Renault to sell just 10,000 Zoe EVs in 2013, miss targets

Article by Anita Panait, on October 31, 2013

Renault expects to sell just around 10,000 Zoe subcompact electric cars in 2013, 40,000 below its initial target, market analyst Inovev was cited by Automotive News Europe. Inovev said the 50,000 sales target for Zoe was provided by several high-ranking executives at Renault.

Early this year, the French carmaker said that the Renault-Nissan alliance would fail to meet its target of selling 1.5 million electric vehicles around the world by 2016. A spokeswoman for Renault said the alliance has yet to set any new sales targets yet.

Renault commenced selling the Zoe in Europe earlier this year, and sold only around 6,600 units globally in the first nine months of 2013.

Despite that, the Zoe is the top-selling EV in Renault's electrified vehicle lineup, which also includes the Fluence Z.E. sedan, Kangoo Z.E. small van and Twizy two-seat model.

According to Michel Costes, president and chief executive of Inovev, while Zoe sales will fall short of Renault's projections, consumer interest in the unit and other EVs will grow once more public places for plugging in the car are available.

Costes told Automotive News Europe that they expect the Zoe and EVs in general to continue becoming a popular alternative to combustion engine vehicles as charging stations become more available.

He, however, noted that that growth will happen slower than what Renault forecast. IHS Automotive estimates Renault to sell 23,434 Zoe units in 2014; 25,843 units in 2015; and around 50,000 by 2020.

According to IHS technology specialist Alastair Hayfield, consumer acceptance of EVs is influenced by the presence of public charging infrastructures, legislation, fuel prices, and battery technology.

Created from the beginning as an all-electric car, Renault ZOE is a supermini of perfect, flowing lines. The exclusive front end conveys the fresh brand character with its well-disposed, alluring looks. The blue impact of the logo, headlamps, and dark-tinted windows recognize ZOE as an electric vehicle. Mirroring the concept of immaculateness, the cabin intends to make a relaxing, zen feel with materials that are delicate to the touch.

A design adventure dating back to the end of 2008

Toward the end of January 2008 at the Davos Forum, Carlos Ghosn revealed the dream of the Renault brand to market a range of four electric cars. The pioneer model was project X10, a supermini created as an all-electric car, targeted for mass marketing.

This sweeping mission was put in the hands of the pre-project groups, who validated its specialized and economic feasibility on December 16, 2008. This denoted the starting point of the design procedure, organized on a competition basis. The brief unveiled on January 21, 2009 expressed that the design ought to be "friendly and inspiring for an innovative, responsible all-electric car".

ZOE, a car with a distinction

The first creative recommendations embraced an extremely radical process. Designers saw the new electrical era as an incredible chance to revolutionize the vehicle. Nevertheless, little by little, studies gradually connected towards a more practical approach.

The transformation from internal combustion to electric power would already mark a significant break in customer propensities, so it was imperative for the styling of ZOE not to be excessively complicated. The point was to design a vehicle with a distinction, but mirroring the formal cues of vehicle design in its lines and sizes, so it would be promptly accepted.

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