Our first electric car: 'ZOE is part of the family now’

They may have had it for more than three years now, but Gavin and Clare are still as thrilled with their Renault ZOE – their first electric car – as they were when they drove it off the forecourt back in June 2017. “It’s just a really nice car,” says Clare. “Very quiet, really comfortable and I find it so easy to drive.”

Many are wary of switching to an EV (electric vehicle) because they’ve heard the initial outlay can be costly, but Gavin and Clare are proof that going electric needn’t dent your pocket. “The total cost upfront was zero,” says Gavin. “We split the cost over four years, with 0% interest from Renault.” Running costs have been a pleasant surprise too. Their old car, an ageing people carrier, was costing £400 a month on diesel. Add in the cost of repairs, and it was amounting to a small fortune. “The ZOE is much cheaper to run day-to-day,” says Gavin. “We’ve worked out it runs at about a penny per mile.”

Money aside, Clare and Gavin are comforted by the fact their motoring is helping lessen the family’s impact on the environment. “We drive about 90 miles per day, so do higher mileage than most households,” says Clare, who’s the main ZOE driver. “Our carbon emissions were worse than everyone else’s but now they’re better. That feels good,” adds Gavin, explaining that their move to electric is part of a bigger push to live in a more sustainable way. “We charge the car overnight on cheap-rate electricity using a timer, so we’ve made sure that our home energy supplier is 100% green. We’ve also got a roof full of solar panels, which doesn’t really supply the car but it does put green energy back into the grid. Of course, there is an environmental cost to manufacturing every vehicle, every battery and every motor, but it’s about electric being better than petrol or diesel. It’s not perfect but it’s a big step in the right direction.”

Gavin and Clare with their Renault Zoe: ‘We’ve worked out it runs at about a penny per mile.’

Having made the switch, Gavin and Clare say they couldn’t imagine being without their ZOE now. It has all the gadgets Gavin looks for, such as Bluetooth and built-in satnav, plus ample boot space and back seat room. With five children between them, the family has a back-up seven-seater for when everybody has to fit in, but driving it is rare and not something they relish. “We used it when we went to Cornwall recently, and it felt really strange,” says Clare. “It’s louder, it’s slower, it’s just very odd. I much prefer driving the ZOE – it’s part of the family now.”

While the new ZOE has a range of up to 245 miles (WLTP), Gavin and Clare’s older model can cover 186 miles (WLTP range) on a full battery, which the family say suits their needs and more. “For longer journeys, we’ll stop at services and have a coffee while ZOE charges for half an hour,” says Clare. “With kids in the car, we’d be stopping off anyway so it doesn’t bother us.” If anything, the extra bit of pre-planning is something she appreciates. “You have to be a bit more careful about where you’re going but that doesn’t take away the pleasure of having the car. It makes you more thoughtful about whether you really need to drive somewhere at all and I think that’s a good thing.”

Having seen how cost-effective, comfortable and better for the environment their ZOE is, the couple’s relatives are now catching the electric bug – Gavin’s mum and sister are both converts. “The kids love spotting other ZOEs when we’re driving around,” says Clare. “We always give them a wave and usually we get a wave back. It’s fun.”

Curious to learn more about EVs? Find out more about the New Renault ZOE at

* PLAY R110, 245 miles. WLTP figures shown are for comparability purposes. Figures obtained after battery was fully charged. Actual real-world results may vary depending on factors such a accessories fitted and registration and weather conditions. Zero tailpipe emissions: C02 while driving 0 g/km, MPG: N/A according to WLTP homologation tests.


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