Renault Zoe blockbuster EV scores a duck in safety test
Renault's popular Zoe electric model scored a duck in the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) with zero-star safety rating. Renault also received a blow for its another lower-cost electric Dacia Spring model which scored a one-star safety rating.
Euro NCAP report stated that the latest Zoe had a worse seat-mounted side airbag than earlier versions. This comes as a surprising revelation as the electric vehicle was the third top-selling fully-electric car in Europe in October, behind Tesla's Model 3 in top place and Volkswagen's ID.3.
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Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen expressed disappointment for the results delivered by Renault's blockbuster model Zoe as well as Dacia. “Renault was once synonymous with safety. These disappointing results for the ZOE and the Dacia Spring show that safety has now become collateral damage in the group's transition to electric cars," he said.
Thatcham's chief research strategy officer and a Euro NCAP board member, Matthew Avery, said, “It's a shame to see Renault threaten a safety pedigree built from the inception of the rating."
Renault has been cutting costs and working to turning around its performance as well as is working towards transition to electric vehicles. The company, however, argued that Zoe is a safe vehicle and meets all regulatory safety standards. "These standards are constantly evolving and are becoming more and more strict in all areas, especially in terms of security," the company added.
Renault Zoe's safety ratings mark the only third time that Euro NCAP has given a car a zero-star rating. While the safety agency does not certify vehicles for road use, its ratings can surely hurts sales of the Zoe. This could pressure Renault into upgrading or accelerating the launch of the next version of the car.
Euro NCAP rated eleven cars in the final round for 2021, which did not include Tesla models. Vehicles that received five-star ratings include BMW's electric iX, Mercedes-Benz EQS, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen VW Caddy.
(with inputs from Reuters)