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Renault’s electric cars ‘will cost the same as its diesels’

Tue, 28 Apr 2009

By Richard Yarrow

Motor Industry

28 April 2009 12:10

Three electric vehicles (EVs) in development by Renault will cost the same as the equivalent diesels in Britain, the company has confirmed to CAR Online. Battery-powered electric Renaults are expected to cost from around £15,000 when they arrive in the next couple of years.

The announcement takes into account the UK Government’s £5000 EV incentive scheme announced earlier this month. Keith Hawes, Renault UK’s fleet director, explained that if, for example, a diesel car was priced £15,000, the EV would cost around £20,000. But the Government grant means the customer would only pay £15,000.

‘We will launch EV van and car versions of the Kangoo in 2011,’ he said. ‘However, the first Renault EV will be based on the Megane saloon, also due in 2011. There’s no decision on whether that will come to the UK because of the dominance of hatchbacks in the C-segment.’

A bespoke electric city car, not based on another vehicle, is due in 2012.

The initial EV trio will have a 100-mile range and be charged in three different ways. These would include plugging into a domestic electricity supply overnight, or during the day at the owner’s place of work.

However, the most technically advanced will be via battery transfer and Renault is already investigating the creation of network of drop-in stations where this could happen while you wait.

‘It would be a drive-in bay, something like a mechanical car wash, and the battery pack, which is fitted at the rear of the car, is swapped automatically from underneath in less than five minutes,’ said Hawes.

He added that drivers wouldn’t have a contract with Renault for this, but a third-party energy supplier. It’s most likely the battery transfer stations would be located at motorway service stations or trunk road garage forecourts, so they’re easily accessible.

By Richard Yarrow