Renault moves away from LFP batteries

2021 - Renault eWays press conference - Renault 5 Electric highlights
2021 - Renault eWays press conference - Renault 5 Electric highlights

Yesterday I wasted my time watching Renault’s eWays pathetic event. This was the event where Renault was going to show us how to popularize electric cars and finally make them affordable. I was expecting the announcement of something obvious to cut costs like a CTP (cell-to-pack) battery pack made with prismatic LFP (LiFePO4) cells.

Instead, Renault changed the strategy and moved the goalposts again. Renault’s electric cars won’t compete with their gas-counterparts in price and availability anytime soon.

The French automaker informed us that it’ll keep using modules with NCM battery cells exclusively and the Renault 5 Electric won’t actually be affordable, not even in 2024…

 

Let’s see the highlights from the press release.

 

Renault Group makes a historic acceleration in its EV strategy, leveraging its technological and industrial assets along with 10 years of experience in electric mobility to make bold choices and offer competitive, sustainable, and popular electric vehicles.                                             

  • COMPETITIVE & SUSTAINABLE:
    • The greenest mix in the European market in 2025, with over 65% of electric and electrified vehicles in the sales mix and up to 90% electric vehicles in the Renault brand mix in 2030.
    • Renault ElectriCity: a compact, efficient, high-tech electric ecosystem in Northern France, combined with the Group’s e-powertrain MegaFactory in Normandy.
    • A strategic partnership with Envision AESC to build a gigafactory in Douai to support the manufacture of latest technology, cost-competitive, low-carbon batteries from 2024.
    • A joint project with the French start-up Verkor to codevelop a high-performance, locally sourced, and sustainable battery by 2022.
    • A standardized cell footprint covering 100% of future BEV launches across all segments to reduce costs by 60% at pack level by 2030.
    • A highly compact e-powertrain enabling -30% on costs and -45% on wasted energy, giving an extra EV range of up to 20km.
  • POPULAR & AFFORDABLE:
    • A more balanced and more profitable product portfolio with 10 new electric vehicles.
    • Two icons with Renault 5 costing 33% less compared to ZOE and another timeless revival with ‘4ever‘.
    • A muscled-up all-electric C-segment with the All-new MéganE in 2022.
    • Renault Group expertise in generating added value throughout the battery lifecycle with Mobilize: up to 400 euros per year with V2G for EV drivers and a residual value of up to 500 euros per battery

 

2021 - Renault eWays press conference - Renault battery costs roadmap

2021 – Renault eWays press conference – Renault battery costs roadmap

 

Batteries: mastering NMC chemistry to produce one million units Alliance-wide by 2030

Leveraging its 10-year experience in the electric vehicle value chain, Renault Group’s battery strategy led to bold standardization choices within the Alliance to unleash competitiveness. With NMC based chemistry (Nickel, Manganese & Cobalt) and a unique cell footprint, the Group will cover 100% of the future BEV launches across all segments. It will cover all ranges with up to one million electric vehicles Alliance-wide by 2030. This chemistry choice delivers a very competitive ratio of cost per kilometer, with up to 20% more range compared to other chemistry solutions and a much better recycling performance.

At cell level, the Group will offer:
– As part of its EV strategy, Renault Group is partnering with Envision AESC which will develop a gigafactory in Douai with a capacity of 9 GWh in 2024 aiming at reaching 24 GWh by 2030. Close to Renault ElectriCity, Renault Group’s partner will produce latest technology, cost-competitive, low-carbon and safe batteries for electric models, including the future Renault 5.

– Renault Group has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to become shareholder of the French start-up Verkor with a stake of over 20%. The two partners intend to co-develop a high-performance battery suitable for the C and higher segments of the Renault range, as well as for the Alpine models. The partnership includes the development of a pilot production line in France for battery cells and module prototyping from 2022. In a second step, starting from 2026, Verkor aims to build the first gigafactory for high performance batteries in France, with an initial capacity of 10 GWh for the Renault Group, potentially rising to 20 GWh by 2030.

In less than 10 years, the Group will drive its costs down step by step by 60% at pack level, with a target below 100 dollars/kWh in 2025, and even under 80 dollars/kWh while preparing the arrival of All Solid State Battery technology within the Alliance in 2030.

 

2021 - Renault eWays press conference - Renault electric cars price to range ratio

2021 – Renault eWays press conference – Renault electric cars price to range ratio

 

While Renault talked about the future adoption of important technologies to improve electric cars, such as 800-volt systems and V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid), the most important information we got from this eWays event is that Renault won’t adopt LFP (LiFePO4) battery cells anytime soon and will focus on NCM chemistry instead. This represents a change in strategy and is surprising in a bad way.

Previously, Renault’s CEO Luca de Meo suggested multiple times that in the near future, electric cars from Renault would be available with two batteries chemistries (LFP and NCM). It would be a strategy similar to what Tesla and Volkswagen already announced.

 

Battery chemistries comparison by Tesla

Battery chemistries comparison by Tesla

 

Without LFP batteries the Renault 5 Electric won’t be the affordable electric car that we expected it to be. Now with an expected price of 27.600 euros (69 euros per km of range) it’s unlikely to become a game changer when it arrives in 2024…

Notice that in 2024 there will be no government subsidies to buy electric cars, this means that in some countries the Renault 5 Electric will actually be more expensive to buy than the Renault ZOE is today. It won’t be the affordable electric car that Renault promised us!

 

Pretending that isn’t currently possible to make good electric cars that are also affordable is just a strategy that most automakers use to prevent the implementation of stricter emissions regulations. Automakers need to convince the general public and policy makers that with today’s battery technology electric cars can’t replace nor compete with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars in price and availability. This is an obvious TINA (there is no alternative) strategy that the status quo regularly uses and I constantly try to debunk.

This way automakers can keep selling polluting cars that poison the air that we breathe without consequences.

Fortunately, Chinese automakers are proving that good affordable electric cars are already possible with today’s battery technology and the NETA V Co-sport Magic Edition that costs less than 12.000 euros without subsidies is a good example.

The surprised Pikachu meme sums up the current situation.

 

 

Surprised Euro carmakers

Surprised Euro carmakers

 

What do you think about Renault eWays event? Were you also disappointed?

 

 

More info:

https://en.media.renaultgroup.com/news/cp-eways-72d8-989c5.html

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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James
24 days ago

I didn’t see the event. But Renault are in serious danger of losing the small hatchback EV market to cheaper Chinese alternatives. The Zoe is good, but still lags behind on EV tech and should be much cheaper. LFP is vital for cheap small EVs. Also far easier to source huge scale raw materials for it. Oh Renault what a shame.

nono538
23 days ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Let’s see how the Spring will sell…this would be a first hint for EU market, but a lot of sales will come from car sharing providers, rental etc…K-ZE is no longer available in China, due to dispute with local retailers, and DRAC after Renault steps out of chinese market for ICE.

Rok
22 days ago
Reply to  nono538

I think De Meo said on the event that orders in May were around 10-18k with semiconductors shortage being the biggest constrain for the production. 40kWh Spring with LFP does sound very appealing!

Joey.K
24 days ago

This is a sad develoent. 2024 is so far away. They risk being left stranded. The disruption is well underway and cheaper LFP EVs from China and other places will probably be widely available by then. The new Renault 5 wont even be able to compete on price with a far superior Tesla “Model 2” $25 000 car that is coming at around the same time

Mike/Liverpool
24 days ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

EV’s will match ICE because Euro 7 will make ICE as expensive as EV’s.

I don’t want to upset people here but reading between the lines the car producers want HYDROGEN !!!!

Small buffer battery, fuel cell
Preview: Renault Kangoo ZE Maxi with a hydrogen fuel cell range extender – YouTube

Then they also do a “bait & switch”
Get Hydrogen pumps put in everywhere for “Fuel cell”……………then Two stroke twin piston H2 BURNING engines arrive..

Mike/Liverpool
24 days ago
Reply to  Mike/Liverpool
Mike/Liverpool
24 days ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Very much so!
While expensive EV’s will not do much for us, what we need is a good price family EV, does NOT need to 0-100 in 2.8 secs!…….94 bhp is fine, vast number of people will never go much over 150 km/h

Freddy
24 days ago
Reply to  Mike/Liverpool

Yeahp.. I have a 2018 leaf 40kwh and rarely put the pedal to the metal… Usually only using up to 20kw of the 109kw power available from the motor…

Mike/Liverpool
24 days ago
Reply to  Freddy

Can’t wait to see their faces when BYD arrives……sure it will struggle to displace BMW/MERC/Audi……but if they attack the Ford Focus market with a Fiesta size outside size & Focus inside………i remember Japan arriving in the 1970’s…..they KILLED the piss poor cars that we where forced to buy

Mike/Liverpool
24 days ago
Reply to  Mike/Liverpool
Mike/Liverpool
24 days ago
Reply to  Mike/Liverpool
Jordan Scott
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike/Liverpool

Hey thank you, I’m actually the presenter in this video and really hope that people around the world can learn more about BYD, AND hope that some of our products come to a market near you soon!

Mike/Liverpool
23 days ago
Reply to  Jordan Scott

Hi Jordan
Do you know if BYD plan to ship to the UK/.Europe soon?
If so what will the range/models be?
Cheers
Mike

Jordan Scott
20 days ago
Reply to  Mike/Liverpool

Hi Mike,
The first stop for BYD in Europe is going to be Norway with the Tang EV. The first 100 vehicles are already on the boat and will arrive soon. A total of 1,500 are planned for Norway this year. Nio and Xpeng are following similar strategies of getting their feet wet in Norway, and I think everyone is going to see how the market receives these EVs. I imagine if it is a success, more markets in Europe will be sure to follow. I wish you could drive the Han EV, it is an incredible car that is right up there with the very best.

nono538
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike/Liverpool

indeed, chinese OEM are starting to pave the way for massive market BEV introduction from now on. And if such product really comes, it may hit hard the market (still a couple of EU people will be reluctant to purchase chinese car, but not the majority I believe)

nono538
23 days ago

I know very well the Electrification strategy of Renault, and I was also quite surprised by nothing mentioned about LFP cells, only NMC. I did same calculation than you Pedro, to check possible MSRP of the upcoming R5, and it’s not in the expected range. I would have assumed something around 20-22k EUR. Moreover, looks like they did compare with 2021 car prices such as e-208, Fiat 500e and Honda-e for the B-seg, which may offer in future technical updates for same price, or lower retail prices in 2024 !
However, it’s a nice neo-retro design, hence I feel it will sell well. More doubtful about the other concept 4ever (4L)…
In the end, they follow somehow similar strategy than PSA before Stellantis merger, establishing partnerships or JV in more or less every value chain segment….
Not sure they will get cheaper prices from LG Chem in the next years after the AESC/Envision Gigafactory announcments 🙂

Mike/Liverpool
23 days ago
Reply to  nono538

Sorry Guys, i am looking after my new German shapard puppy, its 01:30 here in the UK & she trying to eat everything!

The OEM’s are playing for time, 2024 Hydrogen race at Le mann starts, we know that F1 is going to use new tec 2 stroke engines, may be powered by H2…..WAS SHOCKED TO FIND THAT tOYOTA’S NEW bev IS byd PLATFORM + BATTERY !

Maarten Vinkhuyzen
23 days ago

Pedro, you are even more disappointed than I was after listening to three hours of marketing BS.
We don’t make friends in Boulogne-Billancourt.
You can read my impression later today on Cleantechnica.com

It is too long to repeat here in the comments

Maximilian Holland
23 days ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Maarten’s article should appear within the next few hours (Friday evening / early Saturday).

Julian
23 days ago

We won’t get affordable electric cars from Renault, but at least we get good memes 😀

Maximilian Holland
23 days ago

I agree Pedro – it appears that Renault are planning to fail! It makes zero sense that they wouldn’t have a pathway using LFP for the mass market vehicles.
Let’s see what Stellantis are planning to do in their upcoming presentation.

Mike/Liverpool
23 days ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Hi Pedro
Any chance of you installing a forum on this site?
I think it would be a winner!
cheers
Mike

Rok
22 days ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Well, Astra is being on its’ final road tests before being presented probably in Frankfurt. I just hope it won’t be another the first EV platform, 45kWh car from them with “claimed” range of around 300km.

Max Power
23 days ago

Not desapointed by Renault. It’s just a clear and realistic path to EV democratization. Tesla is selling marketing BS. They said TM3 would be sold at 35k$. In US it’s sold 40k$, in EU 45k€ (except in France and Germany were Tesla decided to sell it at loss just to be eligible at the max level of incentives and dump the maket). They said LFP would be a game changer. Not at all, it’s just lower quality especially in winter conditions and not so cheap at the end.

Maarten Vinkhuyzen
23 days ago

Just discussed production costs with a charging specialist. The way to go for Dacia Spring would be no AC charging standard, but DC charging standard. Makes the car lighter and cheaper. AC charger as a portable cable add-on.

And of course a bigger battery. LFP now, LFMP in the future.

NickM
22 days ago

That’s a fascinating idea Maarten. How much do you guess it would save in cost and weight to leave out the AC->DC inverter?

Rok
22 days ago

I am quite a Renault fan and was also very surprised by the fact they did not announce some sort of a LFP battery – I was expecting something into LNMO direction. What is even more strange to me is the fact that they did not announce using NCMA in the new Megane. What they said is the new model will have 60kWh battery without telling us if it will also be offered in 90kWh version like Ariya. However, later in the video we could see 700Wh/L and claimed range of up to 580km but I hope those are not connected because waiting until 2024 for that range is just bad thing to do.

At least there were some silver linings from the event in order to still have some hope in this brand (and Alliance). At one point Philippe Brunet announced cobalt-free mixture by 2025/26 – here. Also, in Q&A he said cost difference between NCM and LFP is just 10% which surprised me and made me wonder whether they have some really shitty partner deals in place or is it something different.

However, I do believe local Gigafactories and being less dependent on China will reduce the price and bring new tech breakthroughs. Also, I liked that they moved towards 800V system and V2G and perks like heating cabin with electric motor-generated heat. Last but not least, Renault is known to have strategy “under promising, over delivering” that is not oftenly used by new EV startups.

Regarding Renault 5, I believe there is still hope it would be affordable. Sophie Schmidtlin said that its’ battery pack should cost below 85$/kWh and that should make it affordable as they claimed – 33% cheaper than the Zoe.

All in all, the presentation left me cold-blooded. Generally, I expected more but there we also some positive things. Let’s see what happens at the end but I really hope Renault steps up its’ game, ramp up production above expected 1 million with new, affordable, tech-driven EVs with looks and perks that we are used from them. I would be sad if they have failed at it because that would mean a certain end for them.

Flo
21 days ago

No wonder Mercedes switched and partnered up with Geely to produce future Smart BEV crossovers.

Renault/Nissan played their hand with early success the worst possible way. Now they’re losing not only to foreign companies, but foremost to Stellantis..

Rok
20 days ago

On energy production front there are some interesting news from SK:

  • the order backlog of over 1 TWh should generate 130 trillion won of revenue ($115 billion), which is less than $115/kWh;
  • Over 500 GWh annually by 2030
  • 1+ TWh of battery orders have CATL, SK and LG Chem.