Electric cars are making inroads in the Middle East and the UAE is one of the GCC member countries to adopt these vehicles. There are plans to encourage members of the car driving community to adopt environmentally cleaner vehicles with various incentives in the UAE and taking this opportunity Renault officially launched the Zoe 40 at Jumeirah Golf Estates Club House in Dubai last month.
For the Middle East markets, Renault is offering its breakthrough long-range Zoe variant that has been on the European market for over a year. The car can be charged free of cost at over 100 DEWA charging stations across Dubai till 2019. Other incentives offered by UAE include free registration and renewals, free Salik (toll gate fees), dedicated free parking and charging points in and around the city. Renault thinks that this is a good beginning for the electric cars and despite a hefty AED 129,900 price tag, the carmaker thinks the total package which is offered over the period of ownership of the Zoe justifies the pricing point. However, in his presentation during the launch, Marwan Haidamous, Marketing Director of Renault Middle East said that the Zoe will play an important role in the brand’s sustainability and profitable growth under the strategy: “Drive The Future 2017 – 2022.” These plans include the release of 15 more electric vehicles as well as connected cars by the year 2022.
Renault is looking at fleet and institutional marketing and was the first car manufacturer to offer a fully electric vehicle in the UAE. The French carmaker sold several units of the Zoe to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in 2015.
Guillaume Berthier, the Sales and Marketing Director for electric vehicles internationally at Groupe Renault, said, “Globally we focus on countries where we feel the potential for electric vehicles is huge, and in Dubai we saw these early signs, such as from the DEWA and RTA.” He explained that the UAE is also the first country in the Middle East to have the necessary regulations in place to allow for the importing of the Zoe.
The Zoe that will be sold in the region is an upgraded model with bigger 40kw battery [from 22kw] which adds to the driving range of approximately 300km between charges. The battery has fast charging capabilities and can be charged upto 80 per cent under three hours. Top speed is 135km/h, and 0-100km/h is around 13.2secs, which is quite comparable with similar cars in its class. The car is a four-door, four-seater with unique styling.
While Renault is part of the Nissan Alliance which also includes Mitsubishi Motors , the development of the Zoe has been totally different to that of Nissan’s Leaf which was primarily designed for long range driving in the US.
Renault says its technology application is the latest and battery reliability has been proven over extensive testing in the Middle East climate for over two years.