Great companies have a constant focus on evolving. While French supermarket giant E.Leclerc may not be the first company you’d think of for electric vehicle leadership, it is certainly taking a hero position in the supermarket world. In fact, its foray in the electric world was a decade ago, in 2010, alongside Renault. And E.Leclerc has broadened and increased its vision since then.
Starting back a decade, the company started installing EV charging stations in parking lots at its supermarkets and hypermarkets in 2011. In 2012, it started buying Renault ZOE electric cars for some of its employees. In 2013, it set up “ambassador” clubs to help spread the good word about clean, zero-emission, electric mobility. More recently, in October, it said that it intends to have 5,000 EV charging stations across its parking lots within the next two years, and plans to have 10,000 installed by 2025.
However, this new initiative is certainly the most exciting. E.Leclerc and Groupe Renault have partnered to get electrified steering wheels into a lot more hands. As they put it, they’re attempting “to bring the electric mobility experience to more people across France, at the most affordable pricing in the market.” The partnership launches with 3,000 electric Dacia Springs and 1,000 electric Renault ZOEs available for renting.
The Dacia Spring is supposedly the cheapest (“least expensive”) electric supermini/car on the market, even with seating for four. As they sell it, “Dacia is merging electric mobility into its longstanding philosophy, which revolves around offering contemporary cars with just the essentials, by introducing the Spring Electric.” However, I’ve visited a few Renault and Dacia sites, as well as Wikipedia, and am finding the pricing nowhere. Reportedly, it should end up being around €18,000. And that doesn’t mean it’s a sloucher. It has 225 km (140 miles) of range on a full charge (WLTP) or 295 km (183 miles) in city driving (WLTP City). That would have been jaw dropping a few years ago, and it’s still bloody impressive for the price.
Also recall that the Renault ZOE is the best selling electric car in Europe, and the best selling by a giant margin in France. It is plenty competitive on its own.
There’s no word on how much Renault will be charging for the rentals, but expect the hyper-competitive ZOE and Spring to offer some competitive rates.
“In their respective fields, E.Leclerc and Dacia offer inexpensive, trustworthy, high-quality alternatives within everyone’s reach. By offering Dacia Spring cars, which are the most reasonably-priced electric vehicles in Europe, E.Leclerc is opening the door to electric mobility for all, in as many parts of France as possible. This is an exciting, purposeful partnership and it will contribute to another of the commitments we share: building a carbon-free society. Tomorrow’s mobility will be built in ecosystems, together, and it starts with partnerships like this,” said Luca de Meo, CEO of Groupe Renault.
“I’m glad we can encourage our customers to go electric on such a large scale. This way, they can try out the cars no strings attached, then adopt this kind of mobility over time. This is exactly the point of all our efforts for the environment and purchasing power. Thanks to Groupe Renault and its brand Dacia, we will be able to provide a particularly affordable deal. This is a real step forwards, to build the market for the universal vehicle of the future!” added Michel-Edouard Leclerc, Chairman of Centres E.Leclerc’s Strategy Committee.
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