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The 2012 Renault Fluence Z.E. will become the first electric vehicle in Australia that allows you to swap the battery in the time of a fuel stop and drive on with a fully charged car.

Renault Australia will launch the Fluence Z.E. (zero emission) compact sedan in Canberra in the second quarter of next year. It will become available across the rest of the country around six months later in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The Fluence Z.E. will have a driving range of 185km. A full recharge will take between six and eight hours (about 25km per hour). Alternatively, a complete battery exchange will take less than four minutes.

Renault Australia has signed a landmark agreement with Better Place, a pioneering electric car charging network provider in Australia, to support the Fluence Z.E.

Owners of the new electric Renaults will sign up for a Better Place membership package tailored to their driving needs. The subscription will provide unlimited access to batteries, the network of public charge spot and battery switch stations, and personal charge spots at home or work. Better Place says it is committed to supplying 100 percent renewable electricity.

A Better Place membership will also cover the cost of the car’s battery, which will be key to making the Fluence Z.E. affordable. Renault Australia is yet to reveal pricing information, although it is understood the Z.E. version will be priced close to the standard petrol version, which could mean a price of around $30,000.

The Renault Fluence Z.E. is driven by an electric motor with 70kW (at 11,000rpm) and 226Nm of torque. It is powered by a lithium-ion battery that is mounted behind the rear seats. Accelerating from 0-100km/h takes around nine seconds while the top speed is limited to 135km/h.

It will incorporate an ‘OSCAR’ navigation system designed by Better Place. The system will provide traditional route guidance information and will pinpoint charge spots and battery switch stations.

The car will grow 130mm in length to accommodate the battery, with some small changes to the exterior design.

The tachometer will be replaced by a colour-coded  ‘econo-meter’ with information about the remaining charge and range. The centre console display will identify the selected transmission mode: ‘forward’, ‘reverse’, ‘neutral’ or ‘parking’.

Other standard features will include Bluetooth phone connectivity, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers.

Pricing and local specifications will be revealed closer to the vehicle’s Australian launch in the second quarter of next year.

  • whatthe

    Does an Electric Fluence become the EFluence?

    • Kueps

      thanks for adding value to this blog.

  • Alexander

    This car has a Kim Kardashian sized rear end, it’s huge! apparently it’s been lengthened 10cm to fit the battery…

    • Alexander

      My bad, I skipped the part of that article saying it’s 13mm..

  • Henry

    u can buy this car on the sims3 and it’s real slow compared to the other cars in the game mabey that means it is a slow car…

  • mmmmmm

    bet this just evolves into a way for ‘them’ to charge to fill up your car.

    • Kueps

      oh right… because petrol companies don’t rely on you filling up your car? why wouldn’t we pay to remain mobile? Why wouldn’t we pay for what we use? But I love the sound of your conspiracy… brilliant.
      Maybe they could source oil from renewable sources?

  • http://Tesla Onepoppa

    Just watch all our fellow bloggers rubbish this car. The real problem which they have is that this car is very much the future of motoring – even in Australia where some people delude themselves in thinking that the petrol fuelled big six and V8 will go on for ever.

  • Octavian

    This is a great idea. Why didn’t Renault pioneer the hybrid, playing catchup now to leap frog the others I suppose.

    • Kueps

      Hybrid was only ever a half measure…. it still needs petrol and in Australia big government subsidies. Some brands like Renault set their goals higher and seek out real world solutions. It’s a shame that real innovation isn’t recognised in this narrow minded forum. Perhaps it is reflective of the website and its audience.

      • Lars

        Just wanted to add that this system already works in Denmark and Israel and apparently successfully. Now they want to prove that they can make it happen in the big country as well. We in the win-win situation!

  • Mav

    Nice concept. But on long drives, I don’t look forward to filling her up every 185 kms (provided there are swap stations along the way!!). So it is definitely limited to being a city car.

  • Eric

    So does this mean twice as many batteries to be built and disposed of.

    Not sure a 2 battery system is that green.


    • Kueps

      no… one battery per car, this is clear in the article.

  • Meanandgreen

    I have been waiting for this car to come out. Awesome! I live in the country and commute to work in the city. I am so sick of pumping CO2 into the air and having to f@#%ing pay to do so.

    Sign me up NOW!

  • Joe Blow

    Check out the TED talk about Better Place (Shai Agassi) from 2007 I think, before they got going. They seem to be pretty much on schedule.

  • Donna

    awesome … would make a great 2nd car for two car families. The car to drive the kids around locally, etc using normal car for long trips…. until the swap stations are all in place :-)

  • carl

    The battery swap idea is a revelation to charging/recharging,Renault/Nissan/Samsung. no hybrid in sight good move toward electric vehicles, should have occured a long time ago. Australia/australians perfect for this technology now!

  • http://newcars.indiandrives.com/carmodeldetails.php?make=Ford&model=Ford_Focus Ford Focus Prices

    This is an innovative and convenient way of charging really very nice !!