“Giving a second life to our electric car batteries”
Published by The Editorial Committee on 06.25.2018 - 5 min
Gilles Normand, Director of Groupe Renault’s Electric Vehicle division, discusses what motivated the creation of a web platform dedicated to electric mobility, in the context of the diamond brand’s increasing investment in the development and production of electric vehicles.
Why did you decide to launch a site focused on electric mobility?
First and foremost, since the general press and social media have taken up the subject, more and more people are wondering about the reasons for driving an electric vehicle. They would also like to know what impact a mass consumer market for electromobility will have on their daily lives. We are in a good position to answer their questions, because Groupe Renault has been investing time and money into this field for more than ten years, and has positioned itself as the European leader of electric vehicles.
Besides that, we wanted to open our own communication channel so as to spread our vision and to enrich the knowledge of as many people as possible on the subject of electric mobility. If electric vehicles represent a small part of the market in the majority of countries, often around 1%, the fact remains that up to 24% of our potential customers are thinking about acquiring an electric vehicle in the near future, more or less. Even while it is important to draw a distinction between an intention to buy and the actual act of doing so, it is by answering their questions that we can increase sales in the long term.
What topics are covered on the site?
Electric vehicles are, by definition, linked to the energy grid, and highly connected at that. The stakes around their rollout are, therefore, quite large, and touch on many different areas. On this site, you will find many subjects on the advantages of electric mobility, for both the world of today and tomorrow, on ecological transition, or even on the positive contributions made by electric vehicles to the energy network that charges them.
This site will give pride of place to information centred on all those areas, and will let you hear from different experts, both from Renault and elsewhere. Beyond that, we will, of course, listen to our different audiences on social media, especially through our Facebook and Twitter accounts which are dedicated to electric vehicles.
Why decide to launch the site now?
In the past year and a half, interest in electric vehicles has accelerated, leading to most of our competitors investing in the field. That is why the market is seeing the emergence of major technological innovations, such as the development of solid-state batteries which will, eventually, come to replace the lithium-ion batteries currently in use. This is bringing us towards an inflection point in the electric vehicle market. And everything suggests that around 2025, this segment will represent just over 10% of the worldwide automotive market. The pool of customers interested in switching to electric is filling up little by little.
We have, in fact, made two announcements that take these parameters into account. The first is regarding an investment of a billion euros, to make France the centre of excellence for the electric vehicle industry. The second concerns the opening of our second EV store, an urban location to promote electric vehicles, based in Berlin. For all these reasons, it seemed to us that this moment was particularly conducive to the launch of a website dedicated to electric mobility.
In what way is Renault’s approach different from that of its competitors?
Renault’s approach is that of a pioneer in the field of electric vehicles. More than 9 years ago, without the pressures of regulations or public opinion, we proposed electric solutions that moved us towards the objective of cutting emissions to zero, in a context where we were developing petrol and diesel cars simultaneously with technologies like hybrid and rechargeable hybrid vehicles.
Renault is the only manufacturer today to offer a range of products with five 100% electric models. 170,000 Renault electric vehicles are travelling roads around the world. More than 30,000 professionals have been trained in electric power, across 56 markets where the Group markets electric vehicles. As a champion of affordable electric mobility, we have acquired valuable experience that allows us to design, manufacture, market, repair, and sell these types of vehicles at a discount. Going forward, we are continuing our efforts to lower the price of our products even more, thanks in particular to the collaborations that are being undertaken with our partner Nissan, from within the Alliance.
#EASYELECTRICLIFE is a wink at the values of our Renault brand. Our brand’s tagline is “Passion for life .” We are striving to bring this idea of “easy life” to our customers; in other words, we want to make their lives easier so they can enjoy it to the fullest. Following that same logic, #EASYELECTRICLIFE demonstrates, in fun, simple way, how we want to help as many curious people as possible to discover electric mobility.
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