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The Australian launch of the battery-swapping Renault Fluence Z.E. electric car has stalled.

Renault Australia today confirmed it has been forced to postpone the local introduction of the Fluence Z.E. “until further notice” after Israel-based electric vehicle network provider Better Place yesterday announced its decision to cut funding from its Australian program and conduct a wind-down of its local operations.

The innovative design of the Renault Fluence Z.E. allows owners to swap depleted batteries for fully charged ones, giving it a distinct advantage over conventional recharge-only electric vehicles, but also making it hugely dependent on supporting infrastructure.

In partnership with Better Place, Renault originally planned to offer the Fluence Z.E. to customers in Canberra during the second quarter of 2012 before selling it to the public from select dealers across the country by the end of the year. Hold-ups with the rollout of Better Place Australia’s charging and battery-swapping network delayed Renault’s plans last year, and yesterday’s announcement forced an indefinite pause – and potentially the complete abandonment – of the Fluence Z.E.’s local introduction.

Renault says it remains committed to launching electric vehicles in our market and is looking at other options.

“Renault Australia believes in the future of electric vehicles. It will continue working towards the introduction of Renault brand EV models in the future, such as the innovative, purpose-built Zoe.”

The Renault Zoe (above) is a five-door city-sized hatchback with a pure-electric range of 210km. In France, the Zoe is priced comparatively to the similarly sized Renault Clio.

Renault Australia has set no timeline on when it expects to launch its first EV onto the market.

  • dave

    Bring the Zoe to Australia damn it! Looks cool :)

  • Tex

    I really hope this speeds up the process with the Zoe. A really (almost conventional) good looking hatchback with a capable range of 210km. Would absolutely make a great 2nd car for people living in and around the city, or first car if you do plenty of kms in the city.

    I can think of many businesses in and around the CBD that could benefit from having one of these on the fleet. Not to mention the Kangoo ZE.

    DO IT!

  • LowRezFez

    Z.E. Fluence, she is not coming to Australie?

  • MisterZed

    I don’t think anyone remembered the Fluence EV was even coming to Australia in the first place.

  • Fhg

    This delay seems pretty stupid. Surely people buying a 185Km range EV won’t be planning to do lots of kms a day and be relying on battery change stations? I’d expect anyone buying one to do less than 185kms a day and charge the car at home overnight.

  • Zaccy16

    thank goodness for that! the fluence was another underenginnered renault!