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by Daniel DeGasperi

The Renault Fluence ZE will die a premature death following the announcement earlier this year that the Better Place battery swap company was dissolved.

Renault Australia MD Justin Hocevar confirmed that the local arm of the French brand has “no more battery swap [plans]” hinting that the death of Better Place will bury the Fluence ZE and with it future plans for other battery-swap models.

“If there’s demand for battery swap in other markets then they may offer Fluence EV,” tells Hocevar. “But remember Fluence ZE was the only car available with battery swap.

“It was specifically developed in collaboration with Better Place.”


“I would say the lion’s share of EVs sold by the group will be fixed battery, which was always the original plan.

“It’s fair to say any ongoing sales of Fluence ZE with battery swap will be limited to Israel, Denmark and France [and] it’s probably going to be on a pretty small scale.”

The Fluence ZE (which stands for Zero Emissions) was engineered to work with Better Place’s battery leasing scheme, which meant the batteries used to power the electric motor were not part of the car, but could be exchanged at ‘battery swap’ service stations on the run.

Closer to home, Renault Australia will focus on bringing the Kangoo ZE to market in a small-scale trial, while the local arm believes government incentives are needed to make Zoe ZE small car a valid proposition locally.

  • StevieP

    LOLing hard at the title

    • StevieP

      Truth be told, all Fluences should go to a better place.

      • StevieP

        Then again, the (upcoming for Aus) facelift improves things markedly.

    • Darryl

      Wouldn’t be difficult to turn that building into a funeral home.

  • Karl Sass

    Pity, I reckon battery swap technology has real merit. It will be an uphill battle getting it established though

    • jety

      This particular effort had no merit though.

      The proposed price for the Fluence EV of approx $30K would’ve been a absolute rip off considering EV’s are only expensive due to the battery. The Fluence EV battery wasn’t included in the price and was leased so the EV without the battery should’ve been at least as cheap as the petrol version at $22K.

      Then there was the range. 150km is no good for people who want to do long trips. Yea you can swap the battery, but do you want to have to stop 6 or 7 times on a Syd-Melb trip for battery swaps? Apart from the fact it would take decades for them to make enough swap stations – of course it it had more range, there wouldnt be a need for so many swap stations.
      Tesla have announced they’re going to be doing battery swaps. I don’t know why a small start up company is showing everyone the way, but with a 300-400km range on their cars, it’s a realistic range for a long trip with only having to stop once or twice for a swap. Their longer range also means they wont have to install so many swapping stations.
      Also their swapping only takes 90 secs whilst Betterplace/Renaults – despite having 4 times less capacity – takes 4 minutes.

      • Karl Sass

        Yes I agree, it was terribly expensive. I was referring to the concept of battery swapping in general rather than this particular venture. Tesla are a great example, better range combined with battery swapping makes the range issue effectively solved. Battery swapping also makes it much easier to take advantage of new battery technology as they get cheaper, lighter and more powerful, compared to cars that have a fixed battery.

        • Dave W

          It might solve the range issue plaguing EVs, but I think it kinda beats the purpose of having EV in the first place, which is to be green.

          While the EV itself is green with zero emission, the battery technology itself isn’t really. Having to build many more batteries for spares isn’t really the best way to go about it.

          They should stop wasting their time with conventional EV and go straight for hydrogen fuel cell technology.

      • Dave W

        Because Tesla targets the affluent market that doesn’t mind paying the premium as long as the product is good. The perfect market for the still-expensive EV technology.

  • Dominique Vøn Hütch

    Hey at least they tried…