Re­nault sparks up

The Flu­ence could be the first elec­tric sedan on sale in Aus­tralia

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

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

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