The Renault Zoe has scored zero out of five in the latest round of Euro NCAP safety tests, falling from its five-star rating in 2013.
The facelifted Renault Zoe 2021 recorded the lowest score out of the 11 new models that were tested, behind the Dacia Spring which only received a one out of five rating.
NCAP cited “several battery improvements but no added safety,” with the EV’s seat-mounted side airbag which previously protected head and thorax being replaced by a less effective thorax-only airbag, representing a “degradation in occupant protection.”
The report added: “The new ZOE offers poor protection in crashes overall, poor vulnerable road user protection and lacks meaningful crash avoidance technology, disqualifying it for any stars.”
The Dacia Spring, Renault’s sub-brand EV based on the Chinese-made Renault City K-ZE, was also heavily criticized in the report, with it describing the Spring’s performances in crash tests as “downright problematic,” with a high risk of life-threatening injuries for driver chest and rear passenger head in frontal crash tests and marginal chest protection in side impact.
Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said: “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.
“Not only do these cars fail to offer any appreciable active safety as standard, but their occupant protection is also worse than any vehicle we have seen in many years. It is cynical to offer the consumer an affordable green car if it comes at the price of higher injury risk in the event of an accident. Other cars, such as the FIAT 500e, recently awarded 5 stars in Green NCAP, show that safety does not need to be sacrificed for environmental cleanliness.”
An official statement from Renault said: “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.
“Zoe was launched in 2013 and received 5 stars with EuroNCAP protocol at that time. The EuroNCAP protocol has since 2013 undergone five changes. With the same equipment, a model can lose up to two stars in each protocol change.
“From 01/03/2022, Advanced Emergency Braking will be fitted on every Zoe E-Tech Electric trim level as standard.
“The evolution of the current Zoe was decided in 2017 adapting the passive safety equipment to real accidentology and updating the car with state of the art ADAS equipment such as Advanced Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Departure Alert and Lane Keeping Assist, using a radar and a camera.”
Conversely, the new all-electric BMW iX scored a perfect five stars for its safety performances, as did the Mercedes-EQ EQS.
van Ratingen added: “Bravo to these manufacturers for giving consumers the levels of safety they have come to expect. These results once more make clear that safety is all about good engineering and less about the type of powertrain or price per se.”