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RSPB put another egg in Renault’s green basket

RSPB put another egg in Renault’s green basket

Posted on: 18th Apr 2014

In a further step towards reducing the charity’s CO2 emissions, the RSPB has recently taken delivery of an all electric, Renault Zoe Super-mini, to complement their two Kangoo Vans. They have also applied for planning permission for a wind turbine at their head quarters so that they can charge the car using home generated electricity.

This endorsement will be a big boost to the Renault/Nissan electric vehicle (EV) alliance that has so far invested four billion Euros into research. With EVs having so far having failed to make much of an impression on car sales, the Renault ZOE has been packaged up to become the spearhead in an assault on the market. For a start, the car is a pleasure to drive, with rapid acceleration, nought to thirty miles per hour in less than four seconds, and a top speed of eighty five miles per hour, it is quite happy even on the motorway. The under floor batteries provide a low centre of gravity that glues the wheels to the road as you corner, and of course, you can be sure of a quiet ride.

Additional benefits come from the way that the finances have been structured. Unlike most of the EV competition, the Renault Zoe has a battery rental scheme, so the car is owned but the power pack is leased, greatly affecting the price; you can drive away for about half the cost of a Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi i-Miev. The battery lease is governed by road mileage and equates to the cost of running a diesel equivalent with fuel at £1.40 litre. This was another feature that appealed to the RSPB, who as a charity, are very cost conscious; what you get is a five door super-mini for the same price as a diesel Volkswagen Polo, but with reduced servicing costs and no road tax.

There are upgrades for the car that include a smart-phone app that controls battery charging, and switches on the air conditioning before the doors are opened; which along with other luxury features are designed to tempt drivers, regardless of the eco benefits. The minimum distance achievable on one charge is sixty miles, taking into account freezing conditions that drain the power, which is adequate for the eighty seven per cent of most daily runs that are under forty. The average is more like ninety miles on a single charge and roadside top-ups can bring this back up to eighty percent in less than an hour.

The RSPB has already found their new car to be popular with drivers, which is an important selling point, so might this be the vehicle to really set the EV ball rolling?