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Renault and Better Place partner in Australia to launch Fluence Z.E. with switchable battery in 2012

Renault and Better Place formed a strategic partnership in Australia, expanding their global relationship. Under this agreement, Renault will import the first electric car equipped with a switchable battery, the Fluence Z.E. (earlier post), 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.

As the first production mid-size sedan electric vehicle, Renault Fluence Z.E. is targeting both private motorists and fleet operators who are looking for a vehicle that is both economical to run and more respectful of the environment.

The switchable battery technology 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 (115 miles) on a full charge, under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

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 says it 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, personalized 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 gasoline prices.

Customers will be able to purchase Fluence Z.E. in selected Renault dealers, as well as through Better Place Experience Centres. Most Renault dealers will provide after sales support for Fluence Z.E., both for regular service and specific repairs.

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 (21.4 mpg US) and average mileage 20,000 to 25,000 km (12,400 to 15,500 miles) a year.

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.

—Thierry Koskas, Renault’s VP for Electric Vehicle program

Comments

HarveyD

An acceptable interim solution to effectively get more range from BEVs, at least until such times aa batteries with 3x the energy density are available by 2020+?.

SJC

Battery swap can work, it is just awkward and costly. Going with batteries that can quick charge is a possibility, except so far 100 mile range of those is too heavy.

kelly

As Better Place/Israeli transportation marginalizes future OPEC oil ransoms EV's will become more and more popular.

SJC

EVs over the next 10 years will not even put a dent in OPEC, synthetic fuels will.

HarveyD

Partial and full vehicle-train-machinery-HVAC electrification is the way to put a permanent dent in OPEC. The world needs 1+ B electrified vehicles. Synthetic fuels is a diversion to promote and/or extend the life of inefficient ICE vehicles. Synthetic chemicals (and Jet fuels) may be more acceptable.

SJC

We will not even have one million EVs on the road in the U.S. in 10 years. That is 1/2 of 1% reduction in petroleum fuel usage...keep dreaming.

HarveyD

SJC....that is a major problem for USA (and the world) to solve.

HarveyD

There is a new player (Luxgen EV from Taiwan) with 3 or 4 new EVs coming up. They will probably be produced in Taiwan and mainland China by end of this year. Their e-VUS is impressive and should do well on the US market place.

SJC

I hope EVs sell like crazy, but I like to be realistic.

Engineer-Poet

Toyota has already sold a million Priuses in the USA alone. They've certainly put a dent in OPEC.

Converting the Prius to plug-in is as simple as adding a pack of electric-bicycle batteries. I would not be surprised if others, such as the Fusion, are similarly easy. Wherever the marginal gallon saved is cheapest, we can strike (and that's probably downsized, downspeeded, turbocharged DI engines like Ecoboost).

Account Deleted

The Renault Fluence certainly looks very sophisticated and the overall silhouette is aerodynamic and flowing – and nicely set off with a bit of sculpting along the sides that is very distinctive.


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