from the pre-series Renault Zoé to the current one, Pascal knows them all!

Visitors to the Vendée Energie Tour know Pascal Houssard who managed the organization of the event. Now retired, the former deputy general director of the departmental energy union has seen the Renault Zoé evolve.

Birth of the Zoé family.

As part of my duties at SyDEV, which I joined in 2010, I was able to try out almost all electric vehicles sold in France. And that, until 2019, when I asserted my retirement rights “, says Pascal Houssard.

This position allows me today to assess the progress made on the Renault Zoé. It could have evolved even further before giving way to the brand’s next versatile electric car. “, he explains.

In 2005, the Zoé City Car was a 3-seater city car equipped with a 4-cylinder, 1.2-litre turbo petrol unit that developed a maximum torque of 145 Nm. Four years later, the Zoé Concept presented in Germany in Frankfurt was very electric. It was registered in the ZE family, which also included the Fluence, Twizy and Kangoo with lithium-ion packs. In 2010, the Zoé Preview presented in Paris already brought the lines of the model to be commercialized soon.

April 2013, inflection point

It is with satisfaction that we recall that, in mid-December 2012, Carlos Tavares himself, then General Manager of Renault, and today a strong man of Stellantis and much less interested in the topic of electromobility, presented to the Minister of Productive Recovery, Arnaud Montebourg, the keys to a pre-production Zoé. The marketing launch of this car presented by its manufacturer as a city car was scheduled for April 2013.

SyDEV received its copy that month, in the presence of Béatrice Foucher, now at DS but at the time, director of Renault’s electric vehicle program. She attended the general meeting of SyDEV, which made it possible to create in the department the first master plan for the installation of charging stations », comments Pascal Houssard.

This program had the methodological support of SyDEV by Renault. A year later, we opened two terminals with Nissan engaged in an alliance with Losange: a tri-standard CCS, CHAdeMO and AC 43 kW in La Roche-sur-Yon and, in Challans, an AC 22 kW with 2 type 3 connectors “, he completes.

Demonstrator and service car

Our pre-production Zoé served as a demonstrator for over 2 years. We brought it together with this message: “You are faced with a free electron.” This brought attention to our charging infrastructure when it was connected “remembers the young retiree.

Pre-production Renault Zoé

At the time, my company’s vehicle was a diesel Renault Scenic, which I quickly abandoned for Zoé. I thought she had a pretty face and pretty lines. It was quiet and already dynamic: a really fun car. That’s it, I felt moments of pleasure every time I boarded. What I’ve Never Experienced With Another Car “, he testifies.

At the time, the Zoé was one of the few electric vehicles on the market. We would not, therefore, incriminate their autonomy. We were doing this. For example, I took it with ease to get to Nantes at the Regional Council, more than 60 km away. Passing along the coastal roads where the circulation was at 60-70 km/h, in the summer I managed to get up to 190-195 km in recharge. In winter, it dropped to 110 km “, it encrypts.

200 km a day

With this car, I never tried to set a record. But with intermediate refills I had to go at most a little more than 200 km in a day », reflects Pascal Houssard.

My most complicated journey with this pre-production Zoé was when my wife and I returned from my parents who live near Tours. It was in winter. There were still no public terminals in Maine-et-Loire. The weather got worse than expected. It was cold, night and it was raining “, remember.

Pascal Houssard

We absolutely had to get to the Mortagne-sur-Sèvre terminal in Vendée. We hadn’t put in a heater, but we did provide blankets. Driving at a maximum of 70 km/h, we arrive at our destination with 8% energy. This time we had to travel 145 km on one charge, in the middle of winter “, he deduces.

Pau and even more in Zoé

I never wanted to take the risk of going to Pau with pre-production Zoé. It is 500 kilometers from home. There were almost no terminals available. On the other hand, with the Zoé 40, I did this several times. Having greater autonomy makes you want to go further “, says Pascal Houssard.

At SyDEV, we’ve seen these Zoé 40s arrive after the standard 22 models. The departmental union was one of the first professional customers to order them, delivered in early 2017. This time, the flocking was limited to the bumpers with the message: “At Vendée, the electric car rolls!” “, he reports.

Renault Zoe 40 by SyDEV

With one of these examples from the union’s fleet, I traveled to Genoa, Italy, as part of the Riviera Electric Challenge and to participate in the round tables at the Ever fair in Monaco. This professional trip was complemented by a license that allowed me to see interoperability in France and Italy, up to 1,300 km from my home. “, he proposes.

Evolution of autonomy

Our interlocutor also traveled the roads of Gran Canaria in 2017 with a rented Zoé, and crossed the Pyrenees with his personal red copy. ” By recharging at the Corri-Door network terminals at 22 kW AC, I managed to reach up to 650 km in one day. It was on a Carcassonne stage towards La Roche-sur-Yon, between 8 am and 7:30 pm. “, remember.

Pascal Houssard received his Renault Zoé 2 in September 2021, in Intens finish, like the previous one. She is Blueberry Violet in color. ” I saw the average autonomy evolve with the new models launched on the market. With the pre-series model, establishing a summer-winter average in the combined cycle, it was about 125 km, just like in the first units on the market. “, it encrypts.

Dacia Primavera

The appearance of the new engine in 2015 allowed the range to be increased to 140 km. The 41 kWh battery saved one hundred kilometers, or 240 km. At best, with this model, I managed to travel up to 360 km. Finally, with the Zoé 2 and its 52 kWh pack, the average range now reaches 350 km “, he calculates

less energy

This is nothing new: sometimes I take the road with my Zoé. I quickly looked for the speed that allows not to consume too much without being dangerous for other users. It is between 95 and 100 km/h », indicates Pascal Houssard.

I think consumption has improved at all speeds, perhaps due to the adoption of a new heat pump. At 130 km/h, it went up to 30 kWh per 100 km with the previous model. The Zoé 2 is more sober: 22-25 kWh/100 km. Which is too much for such a car. It kept this disadvantage of consuming more power than a Tesla Model 3 in these conditions. “, regrets.

Renault Zoe 2 display

I also have a test course on small roads, with an average speed of 30-35 km/h. I used to get between 8 and 8.5 kWh/100 km. With Zoé 2, the numbers dropped to 6 kWh/100 km “, compares. ” It is in urban, peri-urban, road and rural uses that Renault’s electric multipurpose vehicle is properly sober. Most of the time, my consumption is between 11 and 12.5 kWh/100 km “, resume.

Improvement inside too

With its low-cost plastics that took us 25 years ago, the interior of the Zoé was actually pretty cheap in 2013. It only really got better with the Zoé 2 in 2019. And not at all points. The front seats still need to be adjusted. Because of this, the driver sometimes does not arrive at the destination very fresh after driving 400 km. “, says Pascal Houssard.

The materials are more attractive, the digital presentation has improved and the tablet is fluid. However, I have a camera issue when I backup. The image darkens and disappears completely “, he admits.” The seat is now divisible. Heating is much more efficient. Previously, the lighting in the front was a real disaster. It is much more effective at night. “, he lists.

Renault Zoe 2 dashboard

The feeling behind the wheel is also better. On the road, off the freeways, Eco mode will now suffice more often. It’s already very dynamic. He was really anemic with older models. This is the advantage of having switched to an engine power of 92 to 135 horsepower. The car is also quieter and better filters the roughness of the road. “, he adds.

Conclusion

The Renault Zoé made electric mobility visible in France. However, with perverse effects. Many people still think that battery rental is mandatory with it, but also with all other electric cars. However, this is not or is no longer the case. “remembers Pascal Houssard.

The versatile Diamond has evolved. However, it retains shortcomings, such as the lack of fast recharging as standard. However, it is becoming almost essential for traveling far and wide. Those who are not in too much of a hurry can be satisfied with its endowment and, in particular, the 22 kW AC charger, which is a real advantage over the competition. “, points out.

Renault Zoe 2

It is possible to travel more than 500 km with a Zoé 2 in a day through the charging box. Those who will never have to take long trips will be the most satisfied with this electric car. This will not prevent you from moving in the fast lanes, where it will be advisable not to press the accelerator too much. “, concludes our interlocutor.

Automobile Propre and I warmly thank Pascal Houssard for his testimony and for allowing us to test drive his new Renault Zoé. I had fun researching my first interview with him. It was in June 2014.

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