Renault's ZOE Fails in Euro NCAP Safety Ratings with 0 Stars, and its Dacia Spring Achieves Just 1.
Updated: Apr 7, 2022
Back in 2013 Renault was amongst the first to release an affordable electric car, launching its popular ZOE. In 2020 the car received a facelift that included several battery improvements, but according to EURO NCAP no extra safety features. They point out that the seat-mounted side airbag, which previously protected the head and thorax, has been replaced by a less effective thorax-only airbag, representing a degradation in occupant protection. Furthermore, according to the safety standards organisation, the new ZOE offers poor protection in crashes overall, it has insufficient vulnerable road user protection. Finally, it lacks meaningful crash avoidance technology, so the car could not achieve any stars.
If that didn't seem bad enough, things do not fare much better for Dacia, Renaults low-cost brand. Their full-electric Spring, marketed as a brand new vehicle, is heavily based on the Chinese-made Renault City K-ZE, a derivative of the Renault Kwid, sold in India and Brazil for several years. Dacia has staunch supporters across Europe: car buyers who appreciate the low entry prices and steer clear of "useless features" in their car. However, with the Spring, the "masters of frugal engineering" have launched a product that goes beyond no-frills. Unfortunately, its performance in crash tests is downright problematic, that's according to the crash test teams at Euro NCAP. In frontal crash tests, they believe there is a high risk of life-threatening injuries for the driver's chest and rear passenger head and marginal chest protection in a side impact. The mediocre crash performance and poor crash avoidance technology result in a one-star Dacia Spring rating.
Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary-General of Euro NCAP commented:
"Renault was once synonymous with safety. The Laguna was the first car to get five stars in 2001. But 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. A few months ago, In an article with Autocar, Dacia claimed that they were 'preoccupied with always increasing safety for those on board' and that their cars always improved passenger safety. That's clearly not the case: 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."
Rikard Fredriksson, Vehicle Safety Advisor from TRAFIKVERKET in Sweden says:
"Euro NCAP's tests highlight the significant differences which arise when the decision is taken not to upgrade the safety level of a vehicle which is kept in production. Especially alarming is the airbag downgrading by the manufacturer when its vehicle was facelifted in other non-safety areas. As a result, in this release we can see examples of electric cars at similar price levels but remarkably different safety levels."
It wasn't all bad for Renault in 2021, as it is worth mentioning that the Renault Kangoo (twinned with the Nissan Townstar) received a four-star rating earlier this year.