Retired accountant Eddie Dewson knows how to crunch numbers and make them add up, which is why he was first attracted to the Renault ZOE. A £5000 Plug-IN Car Grant from the government means the ZOE is more affordable than many of its petrol- and diesel-powered rivals, so the cost of the ZOE was already appealing to Eddie.
When Eddie then looked at the standard specification of the ZOE Dynamique Intens, it didn’t take a calculator to work out how much better kitted out the Renault is next to its rivals for the same price. He notes: ‘The ZOE has a very high spec, which includes a reversing camera and air conditioning that is excellent thanks to the powerful fan – something you need for driving in and around London.’
However, 71-year old Eddie isn’t so easily swayed by the equipment list and wasn’t a senior accountant for a global company without looking at all of the facts and figures before making his decision.
‘I was really intrigued by the possibility of charging the ZOE at home,’ says Eddie. ‘We’re lucky to have a driveway and off-street parking at home in Reigate, so having the Wallbox fitted for free made complete sense. When you look at the cost of charging the ZOE overnight with off-peak electricity, it really starts to make a big difference to running costs.’
This is a big consideration for Eddie and his wife Marie. As very active and involved grandparents, they spend a lot of time driving into London to see their kids and many of their 10 grandchildren. Initial worries about the range of an electric car were soon dismissed by Eddie as he started to drive the ZOE and he found the range on a full charge was more than enough to drive into and around London and then back home on a single charge.
A shot of the Renault ZOE charging in front of houseA shot of the Renault ZOE charging in front of house
Eddie says: ‘Charging the ZOE couldn’t be simpler at home. Just plug in the socket and the car does the rest. In the morning, it’s ready to go and it’s great being able to step into a car that’s already at the right temperature to cope with the weather, hot or cold, thanks to the pre-conditioning offered with the ZOE.
‘I also found the range wasn’t affected much by using the air conditioning, so trips into London are easy. If I do need to top up the charge, there are loads of charging points all over London and the Renault’s R-Link made it easy to find them.’
As a keen driver, Eddie enjoyed the ZOE’s zesty performance and comments: ‘There’s surprisingly strong acceleration off the mark and the Renault is happy to cruise on the motorway too. You certainly don’t notice any lack of an engine other than how quiet the ZOE is compared to other cars. Even using the performance, though, the battery doesn’t run down and with the regenerative braking that gets a lot of use in London traffic it’s easy to maintain the range of the car. It’s also fun to drive the ZOE in any kind of conditions and on any road, so it just works as a great car regardless of what sort of power it uses.’
With the performance to Eddie’s liking, how does it fair with his grandchildren? ‘They loved it,’ smiles Eddie. ‘Not just because it’s different but because it looks good and there’s plenty of space in the back seats and boot. It’s easy to fit three kids in the back seat safely, which is perfect for taking the grandchildren out.’
Eddie also notes the ZOE’s doors open far wider than most superminis’ and says: ‘The doors are a generous size and give a large opening. This is important for me as I have restricted movement in one knee, so it’s great to be able to get in and out of the ZOE so easily.’
Along with the practical side of the ZOE, Eddie returns his accountant’s mind to the financial element: ‘When you factor in the ZOE can travel into the Congestion Zone for free, it makes a big difference to the running costs.’
Compare the ZOE to a Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI BlueMotion five-door, which is a car any accountant would consider a solid financial bet, the ZOE soon emerges as the winner. Using the HonestJohn Fuel Calculator for Eddie’s 10,000-mile per year driving, we can see the more expensive Polo would cost more than £2000 per year more than the ZOE with the cost of paying the Congestion Charge included. Even without this cost, it would take the Polo 18 months just recoup its higher list price next to the ZOE’s.
Those are just the sort of figures to make any accountant smile, but what really impressed Eddie the most was the overall ability of the ZOE. When it comes to the crunch, the Renault ZOE adds up.