Andy Heiron Renault Twizy hits UK showrooms EV Update

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Andy Heiron, Renault: Twizy hits UK showrooms

Apr 24, 2012

Andy Heiron heads up Renault’s UK EV programme. EV Update hears about the French company’s attempt to cross the Channel.

As head of Renault’s UK EV programme, Andy Heiron is responsible for all of the company’s EV activities. Andy has been with Renault for 24 years and has held a range of senior positions in advertising, services and quality, fleet sales and regional management.

Renault recently launched its Twizy model across the UK. The move forms part of the French carmaker’s commitment to invest £3.5 billion in EV development. Renault has around 1,000 employees working on its EV programme worldwide.

EV Update: In general, how do you view the UK’s readiness for EV uptake?

Andy Heiron: The key is affordability and Renault’s battery hire offer, allowing upfront prices in line with an equivalent diesel model has a clear customer appeal and as more manufacturers enter the market and production volumes grow we believe that sales will grow rapidly. Infrastructure is building steadily, the launch of Polar, a privately-funded network which will grow to 4,000 points in the next 12 months is significant and very welcome, but it should always be stressed that all indicators point to the majority of charging being at home or workplace. The government incentive package is sufficient to drive the market, but the key here is consistency with a long-term view and the recent announcement of an increase in BiK from 2015/16 runs counter to this and send the wrong signals to a still nascent market

EV Update: The Twizy is presumably targeting the urban consumer, right?

Andy Heiron: Twizy appeals as a rational and an irrational purchase! Many people who ve seen it and tried it say that they don t need one but want one. On a more rational basis, we see Twizy appealing to commuters who have considered a scooter but want something that has better safety and protection [and who] are attracted by the low running costs, zero road fund licence and zero emission in use.

EV Update: The Twizy is priced £6,690. That’s considerably less than the bigger EVs. Do you anticipate this size car having higher market penetration because of the price?

Andy Heiron: To be honest, we have all sorts of projections for Twizy sales. It s something that s so new and unique on the market, who knows? The interest that s been shown on its launch weekend shows that there are plenty of people attracted by it. There is a clear trend in the market towards compact city cars (an emerging ‘nano’ segment) driven by economic and social trends

EV Update: Do you think there’s a danger that EVs might be a niche, London-based phenomenon?

A ndy Heiron: Not at all. EVs have an appeal across all areas. It s not just people based in London who want zero road fund licence, low running costs, 100% write down allowance and zero BIK for company car users.

Many people love the silent running and the joy of never visiting a petrol station again. With the improvements in range that lithium-ion battery technology brings the affordable EV is a practical choice for a significant proportion of the motoring population, not just Londoners and city-dwellers

EV Update: Could you tell us about Renault’s dealership network in the UK?

Andy Heiron: We have a nationwide network 22 Z.E. Experts from Plymouth to Inverness already, and over the next 12 months this will expand rapidly so that all Renault dealerships will be able to sell and maintain the Z.E. models in 2013.

EV Update: Where do you see the UK EV market in 3-5 years time?

Andy Heiron: This really is the million-dollar question. The only thing that experts and commentators agree on is that the market will grow rapidly. It is our belief that with more choice and consistent government policy the annual EV market will grow significantly.

RENAULT Twizy – Electric Car Urban 13kW Auto

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