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Renault Zoe Deliveries Begin, Sales Strategy Changes

Deliveries of the Renault Zoe 100% electric car have just begun in France. The little electric car’s big selling point (besides being electric) is its low cost. However, the Zoe is far behind schedule, despite Renault’s strong focus on EVs, and the company isn’t exactly leading the tables in Europe.

Zoe electric car (Image Credit: Renault)

The price for the Zoe is just €13,700 (including VAT) after taking the €7,000 French government incentive for EVs. That’s pretty darn good, but it’s going to take Renault quite a bit of success to catch up to its competitors.

“European Renault, though at the forefront of producing EVs in Europe, is one of the vehicle manufacturers with the worst performance in Europe,” Frost & Sullivan writes.

“Renault invested approx. $5 billion in the production of electric vehicles, which prevented them from investing in new models of conventional cars. Whether this strategy pays off and the Renault Zoé attracts much interest remains to be seen.”

Furthermore, Frost & Sullivan thinks that Renault is a little prematurely focusing on the consumer market. “The current EV market is a fleet market, a B2B market, not a B2C market,” Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Nicolas Meilhan, said in an interview.

That may be the case, primarily, but it’s clear that EV sales are increasing at a good rate, and lower cost EVs (like the Zoe) are sure to do better.

Zoe Doesn’t Address City Driving/Traffic Dilemma

It seems that Frost & Sullivan’s beef with the Zoe seemed more to be beef with cars.

“A lot of people think the EV is the perfect car for the city. But the truth is it only addresses the local pollution issue; it neither addresses the congestion problems nor the parking issue most cities face today…. If you really want to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption, especially in cities, then governments and local authorities should only allow cars with a maximum 500kg weight. A 500kg gasoline car – a gasoline Twizy for example (which does not exist) — emits less CO2 in its lifecycle than a the Renault Zoé EV weighing 1400kg,” Meilhan said.

“If you compare the same Renault Zoé (EV) with a bike, the easiest means of transport in the city, then you have to put more than 140 people into the car in order to make it as energy efficient as your 10kg bike,” Meilhan added.

Yes, of course, as I just noted in my previous article, automobile traffic is a serious and costly problem. Nonetheless, as long as there is strong customer demand for medium to large cars (and weak government transportation policies), we will have cars on the roads and in our cities. And at least EVs do address the pollution problem.

How To Sell An EV

Now, for those of us aware that we have stuck our societal head in a noose (with the fabric being greenhouse gas emissions), the zero emissions of an EV is the biggest selling point. But many are still asleep to this issue, and dropping a couple grand on a vehicle is a big decision that you make based on many factors.

As I’ve discussed (and analyzed), EVs are actually much cheaper to own for many of us now — the fuel savings outweigh the slightly higher “at the register” cost. But again, as some of our readers have noted, most people don’t use calculations and logic to decide between cars — we humans care about other things, too. For example: coolness, comfort, style, power, color.

Car companies selling EVs either didn’t think things through real carefully (optimistically) or haven’t been all that eager to sell EVs at all (cynically), as they have basically left some of the biggest benefits to EVs out of their sales strategies. I’m the optimistic sort, so my guess is the former. In either case, it’s high time things change.

EVs are super quiet, almost silent — that’s a big comfort improvement (very few humans actually like noise). Additionally, they require almost no maintenance — forget monthly oil changes, tune-ups, etc. Thirdly, with an EV, you don’t have to stand at a smelly gas station to fill up your tank (and as one reader has noted, can save a bit of money on all the crappy gas station junk food… while also improving your health). Notably, inhaling gas fumes isn’t exactly good for you. EVs also have great acceleration due to their instant torque. Furthermore, EVs are a great way to “fight” oil wars.

Renault isn’t focusing on all these matters, but it is apparently broadening its sales strategy to focus more on how quiet EVs are.

More stories on the Renault Zoe:

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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