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Renault launches outright purchase model for EVs

Date: 27 November 2014   |   Author:

Renault has launched its outright purchase strategy called 'i' for its Zoe and Kangoo ZE models, which it hopes will unlock additional fleet sales.

Renault revealed its intentions to launch i to BusinessCar in September, with fleet customers a particular target for the offer following feedback from potential corporate customers and residual value setters.

The option to outright-purchase EVs will run in addition to Renault's current option to lease the battery separately.

Outright purchase vehicles will be badged as Zoe i and Kangoo ZE i to identify them easily on the used market. There are no changes to specification beyond adding a black dashboard top for all future Zoe models.

The entry-level Zoe i is priced from £18,443 including the Government grant, which is a £4448 increase over the list price of the battery-leased version.

The entry-level Kangoo ZE i price increases by £3116 to £16,161. The price rise still makes the Zoe cheaper than the VW eUp, which starts at £19,525, and the entry-level Nissan Leaf, which starts at £21,490.

The i models come with a five-year/60,000-mile warranty on the battery, in addition to a standard Renault four-year/100,000-mile warranty on the vehicle.

Valuation firm Cap has been critical of Renault's model of leasing the battery separately, but has reacted to this move positively.

Martin Ward, Cao manufacturer relationship manager, said: "Cap welcomes any steps that broaden choice for the customer and increase the opportunities for take-up of these cars."

Renault is expecting a positive impact on the Zoe and Kangoo's residual value as a result of launching i, but could not comment with a specific figure until Cap and its rival Glass's update their price guides.

The Zoe is second to the Leaf in terms of sales volumes in the UK with 1058 sold since launch. Renault has sold 682 units of the Kangoo ZE.

Ken Ramirez, Renault UK's MD, would not be drawn on how many additional sales the i models would add, but said he was confident the new model would not cannibalise battery lease sales.

Ramirez was adamant the full purchase offer was not a change in strategy, but an additional offering that will help Renault gain incremental sales. He also expects the battery lease option to continue to be the main way customers fund their Renault EV purchases.

However, he admits that by not having an outright purchase model in place Renault would have missed out on potential sales before.

Ben Fletcher, Renault UK EV product manager, said: "It's all been about customer feedback and it's another route to market for us.

"Full purchase builds on the lease strategy and we don't want to stand in the way of what some customers have been asking for.

"From a fleet perspective, outright purchase is easier to integrate with their systems and processes."