Renault ZOE Sport Concept Lights Up Geneva

The Renalt ZOE is a slightly smaller cousin to the Nissan LEAF — a battery electric four door sedan suitable for getting most people and their families from here to there and back again using electrons instead of molecules. A perfectly fine car, in other words, and one of the best selling electric cars in Europe, but not a car one would normally associate with the word “performance.” Renault is largely unknown to American drivers, but it has a long history of success at the top levels of international motor racing and has produced some superb road cars with sporting pretensions over the years. It has been involved in Formula One for decades and currently is the factory backer of the e-dams Formula E effort. Its Alpine division was once a force in rally competition.

Renault ZOE-e

40 years ago, some Renault engineers with deliciously deranged minds took an ordinary Renault 5 front wheel drive sedan, known in the US as the LeCar, stuffed it full of a mid-mounted turbocharged engine, converted it to rear wheel drive, expanded the rear track by about 2 feet and voila! The insanely fast Renault Turbo 5 was born. The children of those engineers must still work for the company. They have to conspired to put together a sporting version of the ZOE known as the ZOE-e and it’s brilliant.

Drawing on the knowledge gained from its Formula E program, the ZOE-e is a purpose built carbon fiber two seat sports coupe with an awe inspiring 460 horsepower. It has two identical electric motors — one in front and one in back. To put things in perspective, the Formula E car is limited to a maximum of 270 horsepower. The ZOE-e tips the scales at around 3000 lbs including its 40 kWh battery and can scoot to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.

Where the Turbo 5 was no svelte ballet dancer, sacrificing styling for brutish performance, the ZOE-e is molded and sculpted into a work of art that features excellent aerodynamics. It is painted the same Satin Blue as the e-dams Formula E racer with tasteful flashes of yellow scattered around the exterior. Inside, driver and passenger are cossetted in Recaro racing seats. The entire car conforms to FIA crash standards for racing vehicles. The driver can select from three power modes and the car has a range of about 125 miles — assuming the driver can resist the urge to mash the go pedal constantly.

The ZOE-e is just a concept — one of those cars that manufacturers bring to major car shows like Geneva to make people’s hearts beat faster. Are there plans to put the ZOE-e into production? No, not that anyone is talking about publicly. But the fact that it exists is a sure sign the electric car revolution is in full swing and the future will not be devoted exclusively to boring autonomous transportation pods. There is still hope for those of us who like cars and enjoy driving con brio. Build it, Renault. They will come.

Renault ZOE-e

Source: Electric Cars Report

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.