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First Electric Vehicle with 'battery switch' from Better Place

First Electric Vehicle with 'battery switch' from Better Place

 Renault have revealed the definitive version of its 100% electric sedan, three-volume Renault Fluence Z.E. Orders opened in September 2011. Prices range between €20,900 and €26,900, depending on local VAT rates and available tax incentive packages, excluding battery.



 Just released: Comprehensive video showing the Better Place switching station in action. 



The world's first Electric Vehicle with 'battery switch' capability has been launched by Renault in Israel, Denmark and Australia, in conjunction with 'Better Place', the world's leading exponent of the 'swappable battery' business model for electric vehicles. The main problem with this model is the range is still only 100 miles, and  there is no hybrid version available. As other 'pure' electric vehicles are finding, this could prove a major obstacle to the majority of purchasers who need greater flexibility. A full recharge is estimated to take 6 - 8 hours which again, in effect, restricts the attraction of the vehicle to commuters who have less than a 40 mile journey to work.

The Fluence ZE launch price in Denmark is approximately £22,000, without the battery. This is leased on a monthly basis, allowing the owner to recharge at designated charging stations, or replace the battery, a service that is claimed will take only 5 minutes. In the UK ( where there is no battery switch available yet )  the vehicle is advertised at £17,495 after the subsidy see for example Evans Halshaw, where there is an excellent video clip describing the vehicle. Renault estimate that the UK rental charge for the battery including assistance will be £75 per month, considerably less than the avearge fuel bill for most motorists.

This 'pay as you go' business model should transform the market for electric vehicles, which are seen to be too expensive, despite the UK subsidy that reduces the price by approximately £5000. Crucial to the business case, is that the purchase of a diesel or petrol vehicle does not include the fuel that will be consumed during the lifetime of the vehicle's use, so a similar charging model needs to be invented to make the electric vehicle comparable.

It is hoped that the model currently used by mobile phone companies where the customer rents or buys the handset but pays monthly depending on usage, often with a pre arranged charging plan, will encourage take up of this type of vehicle.

For a full review of the Renault Fluence ZE, click here.

For a video showing the use of the Renault Fluence ZE by Better Place in Denmark. please click here ( this part of the website is in Danish, but the majority of the Better Place site is in English)

For any advice and assistance for issues like these please do call Jeremy on 0844 2722322 or submit a comment below. Jeremy will come back to you at the earliest convenience.

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