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100% Electric Renault Zoe

Campbell - Family

Working in the global communications industry means Campbell MacFarlane is more used to high tech than most, but he says it doesn’t stop most people asking the same first question about the Renault ZOE. Campbell laughs: ‘Everyone wants to know about the range and how far the ZOE will travel on a single charge.’

Campbell admits it was one of his first thoughts when he decided to drive a zero tailpipe emissions Renault ZOE. However, he and his wife Kirsteen soon forgot about any such concerns and very quickly treated the ZOE as the superb small car it is.

‘In everyday driving, the ZOE is ideal for the type of journeys we make,’ comments Campbell. ‘From dropping the kids off at nursery, nipping to the shops or heading into London or Brighton, it just wasn’t an issue with the range. We also found we quickly stopped worrying about charging the car at every stop and would often go a couple of days before plugging it in to the Wall-box at home or a charging point in a parking bay. You get over any initial scepticism very quickly and just relax.’

Campbell - Kids in back

This ease of use underlines how rapidly and simply the ZOE has slotted into family life with the MacFarlanes. They have two young daughters, who instantly loved the ZOE’s stylish looks and modern interior design, and fitting in buggies and bags was no problem thanks to the deep boot and generous rear seat space.

With young children, safety is always a major consideration and the ZOE delivers thanks to its five-star Euro NCAP rating. That includes a superb 80% rating for child occupant protection, which is helped by the Isofix child seat mounts in the rear that are standard on all Renault models. Getting the kids in and out of their seats is simple thanks to the ZOE’s rear doors that open wide for great access when fitting child seats and buckling belts.

Campbell - Driving Interior

Campbell also notes the ZOE makes life easy for the driver: ‘The driving position is excellent and gives a good all-round view, which is important whether you’re driving on the country roads around our house or in town when you need your wits about you at all times.

‘I also find the controls really well placed and the steering wheel-mounted buttons for the stereo mean you only have to move a finger to work it. I think it’s just very well thought out and makes the ZOE a very pleasing experience every time you drive it.’

Clever technology that is easy to use is music to Campbell’s ears as a Vice President of British Telecom. His work means he travels all over the south east of England and into the capital on a regular basis. The ZOE’s zero emissions means it avoid paying the London Congestion Charge, which is a significant saving for Campbell. There are also more than 1500 charging points in and around central London available to the ZOE that are easily located using the ZOE’s R-Link system that shows where the nearest charging point is using the satellite navigation.

Campbell - Dashboard

If Campbell were to choose a Ford Fiesta 5dr Titanium 1.0T Ecoboost 100 with Powershift automatic gearbox to match the specification and equipment of the Renault ZOE, it would cost £1752 more for the Fiesta. This includes the £5000 Plug-In Car Grant from the government the ZOE qualifies for, so the Renault makes financial sense from the off.

Over the course of 10,000 miles per year, it would take the Fiesta owner 55,500 miles or five-and-a-half years to recoup the added cost of the Ford compared to the Renault ZOE. Factor in not paying the London Congestion Charge and free road tax and the ZOE is the only car that adds up for Campbell.

This is especially so when you also consider the ZOE can park for nothing in many bays around towns and cities across the UK while topping up with electricity. This includes dedicated electric vehicle parking spaces close to the BT Tower, which are ideal for when Campbell heads into the capital.

The financial benefits of the ZOE improve further when you look at the long list of standard equipment that comes with the Dynamique Intens model used by Campbell. It includes air conditioning, satellite navigation, Renault’s R-Link, Bluetooth connection, rear parking camera, ESP, four airbags, and automatic windscreen wipers and headlights.

Campbell - Rear Parking Camera

Aside from thoughts of money, there’s another reason Campbell comes down in favour of the ZOE. ‘I love the peace and quiet when driving the Renault,’ smiles Campbell. ‘It’s such a relaxing car to drive with no rumble from an engine or any wind and road noise. It also gets a lot of admiring glances, which is no mean feat in London where there are so many expensive and exotic cars.’

It’s not just admiring looks and the hush that impress Campbell, though, as the ZOE has strong performance thanks to near instant pulling power from its electric motor. Campbell adds: ‘The ZOE is very nippy and ideal for zipping around the country lanes and city streets. You definitely are not compromising performance by choosing an electric vehicle and the ZOE is huge fun to drive thanks to its good cornering and comfortable ride.’

Campbell - Kirsteen Interior

All of this makes Campbell think there’s a more important first question people should ask: ‘Instead of asking about the range, anyone who drives in and around London should be asking themselves why they are not driving a ZOE. It’s the perfect car for this type of driving.’


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