Renault sparks up
The Fluence could be the first electric sedan on sale in Australia
green systems provider Better Place for the battery and energy supplies.
Renault promises the Fluence will cost much the same as the petrol version, which would mean less than $30,000, but no one is talking yet about the other costs. The exact roll-out of the charging points and battery-swap locations— which Better Place says will eliminate the ‘‘ range anxiety’’ that dogs electric cars — is to be revealed.
‘‘ Our vision is clear,’’ says Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar.
‘‘ The overall cost of ownership must be equivalent to an internal-combustion car. Sales of the Fluence ZE will begin before the end of 2012.’’
The Renault move comes less than a week after Mitsubishi set the price of its iMiEV plug-in car at $48,800. It also follows the confirmation by its global Nissan-Renault alliance partner, Nissan of Japan, that the electric Leaf hatchback will come here. The Nissan is expected in Australian showrooms next year.
Renault and Better Place are short on any real detail beyond the basics of the electric Fluence and a commitment to a national roll-out of charging infrastructure that will start soon in Canberra.
‘‘ I’mvery confident that the vast majority of electric-car drivers will be able to drive wherever they want and whenever they want,’’ says Evan Thornley of Better Place.
He says long-term supply deals for renewable energy, starting in Canberra, mean electric car drivers will have more certainty on their longterm running costs than drivers of petrol-powered cars, who face uncertain oil prices.
The electric Renault Fluence (above); recharging (left) and batteries will be dealt with by Better Place