Renault will introduce an all-new, all electric car by 2012 as part of its plans to bring electric cars to market in Europe in the next four years. ( Autocar )
Using Nissan battery technology and Renault's own electric propulsion system, the car will be sold alongside what Renault describes as 'an adaptation of a current vehicle.' That means the new Megane, due on sale in 2009.
Nissan has developed a lithium ion battery with electronics firm NEC that it claims can be mass produced. Building large quantities of lithium ion batteries, which are more efficient and lighter than conventional nickel hydride units, has been difficult and expensive.
At last month's New York Show Nissan showed a concept car, the Denki Cube, powered by laminated lithium ion batteries. Laminated batteries have a greater storage capacity and charge faster than other types.
It plans to launch an electric car 'early next decade' and bring a stand-alone hybrid model to market in 2010.
The Renault-Nissan scheme is a joint venture with California's Project Better Place. Launched in Israel last year, it will arrive in Europe first in Denmark, which says it will have electric cars by 2011.
Better Place claims it will have 100,000 electric cars in operation by the end of 2010. Its business model is based on mobile phone companies; users can subscribe to a network of charging points, with subsidised prices on new cars and an exchange system for batteries that would allow users to swap discharged batteries for fully charged ones at charging points.