Renault announced today that its upcoming, battery swap-capable electric sedan, the Fluence Z.E., will be sold in Australia by the end of 2012. The Fluence Z.E. is expected to sold in Australia under terms that are similar to those offered to buyers in France, Israel and Denmark, meaning that the electric sedan will be sold at one price and its battery packed will be leased separate of the vehicle.
Loosely based on the Renault Megane hatchback, the Fluence Z.E. electric sedan reportedly will be priced "similar" to comparable gasoline-fueled vehicles. This, according to The Age, suggests that the Fluence Z.E. will have an MSRP of approximately $30,000 ($31,566 U.S. at the current exchange rate) in Australia. However, that price excludes monthly battery lease fees of around $100. Even with those fees added in, Renault Australia managing director, Justin Hocevar, confidently says that, "The Fluence Z.E. is proof that electric vehicles can be practical, feasible and, as we will detail closer to launch, eminently affordable." Hat tip to Dan!
Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2011 AOL
[Source: The Age, Renault]
MELBOURNE (June 20, 2011) - Better Place and Renault today announced a strategic partnership in Australia, expanding their global relationship by bringing the world's first mass market, zero-emission car with a switchable battery to the region. Under this agreement, Renault will import the first electric car equipped with a switchable battery, the Fluence Z.E. into Australia, and Better Place will provide the electric car charging network and services that make the car more convenient and affordable for the mass market.
Renault and Better Place will commence a joint marketing campaign in the lead up to launch in 2012. The cars will arrive in Australia by the middle of 2012 for the first customers in Canberra, with general sales due to commence later in the year. Customers will buy the Fluence Z.E. from Renault and sign up for a Better Place membership package that is tailored for their driving needs.
Renault Fluence Z.E.
Renault has developed Fluence Z.E., an elegant, family electric car that features a switchable battery. As the first production mid size sedan electric vehicle, Renault Fluence Z.E. targets both private motorists and fleet operators who are looking for a vehicle that is both economical to run and respectful of the environment.
The switchable battery technology completely offsets the range limitation of traditional EVs, as a depleted battery can be exchanged for a fully charged one at Better Place's fully automated battery switch stations. The car will be fully compliant with ADR. The Fluence Z.E. will offer Australian drivers a range of 185 kilometers on a full charge, under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC); however the effective range of the vehicle is unlimited. This infinite range is due to the convenience of the switchable batteries that enable drivers to immediately "fill up" their Fluence Z.E. via a fully automated process in any Better Place battery switch station, in less time than it takes to fill up with petrol.
A widespread infrastructure and an attractive offer
Better Place is building and operating the first fully integrated electric car charging network in Australia, and it will be the infrastructure provider for the innovative Fluence Z.E. Better Place has announced its plans to begin the deployment of its infrastructure in Canberra, Australia's capital city, starting in late 2011, with a progressive national rollout to follow. By 2013 Better Place will give Australia the largest electric car charge network in the world, which is expected to outpace current deployment plans in market-leading countries including the US and China.
The Better Place membership provides unlimited access to batteries, the network of public charge spots and battery switch stations, and personal charge spots at home or work. The membership also includes supply of 100% renewable electricity, personalised energy management and navigation services via in-car and network software and 24-hour access to customer service and support. The membership packages give drivers a fixed price for their mobility, freeing them form the constant volatility of petrol prices.
When combined with the Better Place network, the Renault Fluence Z.E. is the first mass-market, electric car with unlimited range. It gives Australian drivers the same freedom they enjoy with a petrol car, but with zero oil and zero emissions.
A comprehensive network to purchase and maintain Fluence Z.E.
Customers will be able to purchase Fluence Z.E. in selected Renault dealers, as well as through Better Place Experience Centres. Those centres will provide visitors with a full experience of electric mobility. As for maintenance, most Renault dealers will provide after sales for Fluence Z.E., both for regular service and specific repairs.
Zero-emission mobility, a concept adapted to Australian cities
Renault and Better Place are committed to promoting zero-emission mobility, primarily for urban and suburban driving. Australian homes have an average of 2.7 cars per household and one million new passenger and light commercial vehicles are sold every year. Average fuel consumption is 11 l/100 km and average mileage 20,000 to 25,000 km a year. The petroleum cost per household is 45% higher in Australia than in France owing to higher mileage.
Thierry Koskas, Renault 's VP for Electric Vehicle program declared: "We are delighted to announce this partnership today. Electric mobility is a key strategic move from Renault. Together with Nissan, Renault will be investing 4 billion euros in electric cars. Fluence Z.E. is the first electric car that enables virtually unlimited mileage, thanks to the battery swap technology. It will be sold everywhere in Europe and together with Better Place, in Israel and Denmark. We think Fluence Z.E., together with Better Place switch stations, will be a very attractive offer for Australian customers, who traditionally commute long distances. This partnership will contribute a lot to the Renault brand awareness in Australia, thanks to this unique and innovative offer."
"Today marks the natural next step between Better Place and Renault and builds on nearly four years of close collaboration between the two companies. Under this agreement we are giving Australian drivers access to fully electric cars and a ubiquitous charge network that present a real alternative to the tyranny of petrol prices. Together, Better Place and Renault are taking a critical step to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport in a large country like Australia", said Evan Thornley, CEO of Better Place Australia.
About Better Place
Better Place, the leading electric vehicle services provider, is accelerating the global transition to sustainable transportation. Better Place is building the infrastructure and intelligent network to deliver a range of services to drivers, enable widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and optimize energy use. The Better Place network addresses historical limitations to adoption by providing unlimited driving range in a convenient and accessible manner. The company works with all parts of the transportation ecosystem, including automakers, battery suppliers, energy companies, and the public sector, to create a compelling solution. Based in California and privately held, Better Place has operating companies in Israel, Denmark, and Australia. More information is available at http://www.betterplace.com.
Renault was founded in France more than 110 years ago and has since developed internationally. Today it has over 30 production sites and 18,000 business sites (subsidiaries, dealerships and agents) in 118 countries. Renault designs, produces and sells a broad range of vehicles, including from 2011 a range of electric vehicles accessible to all that embodies the company's commitment to the environment. With its zero-emission* range and new generation of internal-combustion engines, Energy, Renault is aiming for leadership in low CO2 emissions, which it plans to reduce from 135 g/km today to less than 120 g/km in 2013 and under 100 g/km in 2016. Renault is also characterized by innovation for all, top-level product and service quality, and renewed vehicle design. The company is pursuing its strategy of profitable growth with associate brands Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors. Renault has a workforce of 121,000 worldwide. In 2010 it reported revenues of €38,971 million and sold over 2.6 million vehicles.