When the updated 2017 Renault Zoe was unveiled last fall at the Paris auto show, it became one of the few electric cars whose range effectively doubled over its model life.
Launched in 2012 with a 22-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, the five-door subcompact hatchback had an effective range of 60 to 90 miles.
That was essentially on par with that of the Nissan Leaf, EPA-rated at 73 miles that year.
But this year’s battery upgrade to 41 kwh changed everything.
It gave the Zoe, Renault says, a range of 300 to 400 kilometers (185 to 250 miles) on the European test cycle.
Here’s the unusual feature, though: owners of earlier Zoes can get the larger, longer-range battery—by swapping in their old battery.
As a press release from Renault last week pointed out, many Zoe owners chose to lease their battery from Renault rather than buy it.
As Renault notes:
Thanks to battery leasing, as of spring 2017, owners of a Zoe equipped with a 22-kwh pack can upgrade to the [41-kwh] battery without changing their vehicle, and benefit from increased range.