Renault Zoe - Click above for high-res image gallery
Renault's ambitious electric vehicle program may have been dealt a significant blow. Reports indicate that the French government has withdrawn its €125 million ($174 million U.S. at the current exchange rate) investment to fund construction of the automaker's lithium-ion battery production facility outside of Paris (Flins). According to French media reports, both the €125 million Strategic Investment Fund and a €100 million ($139 million U.S.) public loan have been withdrawn.
Currently, France owns 15 percent of Renault - the automaker that, along with partner Nissan, is looking to invest €4 billion into electric vehicles. One of the key parts of Renault's electric vehicle scheme was the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries and the electric Zoe Z.E. hatchback at Flins.
However, reports claim that Renault chief executive officer, Carlos Ghosn, and French Minister of Industry, Eric Besson, met last week to discuss the two-year delay at Flins. Apparently, Renault's dissatisfaction with the cost of battery technology provided by Nissan has somehow led to the construction setback. After receiving word of the issues at Flins, Besson reportedly convinced government officials to pull all funding. If true, this leaves Renault without government backing as it tries to get Flins functional in time for the automaker's electric revolution. Hat tip to Roy!