Here we have the press release:
Today, Groupe Renault announces as of January 1st, 2017, Gilles Normand will become SVP, Electric Vehicle, reporting to Thierry Koskas, EVP, Sales and Marketing. He was most recently Groupe Renault SVP and Chairman of the Asia-Pacific region and member of the Renault Management Committee.
“I am very motivated by this new strategic challenge at a time when the Global EV market is entering into a significant growth phase. I look forward to working with the team to continue to drive our leadership in existing and new markets, and bring exciting EV vehicles to our customers”, said Gilles Normand.
Groupe Renault is leader of the electric vehicle market in Europe, with 25 % market share. Since 2012, Renault has sold more than 100.000 EVs. A major advancement in September 2016 saw the presentation of a new Renault ZOE equipped with ZE.40 battery, allowing it to reach a record 400 km homologated range. Groupe Renault is also working on a new affordable EV model.
EV market is now entering a new phase with longer battery ranges and emissions reduction objectives open opportunities for zero emissions cars, around the world. In this context, Groupe Renault strengthens the EV business unit, under Gilles Normand’s leadership.
Renault really needed a new strategy to sell EVs for a long time. The mandatory battery leasing clearly undermined the sales of Renault electric cars for many years, fortunately this is already changing in most countries – excluding France for now – with the introduction of the Renault Zoe ZE 40 with battery included.
But making the battery included isn’t enough to make electric cars mainstream. Renault has been promising the Renault Twingo ZE since 2014 and year after year, postponed its release by saying there isn’t enough demand for electric cars. Now that Renault confirmed that’s working on a new affordable electric car and no longer says that nobody wants electric cars, maybe the Renault Twingo ZE’s time is finally coming.
Renault is also considering the release of a plug-in hybrid based on the Eolab concept.
The Eolab is a very aerodynamic (0,235 Cd) and lightweight (995 kg) concept car, much more than the all-electric Renault Zoe. With the ZE 40 (41 kWh) battery it could have as much range as the Chevrolet Bolt EV/Opel Ampera-e. I don’t see any advantage in making it as a plug-in hybrid, BEV makes more sense and future proof. It just needs a CCS socket to support 100 kW fast charging and it’ll do great. It would also take the most efficient BEV title away from the Hyundai IONIQ Electric.
I was very upset with Renault’s strategy for electric cars for the last years. They built a great electric car, the Zoe, but seemed like they didn’t wanted to sell it and undermined it every time they could. Yet I think the tides have changed and 2017 will be a great year for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance electric cars. The opening of the LG Chem battery plant in Europe (Poland) next year has a lot to do with it.
What do you think? Is Renault really getting serious about electric cars this time?