When it came to sales of its Zoe electric vehicle, Renault may have been thinking Toyota Camry Hybrid numbers. What the French automaker will get is a fraction of that. Renault, which debuted the Zoe earlier this year, will sell about 10,000 of them this year, or about a fifth of its 50,000-unit target, Automotive News says, citing research company Inovey. Through the first nine months of the year, Zoe sales in Europe stood at about 6,600 units, or about 40 percent of what the Nissan Leaf sells in the US.

In fact, the Zoe, which is Renault's best-selling EV, is unlikely to hit its 50,000-unit annual target until the end of the decade, Automotive News says, citing a separate report from IHS Automotive. Zoe numbers should double to about 23,000 units next year and climb to about 26,000 in 2015, putting it on par with Tesla Model S sales this year (albeit not quite as fun). Renault is pricing the Zoe at about $21,000 in France, after government incentives and before you factor in the monthly rental lease on the car's battery.

This summer, Renault and sister company Nissan said they had together passed the 100,000-unit electric vehicle sales threshold worldwide, though more than 70 percent of those sales have been through Nissan.


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  • 17 Comments
      Anne
      • 10 Hours Ago
      Let's not underestimate the determination to put a negative slant on everything. There are certainly people/organisations that want to picture EV's as a failure. Yet what is easily lost in the negativity is that total EV sales are rising sharply in all markets. But let's be honest: as a car, the Zoe is not brilliant. As far as I'm concerned her strong points are the looks, the Cameleon charger and city driving. With regards to R-link I'm on the fence. I like it, but it could have been so much better. The interior suffers from cheap materials, a reflective dashboard, lack of a height adjustable driver's seat and split folding rear seat. It is very uncomfortable in hot weather (lack of heat resistant windshield, bad ventilation, sticky seats) It's a French car! Remember the Lada's of old that invariably had a terrific heater? Highway range suffers tremendously at speeds over 100 km/h. The ZE connect service is unreliable. The rear seat passengers have very little leg room (But Renault is touting the large boot. Who cares! This is by no means a travel car). What stands head and shoulders above all these minor drawbacks is the fact that Renault has (at least in The Netherlands) been totally absent in getting fast chargers in operation. There are now exactly zero Zoe capable fast chargers in The Netherlands, a situation that will very likely persist well into the next year. They touted the Cameleon charger as enablers of cheap fast chargers. Well, Renault, where are these fast chargers? They leave their sales rep's stand empty handed when a prospective customer asks them how a sort-of longish weekend trip would look like. That's a tough sell. Renault is suffering the ICE car company culture: viewing themselves as a manufacturer of vehicles and leaving the energy infrastructure to third parties. After all, hasn't this been the case for over a century? You provide the cars, some other company will provide the petrol? They should quickly start thinking of offering their customers a complete 'transportation solution', or suffer a lot more disappointments down the road. As a contrast, look at how brilliantly Tesla is addressing this issue with their Superchargers. Brilliant both from a technical and marketing perspective. Tesla deserves their success. And Renault deserves their non-success. As long as Renault doesn't get its act together wrt to charging infrastructure, their EV's will remain firmly in a niche market.
      Electron
      • 10 Hours Ago
      This car really deserves better. It's well designed and well priced too in France once the €7k subsidy is subtracted. Possible reasons for it's lack of success: -France is full of small ultra efficient diesels. -It's a city car in a country where most city folk are apartment dwellers -It's a bit underpowered at 60KW -the battery lease scheme is considered unattractive
      Spec
      • 10 Hours Ago
      Sell it in the USA! I know, Renaut is not here. Make a Nissan version.
        throwback
        • 10 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        I suggest they concentrate on the Leaf. It has a much better chance in the USA than car smaller than a Fiesta.
          Spec
          • 10 Hours Ago
          @throwback
          Well . . . the Mini-Cooper, the Fiat 500, and the Chevy Spark are all doing pretty well in the USA. Not everyone wants to drive a big monster car. I hate them. I always feel like I'm driving a boat instead of a car when I have to drive some monstrosity.
      danfred411
      • 10 Hours Ago
      They might try a more reasonable price.. It's very simple, when the batteries are not included in the price it shouldn't cost double that of the equivalent gas car. Price it at the gas car or below which it should and you'll see quite the change. But the nitwits have such faith in their mindless greed. Probably a big mistake not to support chademo as well. They could have done an adaptor so they wouldn't need that barn door charge port chademo normally requires. Blitz charge is a very important sales feature because without it the 400km trips become unrealistic and Europe has a decent skeleton chademo network now so throwing that away was... Supporting chademo doesn't cost anything in the car because the charging electronics is outside the car. it's just direct access to the batteries.
      SteveG
      • 10 Hours Ago
      Why did we get the leaf and not this car? It would sell a lot better, they could have just had one car and tossed a nissan badge on it.
        Spec
        • 10 Hours Ago
        @SteveG
        I think the Leaf is a bit bigger and thus fits the US market a little bit better. But the Leaf certainly doesn't look at nice as the ZOE. Why not offer both? And make a convertible version of the ZOE . . . that would make a nice halo car that would get some free attention.
        paulwesterberg
        • 10 Hours Ago
        @SteveG
        My guess is that it all boils down to Carb & logistics. They needed to start selling in California and shipping vehicles from Japan was easier than France and they figured that high European gas prices would allow them to sell all they could make anyway.
        JakeY
        • 10 Hours Ago
        @SteveG
        Like Paul says, I'm not sure a city car would do as well in the US (esp. if there is insignificant or non-existent range gain and the price isn't that different). Also the battery lease that this car comes with Nissan decided not to try in the US.
        paulwesterberg
        • 10 Hours Ago
        @SteveG
        I agree that the Zoe looks better(the concept was amazing). I think that Nissan wanted to launch a larger vehicle to sell Americans on electrics as real cars.
      Paco
      • 10 Hours Ago
      I have a ZOE and love it. It's easy and fun to drive. It has special Michelin EV tires improving mileage even over Michelin energy saver +. It has a heat pump which comes standard (same heat pump that found its way to the new Leaf) and regenerative breaking on the break pedal which is super easy for non-experts to hyper mile. As to numbers for 2013, let's keep in mind that first deliveries of ZOE were in April and May (taking off almost half of 2013)... Mine was 13 700 after incentive in France and with battery rental. I hope this car will have the success it deserves, but obviously won't meet 2008 sales expectations for 2013...
      Marcopolo
      • 10 Hours Ago
      The disappointing sales of the Zoe, must be worrying for Carlos Ghosn. Nissan-Renault has invested more than 12 billion euro's in it's electrification programe, and Zoe was touted as the 'breakthrough' model. EV enthusiasts often have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the ability of OEM's to produce EV"s. Unlike Tesla's, silicon valley type investors, Ghosn must retain the confidence of far more traditional investors and shareholders. Ghosn has been fortunate with the change of French government, since the new French government not only heavily supports the French automotive industry, but retains a major shareholding in Renault. The Kangoo van is a brilliant product, but even such a competitive product relies on government, (or government influenced) sales for most of it's volume. Nissan has worked hard to make Leaf a success, but despite Nissan's herculean efforts, Leaf sales world-wide, still fail to justify it's continued production in a conventional sense. Carlos Ghosn, dreamed of small, volume, popular EV's models, that would provide "breakthrough" vehicles as commuter transport for the masses. His vision was in keeping with the times. In the heady days of 2001-2010, the popularity of a 'green' revolution seemed to justify his faith in the rapid adoption of such EV models. Unfortunately for Nissan-Renault and Carlos Ghosn ,( whose courage and vision I admire) , the pace of ''green revolution", slowed dramatically with recession, failure of government backed "Grand Schemes" , economic instability, lower than expected oil prices, ( a massive increase in accessible reserves), and the failure of small EV's to overcome the problems of range anxiety, and practicability. Hybrids, Plug-in Hybrids and extended range EV's, proved a more practical choice for many buyers who liked the idea of EV technology, but weren't willing, or able, to accept the limitations of an EV. Only so much investment can be amortised as investment in the technology itself, after that each model must prove profitable, and pay a return on the balance of the development cost . Ghosn has so far managed to persuade the shareholders of Renault-Nissan to keep investing in the electrification programe. That's an achievement, only made possible because the shareholder's still have confidence in his astute management of Renault-Nissan's highly profitable ICE vehicles. Traditionally, new technologies start as highly priced, luxury items, and in time find their way into the mass market. Carlos Ghosn, started with the mass market, building affordable cars with amazing new technology. It's also true that small, affordable, commuter vehicles and commercials, do not attract the level of excitement and passion afforded larger, 'performance' luxury vehicles. Renault-Nissan may be just ahead of the market.
        Paco
        • 10 Hours Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Give electric cars time. It's too early to tell if it is a success or not. Zoe has been here for only 6 months. And Leaf sales almost double every year. We're at the beginning of the adoption curve : it is a breakthrough technology (as mobile phone was or numeric cameras) and it takes time.
          Marcopolo
          • 10 Hours Ago
          @Paco
          @ Paco I'm as keen as anyone to see greater EV adoption, and you're correct, it's a long slow process of evolution. But EV advocates tend to see things in idealistic terms , without any regard for the problems facing OEM's. EV's will have to meet increasing challenges for market share from CNG/LPG vehicles and possibly FCV's. For manufacturers like Tesla, with a selective, affluent client base, that's not as difficult as an OEM justifying the losses of investing in 'affordable EV's'. To make money, the Leaf must sell in hundreds of thousands, not thousands. As long as Renault's ICE vehicles remain profitable, (and retains the support of the French government) , Carlos Ghosn can retain enough shareholder confidence to keep his vision alive. My post was intended as a tribute to the vision of Carlos Ghosn.
        danfred411
        • 10 Hours Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Satan's advocate as usual marco. I only had to read a few lines. RN hasn't spent 12bn euros on electric cars. And they are not 'ahead of the market'. They are just missing a lot of opportunities by making boring overpriced cars, blowing their head start and losing a lot of money. An electric car is very very simple to make. The motor doesn't get any simpler and it's a single fixed gear. Yet somehow they make that translate into 2.5x the price of a gas car.. such vision.
          Marcopolo
          • 10 Hours Ago
          @danfred411
          @ danfred411, For years you have persisted, (by a series of nom-de-trolls ) to tell every EV maker, large and small that they are all idiots. You deride Elon Musk, who is the most outstanding industrialist of his generation, Carlos Ghosn, the pioneer of mass production EV's ,...and well, ... everyone ! Yet you don't even own an EV let alone know anything about building one ! You just come on here year after year, with this childish drivel ! Get out of your bedroom, stop mouthing off, find a garage, and start building even a conversion EV, then you can at least talk to other Ev enthusiasts without annoying them with your foolishness.
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