Renault will begin testing a fleet of self-driving Zoe Next Two EVs in the city of Wuhan, China, in November, according to recent reports.
Initial testing in the central Chinese city will be in the Caiden district, on a 2-kilometer-long section of a lakeside road there, according to Renault’s local joint venture Dongfeng Renault Automobile Company.
Beyond that, not much is known about the testing — though, presumably, long-term plans for the region factor in. Considering the potential size of the future self-driving car sector in China, the eventual goal should be obvious.
Automotive News provides background: “Renault unveiled the Next Two, a self-driving prototype based on the Zoe hatchback in 2013. Renault is the second global carmaker planning to test its autonomous driving technology in China. In April, Volvo said it would test up to 100 self-driving cars in China. At the time, CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Automotive News China that the company would let customers test one of the cars on Chinese roads next year.”
Continuing: “Renault is a latecomer to China. In 2014, the company established a 50-50 joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Co. Late this year, the partnership’s assembly plant in Wuhan will launch production of a second model, the Renault Koleos crossover. The joint venture’s first locally built model, the Renault Kadjar, went on sale in China in March. The company hopes to capture 3.5% of the Chinese light vehicle market in 2016. It’s an ambitious goal. In the first eight months, Dongfeng Renault delivered 11,398 vehicles, for a market share of 0.1%.”
So, there’s certainly a lot of room for growth.