By Renault The boss thinks electric cars won’t reach the same price point as those powered by an internal combustion engine anytime soon.
Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo told the media at the Paris Motor Show, including European Automotive News.
Even so, the Group’s eponymous brand plans to become EV-only in Europe by 2030, five years ahead of the European Union’s ban on sales of new internal combustion engines.
“I am taking the company there, but ultimately it will be the market, the customer, who will decide if they want to go electricity only,” Mr. de Meo said.
He points out that the cost of raw materials is one of the biggest constraints to lowering the price of electric vehicles, noting that they account for 80% of the cost of batteries.
“I can think of better battery chemistry and better power electronics, but these benefits will be erased when the price of cobalt doubles in just six months,” De Meo said.
He also said the trend toward ever-larger batteries is flawed.
“From an environmental point of view, equipping vehicles with batteries between 150kWh and 200kWh simply makes no sense in terms of the environment,” said Mr. de Meo, calling for better charging infrastructure for operators. Car manufacturers can offer smaller, cheaper batteries.
Eight years ago, he added, the industry had expected the cost per kilowatt-hour of battery power to drop by $100 within five years, but that hasn’t happened.
After being one of the early entrants in the electric vehicle market with Zoe – popular in Europe, but almost statistically insignificant here – the brand is launching a range of next-generation electric models across the light and small car segments.
The Megane E-Tech Electric is the first of a new generation of Renault EVs, and come to Australia in 2023.
A production version of 5 concepts will launch in 2024 on the CMF-BEV platform, with 100kW and 160kW electric motors. A hotter Alpine badging version will follow.
Earlier this week, Renault also revealed The concept of 4Ever TrophyProduction preview 4 is expected in 2024.
Like the 5, it was inspired by one of Renault’s most iconic cars, and it’s worth noting that both the 4 and 5 were originally positioned as affordable compact cars. . However, Mr. de Meo warned they would be more expensive than comparable petrol-powered Renaults.
In addition to the Zoe, the Renault Group has offered two of the most affordable EVs in Europe.
The Dacia Spring starts at €19,800 (A$30,870) and offers a 26.8kWh battery with 230 km of WLTP range, while the Renault Twingo E-Tech Electric starts at €24,050 (A$37,496) and offers a 22kWh battery with 190 km range.
Dacia, positioned as the low-cost brand within the Renault Group, has not announced plans to switch entirely to electric vehicles.
The Renault Group is reportedly planning to separate itself into its internal combustion engine and electric vehicle divisions, and sell a majority stake in its engine business to Geely and an oil company as it focuses on EVs.