Manufacturing News

Renault-Nissan targets low-price electric car

Renault-Nissan will develop an affordable electric car for China because the alliance's current offering, the Nissan Leaf, is too expensive for the local market.

Last year, Nissan China sold just 1,273 units of the Venucia e30, a local version of the Leaf, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The car starts at 242,800 yuan ($36,900).

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said he was unhappy with Venucia sales.

"We envisaged much more than that," Ghosn told journalists at the opening of Renault's plant here in central China last week. "We know price is a handicap. For me the solution will be a very cheap electric car."

Ghosn did not comment on the size of the new EV or whether it would be sold in markets outside of China, such as Europe.

China's market for cars termed 'new energy vehicles' -- EVs and plug-in hybrids -- has rapidly expanded in the last few years to reach 379,000 in 2015, according to government figures quoted by the China Daily newspaper.

Renault EV
Renault will sell its electric Fluence EV in China beginning in 2017 under a Chinese brand name, a condition imposed by the government on foreign automakers in return for a license to build cars in the country. The Fluence EV will be assembled at Renault's Wuhan plant using kits imported from the company's plant in Korea.

Renault expects to sell just a few thousand Fluence EVs a year, said Thierry Bollore, the automaker's chief competitive officer. The car will be badged with an unused brand name from Dongfeng, Renault-Nissan's joint venture partner in China.

China's EV market has been driven by substantial government subsidies. Government officials are targeting five million electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2020.

Ghosn said that despite the incentives, most EV sales are very cheap vehicles made by local brands costing between 30,000 to 50,000 yuan ($4,600 to $7,000). The top-selling electric car last year was the tiny Kandi EV city car with 16,736 sold, according to CAAM.

"The government is saying we want more electric cars. The public is saying 'Yes, but we want them cheap,'" Ghosn said.

He said Renault-Nissan would start development of an affordable electric car but that automakers must first determine what the public would accept. "We need to work out what are the best compromises between acceptable performance and lowest price possible," he said.

Hu Xindong, the head of the Dongfeng-Renault joint venture, described the EV market in China as "passive," driven by incentives rather than choice. He cited the example of China's two biggest cities, Shanghai and Beijing, where residents obtain a license plate -- essentially permission to own a car - for free if they buy an electric vehicle.

Most Viewed in 24 Hours


Start a Digital Twin Journey from Engineering Simulation

Accenture releases survey of digital transformation

CIMC Reduces Unplanned Downtime by 30% with Greater Operational Insight from ThingWorx

Ansys Simulation Speeding up Autonomous Vehicles

  • Tel : 0086-27-87592219
  • Email :
  • Add: 3B1 International Business Center, No. 18 Jinronggang Road (No.4), East Lake High-tech Development Zone, Wuhan, Hubei, PRC. 430223
  • ICP Business License: 鄂B2-20030029-9
  • Copyright © e-works All Rights Reserved