Renault plans to launch two electric vehiclesSeptember 14, 2020
Renault is gearing up for large-scale modeling – and is pinning its hopes on two new electric SUVs and focusing on C-segment models.
The French brand’s new partnership with Nissan, which was announced earlier this year, will lead to a broader exchange of platform, technology and manufacturing resources to improve efficiency.
It will also see Renault take on strategic leadership in Europe under the leadership of new boss Luca de Meo, who has begun redefining the brand’s product roadmap despite only taking up his new role in July. Its goal will be to revitalize the firm, which posted a £ 6.5bn loss in the first half of 2020.
The fruits of these shared resources have already led to the CMF-EV platform, which debuted in the recently unveiled Nissan Ariya large electric SUV. This platform will also form the basis for Renault and Nissan’s new electric SUVs in the coming years.
Renault will initially create two models based on the CMF-EV platform, the first being a production adaptation of the Morphoz concept unveiled this spring.
Despite the fact that it is similar in length and width to the current Renault Kadjar. This is due to a greater need for aerodynamic efficiency as Renault strives for the highest possible range of electric vehicles to ensure the model can cover a higher percentage of vehicle use by customers in Europe.
“We have determined that there is room under the Zoe, and there are even greater expectations above the Zoe,” said Gilles Normand, head of Renault’s electric vehicle business. “People understand that electric cars are safe and enjoyable and can be taken with them on much longer trips than electric cars [the first].”
Normand calls the travel range for such a model up to 550 km. It remains to be seen if this is possible. The Ariya’s longest claimed range (for a front-wheel-drive model of 87 kWh) is 499 km, and a Renault of the same size is unlikely to significantly improve that figure.
Renault’s Qashqai-based crossover is designed to do the same job as its sibling, but for less money. Renault also says the CMF-EV platform – along with the efficiency provided by the alliance – has enabled significant cost breakthroughs.
“We managed to reduce the cost of the platform by 30%. We have reduced the cost of the battery by 30% and the electric motor by 20%, ”said Jean-Paul Dray, Director of Development for Renault EV, during a recent Automotive News Europe conference live.
This will bring Renault’s next generation of EVs “very close to comparable combustion engine vehicles in total cost of ownership,” Dray said.
While this has not yet been officially confirmed, Normand has also hinted at a second electric vehicle. It will be “a crossover or SUV, not a hatchback,” he said, and is expected to take the same market position as the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.
The model is expected to borrow design cues from the Morphoz concept again, albeit in a toned down form to differentiate it from the more expensive electric SUV the size of the Kadjar.
A dedicated platform for electric vehicles – very similar to that found in the new Volkswagen ID lineup – is expected to increase development and manufacturing costs over competing models that use an internal combustion engine vehicle adapted to offer an electric version only (e.g. Peugeot e-2008). However, trade-offs benefit both the exterior design and the practicality of the interior.
“The dedicated platform allows us to push the boundaries of vehicle proportions – to push the wheelbase to an extreme level,” said Autocar Marco Fioravanti, Head of Product Planning for Nissan. “In doing so, we are reconfiguring the cab. We get a completely flat floor and do not lose space on the back bench. We believe our clients are fully aware of this investment. “
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