• Oct 21st 2010 at 8:01PM
  • 30
Renault Zoe concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Renault debuted its battery-powered Zoe at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and will launch this electric hatch in 2012. The four-door design offers practical, zero-emissions transport at a bargain price. Last we heard, rumors suggested that Renault would drop an official price tag on the Zoe that places it in direct competition with similarly sized and equipped conventional vehicles running down the roads today.

So, what price tag would pit the Zoe head-to-head against its diesel- and gasoline-fueled counterparts? Reports coming in from various news outlets in Europe hint at a sub-15,000 euro ($20,790 U.S. at the current exchange rate). As expected, Renault won't confirm pricing at this point, but did suggest that the Zoe's base price will be "close" to competing models. Unfortunately, a similarly sized, electric four-door hatchback competitor doesn't exactly exist, so we assume that Renault is hinting that its electric hatch will be priced within arm's reach of the Clio, a vehicle which the Zoe is loosely based on. Though the low price is certainly compelling, let's not forget that Renault has chosen to lease the battery pack separate from the vehicle.

  • Renault Zoe preview concept

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      $11,000?!! (*batteries not included)

      Anyone knows how incentives in California
      will drop the price of this little cutie ?
      LEAF will go from $32,780 to $20,280 after
      U.S. federal tax rebate of US$7,500, and
      US$5,000 California tax rebate.

      How about this one?
        • 8 Months Ago
        Renault don't sell cars in the US.
        You will have to hope for a Nissan version.
      • 4 Years Ago
      europe has a lot of different taxations on cars. it might not be comparable to us prices. if it were a us price it would be futher evidence of price gouging certainly. it's hard to argue that it's because of the battery. an electric motor and power electronics will at worst cost as much as the ICE parts (which typically included two electric motors and a battery on top of all the ICE junk) and in reality it should be quite a bit cheaper. especially if running single speed.
      imagine a nissan leaf for 9k$ plus a battery lease. that might be interesting to many..
      and that's what it should cost or less
      • 4 Years Ago
      Europe is a different market. BetterPlace's mantra has been that the lease will not cost more than cost of gasoline it replaces. In Europe many pay about $8/gal. So what's the incentive? To drive pollution free! But also many European countries have punitive taxes on gas cars, up to 100% and no tax on electric cars. So this will be a big deal in terms of initial price, This is why battery leases will work in Europe but not in N.A. Cars like the Ampera will cost more, but the owner will save a fortune on operating costs because electricity is so much cheaper than gas.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yeah, $100/mo lease means seriously cheap motoring in comparison to buying petrol here in Europe.
        In the US it buys you about 33 gallons of gasoline, which might carry you 900 miles or so.
        The early stages of introducing electric vehicles is much easier in countries where gasoline is heavily taxed.
        • 8 Months Ago
        BTW, BetterPlace is only being used in a few markets where they are building battery-swap infrastructure (like Israel) . Renault is planning to lease the batteries themselves most places.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One more step in the right direction...
      Ivan Malagurski
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a GREAT looking little car.....the Fiesta looks like a turd compared to this car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I showed it to my wife, who thinks it's cute, except for the face, which looks "evil".
      • 4 Years Ago
      A pure EV w/o the battery probably still costs a wee bit more than a gas car but it SHOULD cost less. The problem is that the manufacturing scale just isn't there yet.

      If we cranked out millions of chargers, controllers, and electric motors the same way we crank out gas engines, transmissions, and exhaust systems then EVs (w/o the battery) would be cheaper.
        • 8 Months Ago
        In the event of a rare earth shortage conventional cars are not vastly better placed than electric, as they are not only in the electric engine.
        They go into lots of the components, including the glass in the windscreen and headlights.
        And all that is nothing compared to the impact on things like the computer industry.

        Just to be clear, there is no shortage of rare earths. The reason production became concentrated in China is partly due to lax environmental controls, as processing the materials can be messy, or expensive if you do it more cleanly, but also because no-one mines for a rare earth in isolation.
        They are found in association with other minerals, and so are largely a by-product of other mining activity taken out in China anyway, which made their costs unbeatable.

        Some of the process of re-sourcing is relatively straightforward, as mines which were active can be brought into production.
        New mines such as those in Greenland where all the infrastructure needs to be built take longer, perhaps 10 years, to develop, so for many years a lot of redesign work etc will have to be undertaken, at vastly more cost than maintaining a reasonable level of security in their supply would have cost due to the utter refusal of our leaders to think strategically.
        • 8 Months Ago
        The chinese hoarding of their rare earths has more to do with controlling the steel market and consumer electronics. It's relevant to cars -all kinds of cars- though because modern cars use a lot of high-strength steel alloys to meet crash standards and keep the weight down.

        But yeah, don't be fooled by the moniker "rare earth", these elements aren't actually that rare, AFAIK they're more abundant than even gold or platinum.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Rest assured Japan is pursuing manufacturing EV motors that do not require materials from China.
        This rare metal farce is promoted by the oil corps, auto corps and now the bio fuel industry to keep there revenue streams for ICE intact. Funny, you have billions of refrigerators, fans, ac units, furnaces, imagine how many electric motors are in a modern Cadilac and a bazillion other things that a electric motor powers since the dawn of electricity but when they think about putting them into cars there are huge shortages to worry about. What a joke!
        We haven't looked to our own country for these metals simply because, like every thing else China can get it cheaper out of their country than we can ours. Sounds like that is going to change. In order for China to be the EV leader it wants to be, it must stop selling materials cheap to other countries and instead hold on to them to use for their own purposes.

        Why don't we through Afghanistan a bone and dig up their country, providing jobs and stimulate the economy by extracting rare earth and pay them for it. Yes we could stimulate our economy and do the same thing but we are not happy unless we are sending considerable money over seas. Why don't we have the Afghan's build the cars while were at it instead of Mexico and Canada doing all the manufacturing of cars.
        • 8 Months Ago
        evsuperhero... two things:

        1. those motors in alternators, starters, refridgerators, ETC. tend to be heavy, brushed motors made with crappy ( not neodymium ) magnets. There is a reason why they are cheap!!

        2. That's a good idea about putting the middle east to work. If they had jobs, they wouldn't have as much time on their hands to join militant groups and such. No use fighting over things when you have plenty..
        • 4 Years Ago
        I hope that's the case!

        The ICE has a big advantage because it's basically a fine machined lump of aluminum, steel, and rubber. Same for transmissions. Meanwhile, electric motors are sometimes still handmade to some extent.

        Seems like there's a lot of improvements to be made.. i do wonder if the price of raw copper and neodymium are the real killers though.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Maybe we should move to induction motors to virtually eliminate (or greatly reduce) rare earth demand, even though PM motors are easier to control and have slightly higher peak efficiency (though average efficiency is probably a wash).

        As for copper, a normal car has a decent amount too, about 50lbs, most electrical but a decent amount none electrical. Copper usage is going to be virtually unavoidable with anything electrical though.
        • 8 Months Ago
        BTW, China stopped all exports to Japan, America.. and some other places!!

        Apparently we have a lot of the stuff sitting in our country! we just haven't taken the effort to mine it. Or it was too expensive compared to China's goods.

        We're gonna have to figure something out, lest China be Green Technology's Saudi Arabia O_O
        • 8 Months Ago
        Those gas engines have a gajillion little moving parts that must all be manufactured finely and assembled. Same for transmissions.

        I see no reason why electric motors can't be wound by machine. Controllers and chargers are largely circuit boards with some power components. They should come down in cost like TVs, computers, and cellphones.

        But your point about copper & neodymium are valid. We really need to restart the rare earth biz in the USA. We do have some. It may not be in the concentrations elsewhere . . . but with China reducing exports . . . well that is trouble.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The outside is pretty and plausible, but the inside ... ah, yeah -- not so much.

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 8 Months Ago
        It is not over the top, but it is too foo-foo to be real/production, in my opinion. The outside looks to be ready to produce (with the exception of the tires and the glass roof?). As an EV, then got a lot right, except for maybe the wheels, which should be smoother with smaller openings; and I doubt they will have opposite castings on each side, as this is expensive.

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 8 Months Ago
        What don't you like about the interior, Neil? It looks pretty good to me.
        I particularly like that they have kept the glass roof, which would make the interior light and pleasant.
        It also appears to be solar still, from the concept, so that ancillaries will be partly powered by it.
        • 8 Months Ago
        There's nothing earth-shattering about the interior...
        • 8 Months Ago
        Foo-foo? What the heck's that? :-)
        Futuristic? What?
        It doesn't look too different to the Leaf to me, although they have raised the gearlever and electronic parking brake on a binnacle.
        Renault put glass roofs in a few of their cars, including the Clio, which is about the same size as this.
        They may only have it as an option on the top of the line model though, which is more normal practice at the moment, just like solar panels which are options on the Audi etc.
        Hopefully they have got the price down to where they can both be offered on this relatively cheap car.
        I'd be a bit worried about the extra weight on an electric car of a glass roof, but perhaps they have made progress in getting plastic materials like EVF up to car specs, which would greatly reduce the weight.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Shocker... the electric drive components are half the cost in a low range EV..

      Drill baby drill.. for those cheap rare earths... ;P
        • 4 Years Ago
        All Renault highway-capable EV's use the same drivetrain, from Zoe, to Kangoo, to Fluence, to Dezir. They are just programmed differently and have different battery capacity to fit the car. The Zoe is smaller and lighter (with a smaller battery) and has a claimed 100 mile range.
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