Having initially switched over for practical reasons, they have discovered that the joy and comfort of driving electric far surpasses their expectations. Now they gather online to share tips, tricks and distance records. Originally just individual drivers, they are now proudly part of an entire community.
When the holidays are approaching, time is of the essence: in Facebook groups exclusively dedicated to drivers of a Renault ZOE, users exchange the need-to-know locations that offer fast charging at very low prices for the long journeys ahead.
Among these connoisseurs, several of whom have owned a ZOE for several years, long distances are no longer a cause of anxiety. « Safely arrived in Brittany after 890 km », Denis is delighted to announce, for example, in the Facebook group « Francophone Renault ZOE. » In the comments that follow, users discuss the best way to approach such a trip. The general consensus is that all you need to do is favour back roads over motorways, and to take advantage of charging breaks for meals or tourism. « That must add up to 100 euros not spent on petrol, and as much saved on tolls », approves Jerome, another member of the group and owner of a ZOE.
Comparing combustion-engine and electric cars is a source of amusement for these enthusiasts. They share screenshots of their service invoices, accompanied by emoticons and bemused comments. « Less than €40 for 93,373 km and a little over 5 years ? », David teases, responding to a conversation about maintenance costs. On the attached bill, you remark the simplicity of the work done: servicing consists mostly of a few inspections, along with the refilling of brake and washer fluids.
It’s impossible to go back from that. For many, their goal goes as far as making electric their only means of transportation for private use. « I’ve had my ZOE for a year. I bought it at first with the idea of making it my car for local travel, while keeping our other car for holidays or long distances. One year and 30,000 kilometres later, we only have a single car », attests Marie-Louise, an English member of the online group « Renault Zoe Owners Club. »
The relationship forged is not simply a practical one: reading through these messages, you realise that these drivers have a real affection for their electric cars. Some drivers give their ZOE a nickname, as if the car had its own playful and easy-going personality. Those who drive their electric car for the first time are shocked to hear some traffic sounds that they had forgotten about. Others enjoy the linear acceleration unique to electric motors that gives the ZOE its defining vigorous yet silent quality.
Fans also praise the comfort of its interior for the driver and passengers. Occasionally, they venture out with it over unexpected terrain, like this ZOE converted into an ambulance taxi that runs missions on forest roads.
Reports of breakdowns or technical issues are rare. There’s no need to deal with oil changes, spark plugs or a gearbox. Practical conversations instead revolve around recharging and eco-driving: neophytes want to understand how to best access public charging points, while savvier enthusiasts keep track of their kWh consumption and debate the potential positive impacts of limiting their speed to 80 Km/h on the range of their vehicles.
In these communities, newcomers are welcomed with kindness and there is people rejoice when a loved one takes the plunge.
« My mother now has an electric car named Deborah. I’m so proud! » Daisyboof exclaims from Bythorn in the English countryside.
Beyond the pleasure of a shared passion, promoting the electric car is the best way for its followers to make it accessible to the greatest number of people possible. Beyond the joy of others sharing their love, they see the opportunity to benefit from infrastructure ever more tailored to their needs.
Copyrights: Yannick BROSSARD, PLANIMONTEUR