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Renault Electric Cars

Electric Car Revolution Starts in France: Renault EVs Arrive at Dealerships

By Laurent J. Masson · November 01, 2011

A major event in the history of electric cars happened last Friday: Electric cars from Renault have arrived at dealerships. In France, people can go to a Renault dealer and see an electric car in the flesh. It’s possible to sit inside and to book a test-drive, just ike any other car. That doesn’t sound like an earth-shattering event, but until now, the only place where it was possible to see an electric Renault was at an auto show.

So, it’s a fantastic achievement to see the cars at dealerships where everybody can buy them. Actually a few hundreds electric Renaults are already on the street in the hands of professionals from big companies, but now regular ol’ folks can buy them. (In America, online ordering to join a waiting list is still standard business.)

With the largest network in the country, there are about 5,200 shops with a Renault sign on the door in France. Some are very small shops, but Renault says there will be 370 dealerships with an electric car on display. The idea is that an electric car dealer will be less than one hour’s drive to any French save for the few of us living in the mountains. More than that, EVs will be available at any Renault shop, even those who don’t have a car on display.

Customers will be able to order the car there, and it will be delivered there. The same goes for service. Only 250 Renault dealers in western Europe will be certified Expert Z.E. (Zero Emission) with the knowledge and ability to perform any kind of maintenance work.

Small maintenance work like changing brake pads or wheels alignments will be performed anywhere, but if a car requires the hands of a specialist in EV tech, the customer will still be able to leave his car at the nearest Renault garage. The manufacturer will then arrange the transport of the car to an Expert Z.E. dealership. This service will be free of charge for business customers.

Renault Electric Cars

Batteries Not Included

As every EV fan knows, an electric car requires little maintenance, but it’s nice to know that Renault has set up an organization so that the customer will never be left to his own devices. In fact, customers will have to maintain a constant relationship with Renault, because the company has chosen not to sell its batteries. That’s the trick to make the electric car cheaper.

People will buy the car, without any other choice than to rent the battery. The Renault Kangoo Z.E. (the first model available) starts at 20,000 euros ($27,320) VAT not included, and government incentives for buying an EV not deducted. You must add on top of that the monthly rent for the 22-kWh (usable) battery, which varies between 72 and 125 euros ($98 to $170), depending on the mileage and the contract’s length. Electricity isn’t includedand neither is the charging cord pictured below, which is an option. For some reason, Renault believes most users will have access to a charging station and won’t need the cord.

That is probably true for the Kangoo which most often should be bought as a work vehicle.

Renault Electric Cars
Renault Electric Cars

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