It may have been a long time coming but today saw the delivery of the first Renault Zoe, which is the company's first real venture into the mainstream electric vehicle market. The French Minister of Industrial Recovery, Arnaud Montebourg, had the honour of receiving the keys to the first production vehicle ahead of the launch in the first quarter of 2013. This is a major step forward for Renault which has been somewhat behind the curve with regards to the electric vehicle market, but now hopes to make up for lost time.
Renault zero emission range
The Renault Zoe will spearhead the company’s zero emission range, which will be targeted at both private and business users. This is a relatively small vehicle which will be perfect for everyday journeys, to and from work, etc., and it is believed the vehicle will qualify for a significant environmental bonus from the French government. Even though the first vehicle has now been delivered we await further details and further specifications about the actual technology associated with the Renault Zoe.
Charging your Renault Zoe
While many electric car companies have broken into the mass market, very few have decided to tackle the problem of charging points at this moment in time. However, as part of the launch of the Renault Zoe in the second quarter of 2013 the company will also put its weight behind the development of public and private charging stations across France. The reality is that unless the authorities and some of the larger names in the car industry invest and publicise the subject of charging stations then electric vehicles will never fulfil their enormous potential.
In years gone by there were concerns that electric car technology was far outpacing the required battery technology but over the last couple of years there has been significant movement on the battery front. The lithium ion battery is still by far and away the battery of choice for the industry but behind-the-scenes and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life there are significant developments. We should see the release of new battery technology in the months and years ahead and indeed there are high hopes that the relatively limited journey capacity will improve dramatically in the short to medium term.
As we touched on above, the Renault Zoe will qualify for a significant "bonus" from the French government, which is expected to be in the region of €7000 thereby reducing the price of the vehicle to around €14,000. This is a significant investment by the French government and indeed seems to mark a shift in policy for the future. The worldwide economy is still struggling and many governments and car manufacturers are now looking to new areas for long-term growth. Will the French car market grow to dominate the electric car industry?
Those who follow the electric car industry will be hoping that this movement by the French government prompts a number of similar programs by other governments around the world. Financial assistance will most certainly play a significant role in the short, medium and longer term and hopefully this move by the French government will re-energise this particular subject.
While it has taken Renault some time to deliver its first pure electric vehicle to the market it seems as though the Renault Zoe is worth waiting for. The French government has also offered its assistance with a significant cash incentive for those looking to buy electric vehicles which bodes well for the future of the industry in France. The first official Renault Zoe has been delivered but it will not be until the first quarter of 2013 that the model is launched in a blaze of glory marking the arrival of Renault in the electric vehicle market.