The minimalist Renault Twizy runabout has emerged as the most popular electric car in Renault’s expanding range, outselling the Fluence saloon by four to one in the UK.

Over a five-month period, 252 Twizys have been sold, compared with just 64 Fluence ZEs, although the Kangoo ZE commercial van, which appeals to many city centre delivery operators, is ahead overall on 279.

The picture is repeated across Europe, according to Renault sales and marketing director Stephen Norman. “The Twizy is a big success; it’s selling in line with expectations,” he said.

However, Norman doesn’t pull his punches about the current disappointing performance of Renault’s EV range to date. “Overall sales are running well below expectations,” he admitted. “The volume coming through is lower than we’d thought.”

Norman is now placing his confidence in the Zoe EV hatchback. It will go on sale early next year and ought to suit British buyers better than the Fluence.

“The Zoe has extraordinary roadholding because of its low centre of gravity,” he said, “and it has demonic acceleration that’s delivered in absolute silence.”

More usefully, the Zoe can travel 210km on a single charge, according to official figures, which Norman reckons will allow “an effective 100-mile range”.