Published on December 7th, 2013 | by Christopher DeMorro


Renault: Subcompact EVs Should Have 200 Miles Of Range By 2020

December 7th, 2013 by  

Originally published on Gas2.


Range remains the biggest hurdle for electric cars to overcome, and low-cost, compact electric cars have the most ground to make up. While many remain skeptical that electric cars will ever have enough range to replace conventional cars, Renault thinks that by 2020, most compact EVs will boast a range of 200 miles or more between charges.

That would meet the needs of 99% of consumers, most of whom don’t drive more than 60 miles per day anyways. But for those rare long trips, waiting up to 12 hours between charges just won’t do when you have a long trip to make. That is why automakers like Renault, with its Japanese ally Nissan, are investing a lot of time and money into battery research, and Renault is particularly bearish on the promises of battery technology.

Not only are batteries supposed to get cheaper and lighter, but they’ll store more energy too. Remi Bastien, in an interview with Auto Express discussing a next-gen plug-in hybrid, thinks that current battery technology is only 50% of the way there. By 2020 he expects we’ll see subcompact EVs like the Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe Z.E. boasting 200 miles or more of range, at least on the European testing cycle. In the U.S. the range rating is more likely to be in the 150 mile range, but that’s still more than double what most EVs are rated at today.

2020 isn’t that far away, and the future for electric vehicles is looking a little brighter. It’ll be interesting to see which predictions pan out, and which were straight hyperbole.

Source: Auto Express

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • miles

    I wanted to say the picture of the Renault is very cute with the design. What a great design for that car. I love it.

    • I’ve heard that more often from people commenting on my car.

      (I drive a Zoe)

    • Ross

      French car design is getting better.

      • Yeah, i have to admit that recent Renault models I’ve seen look quite nice — EV and otherwise.

    • Yeah, it’s a very sharp-looking car. I love it. Top seller in France, and I think the EU as a whole. Too bad it’s not in the US market.

  • “waiting up to 12 hours between charges”

    Oh please, do some research. You’ll have to really, really look very hard to find a charger that takes more than about 2 hrs for a Zoe to recharge. Most public chargers are 3x16A, giving you 9 kW (11 kVA) of power, 36% per hour. More and more are 32 amps, cutting charging time to below 1 hour.

    And 43 kW fast chargers (still rare, but coming soon, hopefully) will charge her to 95% in a little over 30 minutes.

    Let’s leave the EV scare mongering out of CleanTechnica, shall we?

    • will try to do more “covering” and less “reposting” on these. this is a big pet peeve of mine — the scare mongering needs to be dropped.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    It is curious that Tesla Motors solved the long range EV problem already in 2012 where as for Renault it takes yet another 7 years. Tesla is more than eight years ahead Renault in research and development.

    BTW, Renault is doing all things backwards. We do not need subcompact electric vehicles, because they are already drinking very little gasoline. Instead we need electric trucks and electric delivery vans and large and heavy (safe) performance electric sedans and electric AWD SUVs. These heavy gasoline drinkers should be electrified first, because there is available the largest fuel savings with smallest amount of subsidies.

    As Tesla has clearly shown, electric vehicles are fully competitive against ICE cars in price category above $50k. So we should try to enforce the electrification of the flag ship models first. I think that this kind of law would be nice, that if car costs more than $70k, then it must have fully electric drivetrain. Otherwise there is significant penalty to be paid.

    • I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. Even Elon Musk himself admitted they could not build an affordable 200 mile car today. You can not put $40k of batteries in a $30k car and make a profit. Price is buying you range.

      Cheap car, short range, expensive car long range. That is today’s reality and not even Tesla can escape that. That’s why they make the Model S today and the Model E in 2017.

      • Jouni Valkonen

        I am trying to say that with today’s battery costs it is just nuts to try to compete in subcompact category. We need to electrify full size sedans and SUVs first, because there is no markets for subcompact EVs.

        • “there is no markets for subcompact EVs”

          Thousands of Nissan LEAFs meet a happy new owner each month. As does the Renault Zoe. Why is there no market?

          “We need to electrify full size sedans and SUVs first”

          Huh, since when did we get a vote in the GM or Renault-Nissan boardroom? You seem to be thinking the EV is some big government project and we all get a vote on what happens.

          Government incentives (whether in the US, Norway, Netherlands or elsewhere) are made without a specific car/brand in mind, and each carmaker decides what to do with it. Tesla has opted for premium sedans, GM, Renault-Nissan for medium sized cars.

          Should some law be passed, forbidding to market a sub-$50k EV? Please explain your plan.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            millions of ICE cars are bought every months. ICE markets are about 1000 times larger than EV markets.

            And Nissan Leaf is not a subcompact. But it is a compact five door hatchback.

            EVs makes only sense in premium sedan category.

          • Bob_Wallace

            EVs are selling faster than hybrids did when they were introduced.

            People are buying small EVs. People are buying larger luxury EVs.

            Companies are manufacturing for the market segments where they expect to find the most buyers. With the price of batteries going for the small/light and for the luxury segments makes sense.

            Over time more options will appear and people will buy those as well.

    • That’s a pretty wonky law.

    • Conrad Clement

      Electrification of big and heavy vehicles will further boost their market share — which, for simple safety reasons, is just about the best deterrent against mini-city EVs… besides paving the way for a steep increase of road maintenance costs!

      • Bob_Wallace

        We can charge heavy vehicles more for road maintenance. That’s often done already.

        We are developing collision avoidance systems which, in a few years, should make vehicle collisions rare.

        We need to cut fossil fuel use. Large vehicles burn more oil per mile than small vehicles. Some people actually need large vehicles.

      • Jouni Valkonen

        Electric cars are no heavy. Battery drivetrain is actually lighter than comparable ICE drivetrain.

        E.g. Mercedes S550 weights 2200 kg and this is 100 kg more than similar sized Model S. BMW M5 is slightly smaller than Model S and it weights 2000 kg.

        Therefore it is just yet another myth that Tesla has debunked that EVs are heavy.

  • Shiggity

    The key metric is EV range per $. A Leaf could have 150 miles of range TODAY, it would just cost 45,000-55,000$.

    30,000$ seems to be the barrier that people won’t go over for electric cars that are your basic commuter car. 200 miles for ~ 30,000$ will happen before 2020 I believe.

    • Jouni Valkonen

      Tesla has shown that people are more than willing to pay on average $100k from long range electric vehicles. Instead people do not want to pay $20k from small compact electric vehicle with too little range.

      The global demand for Model S is stronger than the rest of EV demand combined.

      • They are willing to pay $100k for a car that goes 250 miles AND 0-60 in in less than 5 seconds AND is beautiful AND charges at 600 km/h.

        The model S sells on more qualities than just the range. Nissan would not be able to sell a 250 mile range LEAF for $100k.

      • That’s NOT what Tesla has shown at all. Tesla’s own site is dedicated to showing that $100K Tesla doesn’t cost all that much more to own than an average car:

    • I don’t think that’s a key metric at all- I mean, for this article, yes, but I don’t think the thing that’s keeping people from buying EVs is range. It’s charging time. If it’s range, they’re probably stupid or live way away from a major city or both.

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