A Renault Zoe has driven a Very Long Way*

By topgear, 17 June 2021

A Renault Zoe has gone 475 miles (765km) on a single charge. Be still our pulsing, petrol-filled veins. 475.4 miles (765.1km) to be exact which, if you drive a diesel, is about the point the needle starts to shift off the full mark. But EVs are different aren’t they? And 475 miles, when you only claim a 245-mile (395-km) range for the 52kWh battery in your electric supermini, is very impressive.

The record beats the previous best for a Zoe of 351.3 miles (565.4km), set on the Paris ring road in 2018. This attempt took place at Thruxton (the UK’s fastest race track, where the unofficial lap record of 57.6secs was set by Damon Hill during a demo run in a Williams FW15C at a 147mph/237kph average). The car was completely standard and unmodified, apart from using new EV-specific Enso tyres. A second car fitted with OE rubber travelled 424.8 miles (683.6km). The tyres were run at recommended pressures and no drafting was allowed.

Although the record is only specific to the Zoe, it’s likely to be the biggest improvement over claimed range recorded (an uplift of 94 per cent) and possibly the most efficient figure achieved in a production electric car. The Enso-tyred car recorded 9.14 miles (14.7km) per kWh. In testing on a warmer day it actually did better, achieving 10.6mpkWh (17.1kmpkWh).

The record took place over two days, the cars driven in relay by a team of ex-forces drivers from Mission Motorsport. They weren’t exactly clinging on for dear life – the cars averaged around 20mph (32kph) during each two hour stint, peaking at 23mph (37kph) on the downhills, reducing to 17mph (27kph) on Thruxton’s gentle inclines. Each lap took around seven minutes. No need for Damon Hill to rush back just yet then.

Is this the start of a new direction for EV records? Will we now start talking electric hypermiling instead of hyper-accelerating Teslas? How long until an electric car can travel 1,000 miles (1,600km) on a charge? Has anyone got the patience to drive a Zoe even more slowly?