Electric vehicles real life testing by Thierry Koskas

Renault might not be the first car manufacturer to market electric cars, as Fluence ZE and Kangoo ZE will hit the road mid 2011, but in order to give a flavour of those exciting models, a lot of pre series cars will be seen on European roads this year.

Starting this month we intend to visit 16 countries, including Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, France, Austria, UK, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey and Nordic countries, up until February next year.

The roadshow, that will comprise 10 electric cars and a dedicated Renault team, will give some 2,000 people – media, national and local authorities and opinion leaders – a chance to get behind the wheel of Renault’s two prototype electric vehicles and experience the difference.

Renault Fluence Z.E. with lithium ion batteries will go on sale from 2011. As the C segment’s first production saloon electric vehicle, Renault Fluence Z.E. targets motorists and fleet operators who are looking for a vehicle that is both economical to run and respectful of the environment. Renault Kangoo Express Z.E. is a light commercial vehicle aimed at business users. It is due to be released in 2011 and will chiefly be used in and around built-up areas.

On top of this roadshow, 10 experiments will be carried out in Europe and Israel from end 2010. The idea is to have electric cars with lithium ion batteries used by "real customers" for a few months: a big opportunity to get real life feedback from customers and make the most of that.

Those experiments will involve our Partners, like EDF in France or RWE in Germany. In Israel, the experiment will be handled by Better Place and will enable to test and fine tune the breakthrough business model proposed by our partner in this country.

In total, 660 electric cars will be put into customers’ hands: 660 happy "guinea pigs" that are of utmost importance for Renault: no doubt we will learn a lot from them!

by Thierry Koskas, www.alliance-renault-nissan.com