Last week we reported that the 2017 Renault Zoe was expected to have a larger battery giving it a 200-mile driving range, which has now been confirmed.
Behind that news is the implication that the 2018 Nissan Leaf could follow, given that the two companies are joined by an alliance.
The information about the Zoe was revealed for a short period of time by Renault’s Dutch website and then removed, but not before British publication Autoexpress and others grabbed it.
According to the data published, the new 41-kilowatt-hour battery developed by LG Chem gives the smaller-than-a-Leaf car a 248-mile (400 km) electric driving range on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which in real world driving is closer to 200 miles.
That’s close to double the current 22-kWh battery, which will continue to be offered.
The new battery “takes up the same space inside the EV as previous editions, and also weighs about the same,” according to information posted on the Renault Dutch site.
A new air circulation system maintains the battery’s temperature at a constant level.
Recharging time is about the same as the current battery, so it only takes 30 minutes to add 49 miles (80 km) of NEDC-rated driving using public fast charging systems.
The new battery will cost consumers about $2,800 (2,500€) more.
Additionally, a new electric motor increases output from 77 horsepower (57 kW) to 88 hp (65 kW). Not much to write home about, but welcome.
A couple of photos that were posted suggest that there are no exterior changes to the 2017 Zoe, but there is a minor refresh of the interior.
In Europe, the $24,500 (21,900€) Renault Zoe not only outsells the Nissan, it’s the top-selling electric vehicle, and it would seem that the larger Nissan Leaf can’t lag behind in driving range for very long.
With an increasing number of global automakers planning 200-plus-mile range electric vehicles at sub-$40,000 prices, and the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt (Opel Ampera-e in Europe) about to hit the market, Nissan will have to defend its EV global leadership with the 2018 Leaf.
Carlos Ghosn, the Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO, has said the Leaf will be competitive with the Bolt, and range anxiety will no longer be a worry as the decade progresses. As the Renault-Nissan Alliance leads out on a new generation with the Zoe, this would indicate the Leaf will make good on hints and promises made about it over the past couple of years.
Nissan has otherwise not clearly stated why it is nursing the first-generation Leaf along since its December 2010 introduction, through two updates to its battery, and for what may be a long 8-year product life to 2018.
In any event, the 2017 Renault Zoe will continue as the best-selling EV in Europe and now the Alliance’s highest-range electric car.