Now sister company Renault has announced pricing for the Fluence, part of the Z.E. (Zero Emission) range. They recognised that the ticket price is the biggest barrier to adoption and so have priced the 'Prime Time' edition of the vehicle, which is broadly similar to the Leaf, from £22,850 (£17,850 after incentives) and are charging £75 per month for a 3 year / 6,000 miles battery leasing package. The best thing about the Fluence however apart from the ticket price is that Renault have promised to offer upgraded batteries as technology improves - as the packs become lighter, quicker to recharge, and offer greater range. This is a massive step forward for EVs.
The 5 seat, 4 door, 115 mile range Fluence features charging sockets on both sides of the vehicle and comes with a good standard equipment package that includes smart satnav, an ecometer, 16" alloys, climate and cruise control. Deliveries commence 2012, reservations for £20 can be made at www.renault-ze.com.
Renault is partnering EV operator Better Place in Israel, Denmark and Australia and in August 2010 Better Place placed an initial order for 100,000 Fluences. The swappable battery Fluence may become the world's best selling electric car by the end of 2012. Renault aims to sell 1.5m electric vehicles across 7 models worldwide by 2016.
With the Renault Zoe hatchback still to come at a price in region of £17,000 (£12,000 after incentives), we are within a year of true affordability and therefore the start of mass adoption of electric vehicles.
The people at Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Citroen and even at sister company Nissan will be feeling very threatened. Good, competition is healthy.