Zoe’s launch price shock

Renault NZ has announced intention to sell the Zoe electric car at an even higher price than its now-departed donor was ever able to sustain.


THE first French electric car to hit the New Zealand market will cost almost twice as much as the Nissan it derives from.

In today’s announcement of pricing for the Zoe, a wholly battery-driven five-seater compact hatchback, Renault New Zealand took the unusual approach of announcing a sticker that did not include the Goods and Services Tax that all private car buyers have to take account of.

The pre-GST price for the Zoe was given at $65,208.70. At least one outlet has mis-reported this as the full retail: It's not.

Adding in the 15 percent tax loading, this rises to a showroom sticker of $74,990, making Zoe the second-most expensive electric offer on the new car market, after the $83,500 BMW i3.

That also leaves Zoe costing substantially more than the now locally defunct Nissan Leaf, with which it shares a platform and drivetrain.

The Leaf – whose departure from Nissan New Zealand’s inventory was announced in March – was most recently priced at $39,990.

This was a heavily reduced sticker that Nissan New Zealand effected in 2014 after it determined that that car was unable to compete with used import examples.

When Leaf arrived in New Zealand in 2012, it was advertised as a $69,700 proposition – however the Auckland-domiciled distributor subsequently admitted to media that no cars were ever sold for full retail.

Renault New Zealand has not provided detail of its volume expectation for the Zoe.

Though the model is new to this country, in production terms it is almost as old as the Leaf, as Renault began production in 2013. The version that has come to New Zealand adopts updates meted in the past year, but is technically no different to the pre-facelift example.

Zoe is cited as being the all-time top-selling electric car in France and, in 2015, was the top-selling all-electric car in Eurpe.

With Leaf gone, Zoe fills in as the only wholly-electric car on sale new here. Though the i3 also categorises as an electric car, it in fact has a petrol engine. This acts as a generator of electricity to replenish the battery bank.

Zoe does not utilise this range-extender technology so, accordingly, has a more modest operating range.

Renault cites ability to clock 210km before requirement for a charge, although a real-world range estimate pulls that back to about 120-150km. 

The car is powered by a 65kW/220Nm electric motor and features a 22kWh lithium-ion battery hidden under the floor.

Renault has yet to provides specifics about the NZ market specification or how the Zoe will be sold; either as an indent-only order or freely available through its modest dealer network.