Economy, Auto

Renault: People Now Accept Power of EVs

Renault: People Now Accept Power of EVsRenault: People Now Accept Power of EVs

Renault, a pioneer of electric cars, says mainstream acceptance of electric vehicles is reaching a tipping point and it welcomes increasing competition as European rivals such as Volkswagen and Opel push harder into the market.

In 2011, the Renault-Nissan alliance set a goal of selling 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles by 2016. CEO Carlos Ghosn admitted in 2013 that the target would not be met, saying it would take an additional four or five years. Last year, the alliance reported global EV sales of 94,265 and a cumulative total of 424,797 units, Automotive News Europe writes.

Gilles Normand, Renault’s head of EVs, said the automaker’s overall EV sales figures were “moderate” but added that what is important is that overall investment in electric vehicle technology and infrastructure continues to be robust.

“We are reaching the tipping point now that we have more range. People can go beyond commuting and make more and more long distance trips.”

Normand said increased competition was welcome because it would generate more spending on research and development, and bring more suppliers into the EV market, especially battery makers.

Opel is rolling out this spring its Ampera-E hatchback, a sister car to the Chevrolet Bolt, for which it claims a 500-km range, under the NEDC European testing cycle. That beats the 400-km top range of Renault’s and Europe’s top-selling EV, the Zoe.

Volkswagen Group is accelerating its plans to bring purpose-built EVs to market and in a few years, the automaker’s VW, Skoda and Seat brands will be introducing volume EVs underpinned by the company’s dedicated MEB modular architecture for electric vehicles.

Normand also sees the longer range of its Zoe as a tipping point to winning mass-market acceptance of EVs.

Renault launched an updated Zoe in October with a larger 40 kilowatt-hour battery that boosted the car’s range to 400 km under the NEDC cycle and 300 km in real-world driving. Renault has taken 15,000 orders for the extended-range Zoe, Normand said.

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