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.