The rapidly growing electric vehicles market is intimidating some automakers, who are facing concerns related to steady supply of batteries. In a recent interview, Gilles Normand, senior VP for EVs at Renault said that in the last couple of years, they have been chasing the parts rather than customers, due to growing momentum behind the electric vehicles.
Normand said that the sales of Renault electric vehicles, such as the Zoe subcompact hatchback witnessed a 40% increase in 2018 and reached to 49,600, but the growth was intrigued during the first half of the year due to the battery supply problems at LG Electronics’ Poland factory.
Normand mentioned that the worldwide electric vehicle market surpassed 1 million vehicles last year, including a market share of over 3% in largest market, China. He added that by 2022, Renault is expecting worldwide market share to be in double digits.
According to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory, the sales of electric vehicles in Europe grew 31% and reached to 126,423 last year. Zoe sales grew by 27% to 39,469, with 38,425 sales in Europe and over 5,300 in December alone. Last year, the sales of Kangoo Z.E. van multiplied, reaching to 9,001 overall, with most of them in Europe.
Normand added that the profile of electric van buyers is witnessing a significant shift from fleets, including postal services to tradespeople, who work towards ensuring access to diesel-restricted city centers.
Renault is looking forward to launch a new generation of Zoe, which the company will manufacture at its Flins plant, however, as per Normand, the automaker is yet to decide a final launch date.
He added that the Zoe is currently a highly competitive car, with a contemporary design. He mentioned that it is not a viable move for the company to rush to introduce a new generation, when the old car is still doing good in market and is competitive.
By the end of this year, Renault is expected to witness high competition mainly from electric versions of the approaching Opel Corsa and Peugeot 208. He added that the company is aware of the upcoming competition and is taking steps to robustly answer whatever they come across.
Furthermore, Normand said that Twizy, the electric urban runabout by Renault has identified an unforeseen customer sources in South Korea. He mentioned that the sales of Twizy have gone up by 45% in 2018, reaching to 4,000 units globally. He called 2018 one of the best years for Twizy, since its introduction in 2012.
Mohit Loshali, an experienced campaigner, writes about the latest evolutions and trends in the automotive and allied domains. He has helped clients from across the globe with his thought-provoking research and analysis.