The Renault Zoe may get a big sister.
Automotive News reports Renault is working on a new electric vehicle that would sit atop the Zoe and rival the new Volkswagen ID.3.
While the Volkswagen Group has mapped out a sprawling family of electric vehicles, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance – despite having had a significant head start in EV production – is only now plotting out rivals for the upcoming EVs from its German competitor.
The new Renault EV could use a platform shared with Nissan and Mitsubishi. This would be a change of pace for the Alliance as, currently, the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf don’t use the same platform. There’s also the possibility it’ll be derived from an existing model.
Evidently, development hasn’t yet started on the new EV.
It’s not the only new electric vehicle Renault has planned. The company raised eyebrows earlier this year with its goal to introduce an EV to Europe within the next five years that would cost only €10,000 (A$16,250).
That’s just under half the price of the cheapest EVs currently available, such as the Smart Electric and Volkswagen e-Up! It’s also only a third the price of larger EVs like the Volkswagen ID.3. Renault’s own Zoe starts at around €21,000 (A$34,000).
Renault already sells a sub-Zoe electric vehicle in China. Based on the Indian Kwid, the City K-ZE is roughly the size of a Kia Picanto but with crossover styling. It’s also sold under the Alliance’s Chinese brand, Venucia.
After government subsidies, its price tag equates to less than €10,000. It is, however, a product designed for emerging markets. Sometimes these products translate well in Western Europe (see: the Alliance’s own Dacia range), others they don’t (see: Ford EcoSport).
Emmanuel Bouvier, commercial director of electric vehicles at Renault, told Automotive News the brand hopes to have eight electric models in its range by 2022 with the aim to "cover all segments with electric cars".
Nissan still has a stranglehold on the gold medal for world’s best-selling electric vehicle with the Leaf. Though Renault also offers all-electric versions of the Kangoo and Master vans, the Alliance risks falling behind the insurgent Volkswagen Group in the EV race.
It has been racked with turmoil lately, with the arrest of former leader Carlos Ghosn, poor financial results, and the collapse of merger talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. These events have also exposed friction between the two senior partners in the Alliance.
We reported in 2016 the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe would merge onto the one platform but that so far hasn't eventuated. The recently revealed 2020 Renault Zoe continues to use its old platform, although there have been numerous mechanical changes.