Renault has announced pricing of its Fluence EV (what it calls a ZE – Zero Emissions vehicle) ahead of the car going on sale in the UK next year.
A special ‘Prime Time’ launch edition will be priced at £17,850 on the road, after a £5,000 plug-in car grant has been applied. On top of that, the batteries will need to be leased at a charge of £75 per month (based on a 6,000 miles/3 years, whatever that means).
Renault is pitching the third EV in its range, after the Kangoo and Twizzy, as “the UK’s most affordable electric car”, which may well cheese off sister company Nissan in its attempts to find homes for its Leaf EV.
But this car is cheaper than the Leaf and also benefits from quite a lot of standard equipment, including 16” alloys, auto lights and wipers, climate control, cruise control and the Carminat TomTom smart satellite navigation of which Renault has now supplied over one million.
First concern for any EV driver, however, is not what toys they have to play with, but will they get to where they want to go without it running out of charge — so-called ‘range anxiety’. Renault claims a range of up to 115 miles (184km), although the reality can be quite different if you’re cracking along or driving up hills fully loaded. Still, the 95bhp on offer should ensure neither of those tasks are too unpleasant.
EVs, which use only battery power and need to be charged at the end of each journey, suit a particular sort of person with a particular sort of lifestyle though and such folk are unlikely to be put off by such things. Of more note is that this EV will seat up to five people and is conspicuously affordable compared to rivals. Renault is making a big deal of the fact that if you bought the Fluence over a competitive car like the Mitusbishi i-Miev (which costs £23,990 and is tiny) then you’d have almost enough change left over for a Twizzy two seater.
Is that compelling enough though? It will be interesting to see who chooses a Fluence EV over something life the Vauxhall Astra ecoFLEX we detailed earlier today, which is also VED and Congestion charge exempt and does nearly 80mpg.