Currently Renault Samsung Motors, which is 80 % owned by the French automaker Renault, only sells one electric car model in South Korea, the SM3 ZE.
The SM3 ZE isn’t particularly a success electric car, only 2.536 units have been sold in the country since its launch in October 2013 till April this year. This isn’t surprising considering that it’s a poor EV conversion of a platform designed for ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). The Renault Fluence ZE, which is basically the same car, was discontinued long ago in Europe due to poor sales.
Hyundai in the other hand, already sold 5.581 units of the IONIQ Electric since its launch last year in South Korea. Proving that good electric cars can sell in larger numbers.
Probably, feeling threatened by Hyundai, now Renault is considering to introduce the next generation Zoe to the South Korean market in 2019.
Renault Samsung Motors Corp. CEO Park Dong-hoon told Yonhap News Agency the following:
“We are considering introducing the next-generation Zoe electric car in the South Korean market in 2019, but we need to closely watch the market situations (for the launch of the Zoe electric car)”.
It’s about time that Renault starts exporting outside Europe its most successful electric car, especially in markets where the automaker is already present.
Nevertheless, even more interesting is the fact that we now have the official confirmation that the next generation Renault Zoe will arrive before 2020.
While the Renault Zoe isn’t expected to get its battery capacity significantly increased before 2020, I have reasons to believe that a new generation, or at least a facelift will arrive in 2018. This improved Zoe should bring an improved interior, DC fast charging capability with the CCS protocol, safety and autonomous driving features.
Improvements in the Zoe could even be unveiled as soon as October this year, since that’s when Renault is going to announce their new strategic plans – electric cars included.