Residents of a French town in the Ariege region have been gifted free Zoe EV electric car by auto manufacturer Renault.
The French auto maker offered three-year leases of its new Zoe EV to each and every 26 households in Appy, in exchange for regular update from the residents to Renault on their impressions of the car and of EV ownership.
The initiative, Renault said, will help the company “understand the way customers interact with and use electric vehicles day to day.”
Renault is also looking to demonstrate that EVs aren’t just for residents of urban areas, and that the Zoe, with a 245 miles range on full charge, can meets the needs of rural communities just as well as traditional gas-powered cars.
“If the inhabitants of one of the country’s most isolated towns can adopt an electric way of life, it’ll prove that everyone can,” Renault said. “That also means the myths around buying and running an electric car can be dispelled once and for all.”
According to various studies, the major barriers to widespread EV adoption have been concerns around its range and lack of charging stations. To make things a bit easier for Appy’s residents, Renault will set up a public charging station and provide all participating households with a home charger.
Other Europeans can still get their hands on an EV from Renault for free or close to it. Thanks to hefty subsidies from the German government, car shoppers there can snag a 9,000-euro discount (R175,000) if they go electric. A similar 7,000-euro (R135,000) incentive in France means that drivers can lease a Zoe for just 79 euros (R1,500) per month.