Renault finally has an answer to a question its executives have had to deal with a lot lately: when will it offer a budget electric vehicle in Europe?
According to Renault CEO Thierry Bolloré, the long-awaited affordable EV could go on sale within the next five years with a shocking sticker price of €10,000 (approximately $11,000). He said that the automaker is capable of delivering a low-cost electric vehicle to Europeans given the decade of experience building EVs such as the Zoe supermini.
“Not everyone can afford the price of the electric vehicles on the market today. Everyone’s working on high-end cars, but the key element is that we need to have accessible electric mobility,” Bolloré was quoted as saying by Autonews Europe at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
While this is probably THE statement of IAA 2019, the big question is how will Renault be able to deliver a truly affordable EV to the masses? After all, VW said the same thing about the new ID.3 electric compact hatch, yet that model’s pricing is estimated to start at under €30,000 (approximately $33,100) in Germany, making it three times more expensive than Renault’s future budget EV.
“We are already making money with our electric cars today with quite modest volumes in absolute terms. By projecting what is going to happen in the market, we have a clear estimate that we can still make money” with a low-priced EV, Bolloré added.
The budget EV already exists: the Renault City K-ZE launched in China from $8,700
Renault needs to look no further than China to find a suitable budget EV that it could bring to Europe. We’re referring to the City K-ZE, an electric version of the Kwid small crossover. The French automaker has not ruled out bringing the electric crossover to Europe, if it turns out to be a hit in China.
Well, the Renault City K-ZE went on sale on Tuesday in the world’s largest EV market with a starting price of RMB 61,800 — the equivalent of $8,700. Given that a European version of this model would require further investment for homologation in the region, a base price of around $11,000 doesn’t seem that far-fetched.
Based on the CMF-A platform, the China-spec Renault City K-ZE features a 26.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that powers an electric motor rated at 44 PS (43 hp) and 125 Nm (92 lb-ft) of torque. The model offers a claimed range of 271 km (168 miles) on the NEDC cycle.
If Renault truly does manage to offer an EV for €10,000 in Europe, that model will definitely be a game changer. It remains to be seen whether Renault’s upcoming budget EV will be offered in Europe under its core brand or the entry-level Dacia marque.