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Renault unveils final electric Fluence and Kangoo Van

Renault Fluence Z.E. is its first production saloon electric vehicle.

Renault has unveiled the finalised designs of the Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Van Z.E., while customers wishing to be among the first to run an electric car can pre-reserve their vehicle.

Renault estimates that electric vehicles will account for 10 per cent of the world market by 2020. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is investing euro 1 billion in its zero emissions programme and a 2,000-strong team (1,000 at Renault and 1,000 at Nissan) is already working on electric vehicles .

Following the unveiling of the Fluence Z.E. Concept at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault has taken the wraps off the finalised design of Fluence Z.E. which is due to go on sale in Israel, Denmark and the rest of Europe from 2011. The Fluence Z.E. will be the C segment’s first production saloon electric vehicle.

Renault has also revealed the finalised design of the Kangoo Van Z.E. This vehicle will be released in the first half of 2011 and will have an operational range of 160km.

The electric version of Kangoo Van features the same practicality as the internal combustion-engined vehicle, i.e. the same carrying capacity and the same payload (650kg).

Renault is inviting those customers who want to be among the first motorists to own an electric vehicle to pre-reserve via a dedicated website: . Registration is free and enables prospective buyers to choose their vehicle and benefit from priority availability as soon as it comes to market.

These customers will then be contacted by Renault as the date of the vehicle’s release approaches to obtain confirmation of their reservation.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is working actively with governments, administrative bodies, local authorities, energy providers and other partners. To date, it has signed more than 50 agreements across the world aimed at preparing markets and establishing the necessary infrastructure for the mass marketing of electric vehicles from 2011.

These privately- and publicly-steered undertakings indicate that the necessary infrastructures and charging facilities will be operational when electric vehicles come to market. This will consequently reassure prospective electric vehicle users that simple, practical solutions will be in place to enable them to charge their battery, both at home and by the roadside.

In France, the ‘Borloo Plan’ will see the installation of 75,000 roadside battery charging stations. It also introduces the notion of a “right of access to an electrical connection” for motorists who reside in a joint-ownership building or property.

Spain recently outlined a 15-point Electric Vehicle Action Plan, a public investment programme amounting to euro590 million over two years and the introduction of 250,000 electric vehicles between now and 2014 (20,000 in 2011, 50,000 in 2012). The government will subsidise the purchase of electric vehicles by up to 20 per cent of the total purchase price, capped at â‚Ź6,000. It will also provide assistance with the development and production electric vehicles in Spain and the introduction of battery charging infrastructures.

The Irish government has announced a euro5,000 subsidy for buyers of electric vehicles. Electricity provider ESB plans to build 3,500 standard battery charge stations and 30 quick charge stations nationwide between now and the end of 2011.

The UK Government announced a subsidy of 25% off the purchase price of an electric vehicle (up to a maximum of £5,000) from 2011.

In certain countries, private initiatives are also at a very advanced stage. Better Place is in the process of developing a network of battery charge and battery exchange stations across Israel and Denmark to prepare for the introduction of the market’s first saloon electric vehicle, Renault Fluence Z.E., in 2011.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is working closely with a number of pilot projects aimed at evaluating full-scale mobility systems.

Renault is to introduce a range of innovative ownership options.

For the first time, the vehicle and the battery will belong to different owners. Customers will either buy or hire their vehicle and take out a subscription that covers the hire of the battery and the availability of new mobility services designed to facilitate the life of consumers.

Renault’s aim is to market electric vehicles at prices comparable with those of a diesel-powered car of an equivalent size and equipment level. The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of electric vehicles will be similar to that of internal combustion-engined vehicles from launch.

Renault and Better Place have committed to providing the Israeli and Danish markets with 100,000 Fluences between now and 2016. In 2011, Fluence will be imported and distributed in Israel by Better Place.

Renault will manufacture its first four zero-emission vehicles in four different factories, with production beginning in 2011.

Battery production will become one of the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s core activities. Renault and Nissan will produce lithium-ion batteries on three continents – America, Asia and Europe – in order to supply the assembly plants for the forthcoming EVs from a local source.

Batteries will initially be purchased from the Nissan-NEC joint venture AESC and imported from Japan. Factories will then gradually be established as close as possible to the vehicle production facilities.

Battery production facilities are currently under development in Flins (France), Sunderland (UK), Cacia (Portugal), Smyrna (Tennessee, USA), Zama (Japan).

This multi-localisation will lead to secure supplies and lower logistical costs, while also permitting higher production volumes. Thanks to this arrangement, the Alliance will eventually be capable of producing 475,000 batteries yearly.

The Fluence Z.E. will be manufactured in Turkey, on the same production line as the internal combustion engine-powered versions of the Fluence. Production is due to begin in the first half of 2011.

The electric version of the Fluence is actually 13 centimetres longer than the internal combustion-engined version in order to accommodate the battery behind the rear seats.

The battery can be recharged via a household mains supply (10A or 16A, 220V) which will fully charge the battery in between six and eight hours, or at fast charge stations using a 32A 400V supply which enables the battery to be charged in approximately 30 minutes (available from 2012). Renault is also planning on a QuickDrop battery switch system that will enable the Fluence Z.E.’s battery to be swapped in approximately three minutes at bespoke battery exchange stations.

Keywords: Renault Fluence Z.E., Renault Kangoo Van Z.E., The Renault-Nissan Alliance