China, which already accounts for 60% of global electric vehicle sales, has recently introduced quotas that will further encourage the adoption of these new vehicles. Supporting the growth of the Chinese market is therefore an important focus for Renault. In response, the Group has increased its strategic partnerships and launches its Renault City K-ZE mini-city car, first presented in China at the Shanghai Motor Show.
With 457,000 registrations in 2017 and nearly 760,000 in 2018, in one year, the Chinese electric vehicle market grew by nearly 70%, and the measures taken by the Chinese government point to continued very sustained growth in the coming years. The increase is all the more significant as it is taking place in a declining Chinese automotive market for the first time since the 1990s!
Faced with rapid urbanisation, China is determined to reduce polluting emissions from road transport. At the same time, it intends to reduce the country’s dependence on hydrocarbon imports and support the development of an industrial sector focused on electric vehicles.
Since 2019, the country has imposed a quota on manufacturers for 100% electric or hybrid vehicles, which must represent 10% of total new sales.
At the same time, some major cities are imposing increasingly stringent restrictions: the city of Beijing, for example, only issues 10,000 permits for the registration of combustion-powered vehicles per month to encourage its inhabitants to switch to electric.
These various measures are leading China to formulate resolutely optimistic prospects for the development of electricity. It forecasts sales of around 2 million electric vehicles in 2020, 7 million in 2025 and 16 million in 2030. If these forecasts are confirmed, the share of electric vehicles in the new car market will exceed 40% at this stage.
Participating in the growth of the Chinese market is in line with Renault’s objective of democratising the electric vehicle on a large scale, as part of the strategic priorities of its “Drive the Future” plan. To achieve this, the Group benefits from a dual legitimacy: its position as a leader and pioneer in the European market, but also the world’s leading position in electric cars held by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
In 2019, the brand realised its ambitions with the launch of the All-New Renault City K-ZE, which marked its first 100% electric foray into the mini-city car market, known as the A segment. A few months after its presentation in concept form, K-ZE is making its public debut at the Shanghai Motor Show.
“The launch of Renault City K-ZE shows the geographical expansion of our electric offer towards China. It also demonstrates our ability to apply Renault’s electrical expertise to new market segments,” commented Yongho Shin, Deputy Commercial Range Director.
Renault City K-ZE will also be the first electric vehicle marketed under Renault’s brand in a country that previously required Western manufacturers to distribute their products under a local brand. “Being able to use the Renault brand is a considerable asset: it reminds us of our leadership in the electrical sector in Europe and evokes very high-quality standards,” explains Yongho Shin. The small city car with the SUV look combines this European brand image with a design driven by China to ensure that it meets the expectations of the local consumer.
In recent years, Renault has also entered into several industrial partnerships to lay the foundations for its expansion in the world’s leading electric car market. For example, the Group has partnered with Chinese manufacturer Dongfeng to deploy its first industrial infrastructure in the country in 2013. The partnership was then extended with the creation of a joint venture between the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and Dongfeng. It is this joint venture, eGT New Energy Automotive Co. Ltd, which will take over the production of Renault City K-ZE from its Shiyan plant.
In December 2018, Renault also announced a significant stake in JMEV, the subsidiary dedicated to the electric vehicle of the Chinese manufacturer JMCG. Completed in 2019 after approval by the local authorities, this operation should enable the two groups to strengthen their respective positions on the electricity market, thanks to the complementarity of their skills.
Copyrights: iStock, Zulong JIANG (BEIJING NDC STUDIO,INC.)