Back in January, our dear leader fearless editor dubbed the Renault Zoe "Europe's most important electric car".

For him, that's partially because the Zoe was built from scratch, and because it has no gas-powered sibling. For others, proof of the Zoe's significance came a few months earlier, when the Zoe shattered the record for distance traveled in an electric car in a 24-hour period.

Now that the Renault Zoe is quietly winding its way toward French electric car-enthusiasts, Renault has launched a new video that shows off some of pint-sized ride's high-tech features. A quick review of the clip's claims reveals that, on the whole, there's plenty to get excited about:

  • "The design is truly stunning": We'd agree with that statement. For a moderately bare-bones electric car, the Zoe is cute and approachable -- more akin to the buglike Toyota Yaris than the quirky Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
  • "Zoe is the first 100% electric car that's truly affordable": We agree with that, too. Though we're having trouble finding the Zoe's price in France, just across the Channel, it costs £13,650 after government subsidies, or just over $20,200.
  • "Lifetime guaranteed batteries": That's impressive. Replacing batteries on electric cars can be very, very expensive, so a lifetime guarantee might be just the thing to put hesitant shoppers behind the wheel. 
  • "Z.E. Voice, an external sound that reacts to the speed of the car and warns pedestrians": This is a nice touch and addresses the concerns of those worried by the stealthy nature of electric cars. If the video is accurate, Z.E. Voice makes the Zoe sound more like a typical car rolling down the road than, say, a theremin barreling your way, but all in good time.
  • "R-Link Multimedia System": This in-dash feature looks useful and functional, even if the styling seems a bit outdated, like the future-tech in Logan's Run. (And even though it appears that the built-in TomTom service requires some in-dash purchases to be truly useful for travelers.)
  • Zoe Zen Version's "Take Care package, which has an active scent diffuser, toxicity sensor, and purifying air ionizer": We love our spa days, but this may be a step too far.
  • "TomTom Z.E. Live Navigation System": This integrates your satnav with a range estimator, so you can check your map and see your remaining battery range, all in one go. That's genius.
  • Rated "at over 200km" per charge: Also genius.
  • The Zoe can be quick-charged "to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes". Again, genius -- and it also explains how the Zoe broke the 24-hour distance record.

Intrigued? Catch a behind-the-scenes look at the Renault Zoe as it's being manufactured in the clip below:

[h/t Brian Henderson]


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