Renault's new all-electric city crossover went on sale in China earlier this month. Starting at just over $8,700 (after government subsidies), the baby EV offers quick at-home charging and a small footprint at the expense of speed and overall range.
The City K-ZE is rated for 271 km (168 miles) of total range measured by NEDC, which might not work out to that much past 100 miles by EPA tests. Its top speed is roughly 65 mph, thanks to its 33-kw electric motor.
On the plus side, the 26.8-kwh battery pack charges quickly, charging from 0 to 80% in just 50 minutes with DC fast charging. Despite its cheap price, it can be equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a remote app and online navigation.
There's no mistaking Renault's new EV for anything but a city car. While it offers crossover proportions and nearly 6 inches of ground clearance, its wheelbase measures just 95 inches—4 inches shorter than that of the subcompact-based Ford EcoSport crossover.
The City K-ZE is built in partnership with Dongfeng, and there are plans to export it to India in 2022. Needless to say, it is not suitable for North America. China's developing EV market has embraced very small-footprint cars in urban areas, whereas cars this size never really caught on in the U.S. even in dense urban markets.
America's embrace of premium EVs has started to bleed into other developed markets, with demand increasing for long-range, high-priced models that can more competently replace gasoline- and diesel-burning vehicles. It would take a brave manufacturer to gamble on Americans buying into this segment, but perhaps minds could be changed as EV technology matures.