The electric vehicle segment has seen a boom as of late, with big names like Porsche, Audi and Jaguar introducing vehicles to counter the popularity of Tesla’s offerings. More often than not, the buzz involves ludicrous acceleration times and the ability to provide an extended driving range that sometimes matches those of vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines.
However, such vehicles are (sometimes) considered a luxury, making them rather expensive and not within reach of most car buyers. As an example, the new Taycan starts from US$150,900 in the United States, the e-tron is priced from US$74,800, while the cheapest Tesla is the Model 3 from US$38,990. Even the Nissan Leaf retails from US$29,990.
Renault is looking to revolutionise the market with the City K-ZE, which recently made its launch debut in China after first being revealed at this year’s Shanghai Motor Show. With prices starting from 61,800 yuan there, or around US$8,684 (RM36,234), the City K-ZE could be the affordable EV that boosts the adoption of zero-emission EVs among the common folk.
Developed in collaboration with Dongfeng Motor Group, the City K-ZE was first previewed by a concept showcased at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. The EV is motivated by a modest, front-mounted electric motor with 44 hp (33 kW) and 125 Nm of torque, which is good for a top speed of 105 km/h.
A 26.8 kWh lithium-ion battery powers the electric motor, and Renault claims a range of 271 km following NEDC regulations; more than enough for the daily commute done by most motorists. The rated power consumption here is 10.8 kWh per 100 km.
The City K-ZE supports both AC and DC charging, with the former taking about four hours for a full charge with a Type 2 connection and a 6.6 kW power output. With DC fast charging via a GB/T connection, getting from a 30% state of charge to 80% takes just half an hour.
If the car looks somewhat similar, that’s because the City K-ZE is based on the CMF-A-based Kwid, albeit with some modifications to accommodate the electric powertrain. Styling changes from the Kwid include a new grille and lighting arrangement at the front, as well as minor tweaks to the rear.
Moving inside, it’s pretty much identical to the Kwid, aside from a new semi-digital instrument cluster and “gear selector” knob. Despite the addition of the lithium-ion battery, there’s still 300 litres of boot space available, which is identical to a normal Kwid.
Available equipment includes an Easy Link infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen, navigation function, 4G Wi-Fi, online music and two speakers, a reverse camera, manual air-conditioning with a PM2.5 sensor, remote vehicle telemetry via a smartphone app, tyre pressure monitoring system, and 14-inch wheels.
In China, the City K-ZE will be available in a total of three variants, with the mid-spec option costing 66,800 yuan (US$9,389 or RM39,189), while the top-spec offering is 71,800 yuan (US$10,091 or RM42,121). For now, the EV will only be available in China, but the EV will make its way to other global markets in the future, including India. Is this simple and honest EV something you might be interested in?