Renault gives every resident of one town in France a free car

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

The Renault Zoe has gotten more range for the 2020 model year

Appy, France is located on the southern tip of France, just miles from the border with Spain. It’s an isolated space in the Occitaine region – a remote and mountainous place with gorgeous scenery but little reason to be a permanent residence for those building a career.

It’s so sparsely populated that there were no marriages in the town for a period of 64 years – 1946 to 2010. The population hovers somewhere in the mid 20s. In 2016 there were 26 residents, down from a high of 32 in 2013.

Appy,

Appy is a one-road-in, one-road-out town.Photo courtesy of Renault

Though there aren’t many residents, each one of them has been given a new Renault Zoe to use for three years. The Zoe is an all-electric model that offers 245 miles of range (WLTP) from its 52-kilowatt-hour battery. It can be charged to 90 miles of range in just 30 minutes with a DC charger. It comes standard with a home charger.

The five-door supermini car is already popular in Europe – over 100,000 are on the streets. The publicity stunt by Renault is a move to show that the push toward an electrified future is not just for those living in urban areas. To date, over 300,000 electric Renaults have been sold.

To accommodate the shift to all electric vehicles, a public charger will be installed in the town. Despite its low population and dense, yet small, city center, Appy is surrounded by steep mountains and winding roads – an atypical challenge for the car.

As part of the deal, town residents will be offering feedback to Renault about the models during their tenure.

The Renault Zoe has had its battery power updated for the 2020 model year. It features recycled materials in the cabin. It is part of a larger electrified lineup that includes the Clio, Twingo, Captur, and Mégane.

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