renault an opportunity to introduce electric vehicles, which the company has long-stated a desire to introduce, without providing them to purchasers who might be affected by Australia’s lack of charging infrastructure.
“Compared with Europe our take-up in Australia has been very slow but we remain keen to pursue this technology because we fundamentally believe it is an important component in the future of mobility,” said Renault spokesperson Melissa Cross.
“Our position is Australia is an EV ready market, however without incentives like other markets be they financial or other value-added user benefits Australia will continue to lag behind on the adoption of electric vehicles,” she said.
“This is a major determining factor in the consideration and evaluation of the market and it immediately constrains the potential of the technology. This is why Renault has forged this specific business strategy of focusing its attention on the business-to-business and business-to-government markets.”
Since going on sale in 2012 in Europe, the Zoe has become that regions top-selling EV with more over 75,000 sales during that time.
Last year the Zoe was given its first major upgrade including the installation of a new battery pack that effectively doubled its driving range between recharges to 400km on the official NEDC European test-cycle or around 300km in real world conditions.
As part of the offering in Australia customers will be required to buy a charging station with the vehicle for their home or business with pricing yet to be confirmed. A Zoe in need of a full recharge takes around 7.5 hours of charging on a single phase, seven kilowatt power outlet or a bit more than 5.5 hours on three-phase 22kW power.
The Zoe is powered by an electric motor that produces 68kW of power and 225Nm of torque, enough for it to accelerate to 50km/h in 4.1 seconds, or 100km/h in 13.2 seconds.
The Kangoo Z.E. has already been put to the test under a trial program with Australia Post, but the version arriving for sale in Australia has since been updated with a bigger-capacity battery to extend the small van’s real-world driving range to around 200km.
Two specifications of Zoe will be available, starting with the Zoe Life from $44,470 or the more upscale Zoe Intens for $45,970. Standard equipment for both includes cruise control, climate control air conditioning and a tablet-style seven-inch infotainment system including satellite navigation.
Moving up to the Intens adds extra like keyless ignition and entry, auto wipers and headlights and rear parking sensors and camera.
Unlike Europe’s sales model which sees Renault sell only the vehicle itself to customers, while offering the batteries as part of a lease program, the Zoe in Australia will include both the car and batteries in the purchase price. The Zoe carries a three-year warranty for the vehicle and five years for the battery pack.
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