• Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

Renault strikes hard by aiming for 100% electric cars by 2030

Byeditorial

Jan 13, 2022

The truths are successive… Never had this expression taken on so much meaning as at Renault. The French automotive group has reviewed its electrification plan presented last July and is now targeting 100% of its sales in electric cars by 2030 (against 90% previously announced) in Europe. “We set out to prepare the conditions for Renault to be a 100% electric brand by 2030,” said Luca de Meo during a briefing with journalists at the Technocentre in Guyancourt, its R&D headquarters. .

“The drawers were a bit empty”

For the CEO of Renault, this announcement reflects a very strong acceleration of ongoing development projects. “This year, we approved one project per month. We did in one year at Renault what we would have done in four years before. The drawers were a bit empty,” he explained in remarks reported by the AFP.

This amendment to the electrification plan must resolve several issues. First, the markets were mixed after last July’s roadmap. They expected a more ambitious offensive for the group, which prided itself on being a pioneer in electromobility with the Zoé, for a long time the best-selling electric car in Europe. The title had unscrewed to a low of six months following this plan.

Brussels no longer wants thermal cars, including hybrids

The other point is the Brussels foot change on the hybrid. Luca de Meo has repeatedly tried to defend this technology with the authorities and the media. Renault is actually in the process of deploying E-Tech, an innovative hybrid technology on which it has relied heavily. Except that Brussels announced last July its desire to ban from 2035 all thermal engines, including hybrids. In addition, more and more competing brands are programming their switch to 100% electric (Fiat, Opel, Volvo, etc.).

Analysts criticize Renault for having abandoned its leadership in the electric car by allowing itself to be overwhelmed by a wave of much more modern novelties, particularly from Germany with Volkswagen and its ID range (already four models in the catalog), but also from China with extremely competitive products like the Seres 3, an SUV the size of a 3008, at the price of a Zoe…

New Mégane, a test for Luca de Meo

The new Mégane, whose launch is now imminent, must reposition Renault on electromobility with a competitive product. Luca de Meo spent a lot of time reworking this model whose development was already quite advanced when he took the reins of the group in July 2020. The former boss of Seat wanted this compact to be more customer-oriented: color palettes, interior atmosphere … The development teams mobilized to readjust the specifications. Because the success of its launch will be a test for Luca de Meo who has put a lot of stake in it. Renault must absolutely return to the C segment which is three times more profitable, according to him, than the B segment where the diamond brand has never lost its leadership with its Clio and Captur. Its product offensive will continue in late 2023 or early 2024 with the arrival of the new R5. This little electric car must replace Zoe.

Luca de Meo has also confirmed that Dacia will also switch to 100% electric. The exercise will be more complicated for the Romanian subsidiary, which is much more constrained in terms of costs, if it wants to respect its entry-level approach. To market its Spring, less than 20,000 euros, Dacia had to resort to production in China.

A fleet of 400,000 electric cars

Luca de Meo believes that Renault has major competitive advantages in terms of electromobility: patents, investments that have already been amortized, feedback from a fleet of 400,000 cars that have already covered 10 billion kilometres, and expertise in batteries, the unit cost of which he hopes to halve in the next ten years.

However, Renault will necessarily have to rely on its ally Nissan if it wants to gain in competitiveness, in particular to amortize investments in the two electric car platforms CMF-BEV and CMF-EV. It will also be useful for expanding the production of Electricity, the industrial campus project set up by Luca de Meo in Hauts-de-France, with five factories from which 400,000 electric cars will be produced per year (batteries included). Luca de Meo did not give details, but he assures that relations are now peaceful with the Japanese group controlled by Renault up to 44% of the capital. He announced a new summit on January 27 to deepen synergies.

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