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K-ZE electric SUV too small for Australia: Renault

Interest generator: Renault’s Zoe (left) is the cheapest emissions-free model currently available in Australia, but it is unlikely to be joined by the recently-revealed K-ZE (below) in local showrooms.

Renault Australia’s next electrified model expected to come as Captur plug-in SUV

Renault logo17 Oct 2018

RENAULT Australia’s next electrified vehicle is likely to be the plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation Captur SUV announced at this year’s Paris motor show, which could touch down in 2021 to join the emissions-free Zoe and Kangoo ZE in its line-up.
 
Speaking to journalists at Motorclassica last week, Renault Australia managing director Andrew Moore said the French car-maker would likely pass on the K-ZE micro SUV also revealed in Paris earlier this month.
 
“We’re having a look at it (K-ZE), probably the hesitation for me is that it is quite small and … I know how challenging it is these days to sell small cars, so my big push is for a bigger SUV electric vehicle,” he said.
 
“Would I start it with that small SUV? Maybe, we’re still discussing that but I wouldn’t lock it in for Australia simply because of the size.”
 
Announcing the K-ZE at the motor show, Renault chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn also revealed that a hybrid Clio light hatch and plug-in versions of the Megane small car and Captur crossover were also in the works.
 
Mr Moore said that the latter model would be the most likely to arrive in local showrooms as Renault positions itself to capitalise on Australia’s growing SUV demand.
 
“Probably Captur is the one we’d look at most … at the Megane RS launch I talked about more of an SUV line-up for Renault because obviously that’s where the market is in Australia, so looking at any new model like that, I’d probably be moving more towards the SUVs,” he said.
 
“So the Captur one is of interest to us.”
 
Renault Australia currently sells the Zoe micro hatch and Kangoo ZE van EVs, both of which were recently made available to private buyers priced from $47,490 and $49,490 before on-road costs respectively.
 
Mr Moore said interest in the Zoe – the cheapest full-electric vehicle available on the market – has been strong, but added that a sizeable uptake in emissions-free models was still half a decade away.
 
“Zoe is going quite well, we’ve now got a national dealer network of EV experts, and we’ve more than doubled sales of Zoe in the last few months since we’ve had that,” he said. “So EV is definitely lifting, I see a future for Renault in EV because we are at the forefront of that technology.
 
“Personally, I think eventually the Australian market will move to full EV before we get too embedded in plug-in and hybrid.
 
“I think the EV market, when the right product lands, will jump quickly in Australia, there’ll never really be a 30-40 per cent hybrid market before full EV, I think it will go from petrol to full EV.
 
“I think that EV could be 10 per cent of the market, maybe 2023-2024 in terms of sales because the technology is moving so rapidly, the advancements in range, cost, fast charging is moving quickly.”
 
When asked if Renault Australia’s sales tally would reflect the predicted one in 10 ratio, Mr Moore said “possibly” and that “you could probably do that with one or two of the right models”.
 
Year-to-date sales of electric vehicles (which include plug-in hybrids) tally just 1055 to the end of September, or just 0.12 per cent of Australia’s new-vehicle market.
 
Hybrid sales meanwhile, have hit 9894 new registrations in the same period for a 1.12 per cent slice of the overall new-vehicle share.

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