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Old 03-02-2011, 08:31 AM   #1
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Default Renault Stays With Removable-Battery Plan for 2012 Zoe EV

Renault is keeping with its plan of building the its Zoe battery-electric vehicle with removable battery packs so that the cars' owners will be able to take advantage of lower upfront costs and of battery-exchange stations such as the ones battery-infrastructure developer Better Place is building in Israel and Denmark.

The French automaker will start selling the Zoe in the second half of 2012 and will price it at about 15,000 euros ($20,700), or roughly half the price of a Nissan Leaf in Europe.

The Zoe price doesn't include the leasing rate for the battery, but with Renault charging 72 euros a month to lease batteries to Kangoo Express battery electric utility vehicle owners, with a cap of about 10,000 miles a year, expect Zoe batteries to lease for the equivalent of about $100 a month.

The Zoe will have a single-charge range of about 100 miles.

Renault is working with partner company Nissan on developing a broad range of electric-drive and smaller-engine cars to meet progressively more stringent greenhouse-gas emissions requirements in both Europe and the U.S.

Nissan and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, whose companies have invested more than $5 billion in electric-drive vehicle development, has said EVs will account for as much as 10% of new light-duty vehicles by the end of the decade, while the two companies have plans to debut eight EVs by 2015.

Renault is the only major automaker so far to plan on building cars with swappable battery packs that will be leased monthly. With Renault behind such a concept, California-based Better Place, which was founded by former high-tech executive Shai Agassi in 2007, raised almost $800 million by early last year.

Better Place last year conducted the world's first commercial battery swap station for electric vehicles with three converted Nissan taxicabs in Tokyo. The cabs swapped out batteries every 50 miles or so, while the Better Place station performed the swap in about 60 seconds.
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