Renault Zoe EV Gets Zero-Star Rating in Euro NCAP Safety Tests

Photo: Renault

Renault’s Zoe electric vehicle (EV) is making headlines this week for all the wrong reasons. According to Autocar, Renault’s all-electric supermini scored an abysmal zero-star safety rating in the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP)’s latest crash tests.

The Zoe is one of the most popular EVs in Europe and regularly goes toe to toe with best-sellers like the Tesla Model 3 which, by contrast, is one of the safest cars out there, in regions like France. According to the publication, the Zoe has become the third car in Euro NCAP history to receive a zero-star verdict.

The Zoe had previously earned a five-star safety rating from the car assessment body, but that was before Renault refreshed it last year to add a bigger battery and extra power behind the wheel.

However, Euro NCAP said that the refreshed Zoe is fitted with a new seat-mounted side airbag that offers inadequate protection to occupants, only protecting their thorax instead of their head and thorax like the previous implementation did.

The change has resulted in “a degradation in occupant protection”, reported Euro NCAP. In the institution’s side-pole-impact test, the “driver’s head directly impacted the intruding pole and head injury values indicated poor protection of this part of the body.”

The Zoe’s performance in Euro NCAP’s frontal offset crash test was “poor”, and the EV finished with a 43% adult occupant safety rating (the lowest of 11 years), a 52% child occupant rating, and a 41% rating in the Vulnerable Road Users category.

Euro NCAP criticized the lack of active safety technology, stating that the Zoe doesn’t even have features that are “commonly fitted as standard,” including lane-departure warning and standard-fit automatic emergency braking (AEB).

According to vehicle safety research from Thatcham, AEB can reduce “front-to-rear crashes with injuries by 56%”. As a result, Renault’s Zoe only achieved a 14% rating in Euro NCAP’s Safety Assist category, the 2021 average for which is 75%.

Renault issued a statement in response to the results, an excerpt from which reads:

Renault takes note of the results published by EuroNCAP following specific tests on Zoe E-Tech Electric according to its new protocol implemented in 2020.

Renault reaffirms that Zoe E-Tech Electric is a safe vehicle, which complies with all regulatory safety standards. These standards are constantly evolving and are becoming more stringent in all domains, especially in safety. Renault therefore continually improves its offer in order to comply with the regulations applicable where its vehicles are sold.

Autocar also reported that Renault will be fitting all Zoe models ordered from March 1, 2022, onwards with AEB.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk reacted to the story by sharing links to the Euro NCAP tests of Tesla vehicles, which are the safest on the road with 5-star ratings.

Last month, the company announced it would be replacing its entire courtesy car fleet in England and Wales with Zoe E-Tech models.