In order to release a competitive electric hatchback by 2013, Renault has announced that they will be producing a performance model of their electric hatchback ‘Zoe’, which was unveiled earlier this year at the Paris Motor Show. The Renault Zoe made a big splash at the Paris Motor Show not only because of its technical features, but for its array of integrated gadgets.

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In addition to having an 80-horse power electric motor (with a torque of 222 Nm), the Zoe boasts a host of 21st century features such as skin hydration, automatic air cleanser and even light and scent therapy. (If you are wondering what scent therapy is, it means that your car will emit a relaxing scent if you are caught in traffic or are driving late a night to keep you alert. Cool, eh?)

Able to be fully charged between 6 to 8 hours in normal mode, the Zoe can also be 80 percent powered in 30 minutes or undergo a 37 mile charge in just 10 minutes. It is also compatible with Better Place’s battery swap system, allowing users to swap out an old battery for a new one in three minutes.

It’s rumored a few changes may be made to the Zoe performance model, making it different from the preview model unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, but the details are vague. However, it is possible the new model will be powered by the Nissan Leaf’s electric powertrain, the proud carrier of 134 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. And this little tidbit comes from the deputy director of Renault’s electric vehicle program, Matthieu Tenenbaum, who said, “We have a higher-powered version of the car [Zoe] in mind for slightly later in its life cycle.”

A version of the Zoe will be launched in 2012, having Kangoo ZE’s 79 bhp electric powertrain. Tenenbaum added that with this model “there would be little penalty in range when measured on the standard European driving cycle,” as related to the performance-oriented car. He continues, “We considered offering two versions of the car from the beginning, but thought it would over-complicate the buying process for early adopters.”

I guess it is refreshing to have too many options for an electric car, rather than none at all!

+ Renault

via Green Optimistic