The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Renault and Better Place Commit to Volume of 100.000 Fluence ZE in Israel and Denmark

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

FRANKFURT--Renault and Better Place announced today the signature of a definitive agreement that reflects their partnership in Israel and Denmark. The agreement marks nearly two years of development effort in creating the world’s first mass market zero-emission vehicle with switchable battery. According to this agreement, Better Place will start importing and distributing Renault’s first passenger electric vehicle – Fluence ZE, a 5 seat-sedan, in the first half of 2011 in Israel and will offer subscriptions to customers buying this car from the Renault network in Denmark. Both companies commit to a volume of at least 100.000 vehicles for both countries by 2016.

The vehicle will be based on one of the four Renault concepts presented at the Frankfurt Auto Show today. Fluence Z.E. Concept previews the forthcoming electric version of Fluence, and represents a solution to zero-emission motoring in the world of tomorrow. Fluence Z.E. Concept is a genuine family car, which demonstrates that attractive styling, comfort and space can go hand in hand with respect for the environment. It is 4,820 mm long, has a wide track of 1,672 mm with a carrying capacity to cater for the requirements of an active family (327dm3). It’s an all-electric car with a range of 160km.

The battery can be completely re-charged via a standard charge (between four and eight hours) or an immediate solution (under five minutes) in the form of the 'Quickdrop' – or battery switch technology – which enables vehicles to switch their batteries in less time than it takes to top off an ICE (internal combustion engine) car with petrol. Renault and Better Place collaborated on developing this innovative technology solution for enabling the vehicle to quickly release a depleted battery for a fully charged battery in a matter of minutes. A third option – quick charge – is able to recharge the battery to 80% state of charge in 20 minutes.

The Better Place EV services platform manages at scale the charging of electric cars as well as the integration with the local utility, giving drivers peace of mind and the freedom of roaming across all of Israel and Denmark and managing the impact on the grid. One component of the Better Place EV services platform is the on-board computing platform, codenamed “AutOS,” which will be embedded into the Fluence ZE.

This vehicle will benefit from a four-year - 120,000 km - warranty, for the first time on the Israeli market. First deliveries will start first half-year 2011. Cars will then be available in specific Better Place outlets, as well as in some Renault dealers. Customers will benefit from the extensive Renault aftersales network, under a comprehensive maintenance contract.

In Denmark, Renault and Better Place will work in a close partnership. The cars will be sold through the Renault network and benefit from Better Place subscriptions, which include access to an extensive electric vehicle network of charge spots and battery switch stations, all managed by the Better Place EV services platform.

Carlos Ghosn, Renault’s President and CEO said: “The signature of this agreement is a step forward for Renault’s electric vehicle strategy. Fluence ZE will be the first Renault passenger electric vehicle launched in 2011 in more than 20 countries worldwide. It will be an attractive and spacious electric family car that will enjoy highly competitive running costs compared to conventional vehicles. Since we first announced our partnership with Better Place in January, 2008, the Renault and Better Place teams have worked diligently to make today’s announcement a reality, giving us a two-year lead over the competition.”

Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO of Better Place, added: “Today marks an historic milestone in the tremendous collaboration between Renault and Better Place to bring to market a mainstream electric car that’s more convenient and affordable than an ICE car. We commend Carlos Ghosn and the entire Renault team for having the vision and execution skills to define a new market for the auto industry with Better Place. We believe this kind of collaboration and innovation on zero-emission vehicles is the solution for turning around the auto industry and for solving for the harmful impact that CO2 has on our planet.”