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Electric-Car Makers Need To Sell More Of Their Existing Cars, Says Renault

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2013 Renault Zoe electric car

2013 Renault Zoe electric car

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The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt might be leading plug-in car sales in the U.S, but in Europe one in two electric cars sold as a Renault.

That doesn't mean high sales of course, but it means Renault has a foothold in a growing market, and one it isn't keen to let go of.

And as part of its own brand strategy over the next few years, there's a message other electric automakers would do well to take notice of: make the most of your current electric vehicles, rather than spreading the technology too thin.

It may seem like an unusual take for a company with four production electric models--the Twizy urban vehicle, Zoe subcompact, Fluence compact and Kangoo van--but Renault says it won't be adding to that range any time soon.

As Autocar reports, Renault has sold around 29,000 electric cars worldwide since its first models, the Fluence and Kangoo, arrived in 2010. The bulk of those are the Kangoo itself, and the tiny Twizy, popular in European cities and for its low price.

Renault Zoe electric car: First drive of Europe's Leaf alternative

The key here is reducing costs. Redoubling efforts to sell existing product improves economies of scale both on the electric drivetrain technologies and the vehicles themselves. And those lower costs aid both profitability and, when passed on to consumers, sales volumes.

Renault's most recent sales results show the Zoe is selling in respectable volumes in Europe, with 4,770 registrations in the first half of 2013--a 29.5 percent share of the market. As more automakers launch their own EVs that market share is unlikely to remain static, further emphasizing the need to push existing products.

That doesn't mean work can't go on behind the scenes, and Renault adds that improving battery range with its supplier is a priority.

Education matters too. The latest wave of electric vehicles includes plenty of great cars, but Renault's global head of electric vehicles, Béatrice Foucher, told Autocar that more needs to be done to educate potential buyers on price, charging and range.

The electric car market won't (and mustn't) cease development, but Renault's underlying message is simply to get those volumes up and costs down before promising the next generation of electric vehicles.

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Comments (10)
  1. Saving the environment is not is not the only good reason to have an electric car. A lot of people drive very short distances which is very bad for an internal combustion engine. Maintenance costs should also be greatly reduced.
     
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  2. "The key here is reducing costs. Redoubling efforts to sell existing product improves economies of scale both on the electric drivetrain technologies and the vehicles themselves."

    Is that implying that the economies of scale doesn't apply to batteries? Or is it included in the "electric drivetrain"?
     
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  3. Well, sense batteries already have scale, it wouldn't help too much if they use the same cells in all the cars. If they use 18650s like tesla does, or a similar strategy, they get the scale of a battery already mass produced for thousands of different things.
     
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  4. Mass production only reduce production cost, not necessarily raw material cost.

    Thinking of it as "semiconductors" or personal electronics are just silly.
     
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  5. While I generally agree with the tone of the article which to me says that the economies of scale will reduce price and that current problems should be addressed before introducing new ones, I feel that the biggest obstacle to sales and acceptance of EVs is the dealership itself. In my opinion sales will continue to lag until we see dealers who sell only EVs; the maintenance schedule of the ICE is just too lucrative for a dealer.
     
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  6. i dont think that will happen for quite awhile.

    the market share isnt there yet for a dealer just to carry evs.

    the current maintenance on cars will gradually diminish. not much the dealers can do about it, since bevs dont have much maintenance.

    but as you stated, dealers wont be rushing away from.

    leaving, cuz they eventually will have no choice.
     
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  7. The best reason to use an electric car is because it saves you money. renault would have sold many more cars in Israel if it had not been a 34 thousand dollar car WITHOUT the battery which was supplied by Better Place. They can still dominate the market by driving prices of lease vehicles down, and increasing battery energy density. The ZF battery mounted in the Zero MC is twice as dense as the Fluence ZE 22KwH batt
     
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  8. @Dusty Wells: I agree with what you say. The dealerships need to do a better job selling EV's. In my region I never see a TV commercial Not Nissan...Not GM...noone. I understand that they think that they won't advertise until there are more sales. The dealerships certainly need to let people know the benefits of EV's. The only salepersons are the owners themselves NOT the sales personnel at dealerships.
     
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  9. but at least owners are the best salespeople.

    again, cars on the road .....
     
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  10. I have been told blatantly by a Nissan dealer that the Leaf is not available in my area while seven miles away another Nissan dealer tells me he can get me one but tries very hard to talk me into a Versa.
     
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