Renault Group accused of ignoring safety in electric hatches

The Renault Zoe and Dacia Spring have flunked Euro NCAP testing, returning poor scores across all categories.

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Euro NCAP has lashed Renault for the crash performance of its electric cars, arguing “safety has now become collateral damage in the group’s transition to electric cars”.

The independent body hit out at Renault after the 2021 Zoe and Dacia Spring electric cars scored zero stars and one star respectively in Euro NCAP testing, on the back of poor occupant protection ratings and non-existent driver assistance technology.

The latest Zoe – which was never sold in Australia – scored 43 per cent for adult occupant protection, 52 per cent for child occupant protection, 41 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 14 per cent for safety assist.

Update, 10/12/2021: An early version of this story said the second-generation Zoe was sold in Australia. The first-generation car was offered locally, but not the second-generation car.

Although it was released as a new car in 2019, the latest Zoe is a heavily facelifted version of the first-generation car. It was released in 2012, and earned a five-star Euro NCAP rating under more relaxed testing protocols in 2013.

It’s rare for a vehicle to be hit with a zero-star NCAP rating, but it’s not unheard of – the Mitsubishi Express was hit with a zero-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in March 2021.

The Dacia Spring, meanwhile, scored 49 per cent for adult occupant protection, 56 per cent for child occupant protection, 39 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 32 per cent for safety assist.

Under the skin, the Spring shares its budget-oriented bones with the Renault City K-ZE developed for China, which in turn is a development of the Indian-market Renault Kwid SUV.

At launch, Renault said the Spring was re-engineered and reinforced to meet European standards.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for electric vehicles at the latest round of Euro NCAP tests. The BMW iX electric SUV earned a 91 per cent rating for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 73 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 81 per cent for safety assist.

The Mercedes-Benz EQS scored 96 per cent for adult occupant protection, 91 per cent for child occupant protection, 76 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 80 per cent for safety assist.

The compact Fiat 500e scored four stars, as did the MG Marvel R electric SUV.

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Scott Collie

Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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