Here are the first spyshots of the second-generation Renault Zoe. Debuting in 2012, the first (and current) Zoe was one of the pioneering production electric cars to hit the market, long before “electric” became the hard and fast future direction of the auto industry.

These spyshots are our first look at the next Zoe, and although much of the prototype is safely hidden away (so safe that the mule’s guardians didn’t mind our pixman getting up close), there are clues to be found. The front end has the “small Renault” look, which is now separate from the face that larger models like the Megane and Talisman get.

Compared to today’s car, the “grille” section surrounding the diamond logo appears to be larger, and so are the headlamps, which might not be as slim as present. There’s also a “bubble roof” on the mule, although the humps aren’t entirely symmetrical for some reason – just there to confuse us perhaps?

The rear quarter shot really resembles the current Zoe in its lines and shape, ditto the side profile. Possibilities include more angle on the rear screen and tail lamps that are larger than the current diamond shaped clusters. Styling changes would be evolutionary at best; perhaps Renault saw no need to significantly alter a signature design.

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What’s in need of an update is the electric tech, as the game has moved on since the Zoe appeared. Renault’s compact, dedicated EV received a 2018 model year update in February, which saw the introduction of a more powerful motor. The R110 e-motor brought another 16 hp (for 108 hp/225 Nm) and two seconds faster acceleration from 80-120 km/h.

Today’s R110 motor and 41 kWh lithium-ion battery (the original battery was 22 kWh) is still competitive (the latest Nissan Leaf has a 40 kWh battery) and can be carried forward, although the fact that the Zoe only does AC charging needs to change. It’ll make sense for the next-gen Zoe to allow DC fast charging via a CCS combo (AC/DC) inlet.

By the way, Hyundai’s 204 PS/395 Nm Kona Electric packs a 64 kWh battery for a claimed range of up to 470 km – that’s the current benchmark for affordable EVs by mainstream carmakers.

The Zoe was sold officially by local Renault distributor TC Euro Cars for RM146k back in 2016. Will the new one also make its way here to accompany the second-gen Nissan Leaf that has already been confirmed for Malaysia?


GALLERY: Renault Zoe in Malaysia