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Renault to guarantee RVs on electric vehicles

Date: 22 September 2009   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Renault is pledging to have "packages" to help guarantee RVs when it launches its range of electric vehicles from late next year.

Fleet operators will provide the major impetus for Renault's zero emission crusade, which involves bringing four electric vehicles to market by 2012, according to the programme's director Thierry Koskas.

Speaking at the recent Frankfurt motor show Koskas said: "Fleet operators across Europe, particularly in countries like the UK, provide the big opportunity for market take-off, even if these vehicles should have universal market appeal."

Stephen Norman, Renault's British global senior marketing vice president, added: "To start off we will have fairly solid guarantees on residual values, which at worst will be the same as cars from premium makes at similar prices.

"There will be packages which provide these guarantees."

He also claimed the cost of ownership and maintenance of the EVs should be "significantly lower" than equivalent diesel models while priced at "around the same" as those counterparts, with Government subsidies factored in.

Battery packs will be leased for around £90 a month, said Koskas, providing ranges between recharging of between 62 and 100 miles depending on the model.

Renault is forging partnerships with 30 companies and is confident on picking up business for airside airport fleets from BA, Air France and Lufthansa and believes 20% of its production will be EVs in "the medium term".

First to market will be the Kangoo van and Mondeo-sized Fluence saloon, both due in early 2011. They will be followed by the radical, urban two-seater tandem format Twizy later that year and the production version of the Zoë, a Clio-sized four-seater hatchback arriving mid 2012.

The Twizy, which will not be far removed from the concept show car, occupies a footprint not much larger than a scooter with a claimed top speed of 47mph and acceleration on a par with a 125cc motorbike from its 20PS electric motor. Occupants are protected by airbags and safety harnesses. It has a 62-mile range, which is still above Renault's claimed daily European commuting norm of 37 miles.

In production form the Zoë will lose its front scissor and rear butterfly doors and be based on a lightweight chassis designed specifically for electric running gear.