The market for all-electric "city cars" geared specifically toward urban environments continues to expand in Europe, and Renault is giving the genre a wild new twist by putting its all-electric Twizy ZE city car into production for 2011.
The production version is likely to remain relatively unchanged from the concept unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September, and it will be built at the French company's Valladolid plant in Spain.
Valladolid's sister plant in Flins, France, will be used to build a production version of the Zoe ZE supermini concept in 2012, although unlike the Twizy, it won't bear much resemblance to the concept seen at Frankfurt. The Flins site will then become the central hub of Renault's EV activity, producing the company's core electric supermini as well as manufacturing and recycling EV batteries. The all-electric supermini based on the Zoe is predicted to make up two-thirds of the firm's EV sales in Europe.
A letter of intent has also been signed between the Renault-Nissan alliance, the Atomic Energy Commission and France's Strategic Investment Fund to set up a French joint venture focused on EV battery advanced research, industrialization and recycling. Renault will use its battery plants in France, the UK and Portugal to supply EVs built around Europe, with the first batch set to come from the Flins site.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “Realizing the potential of zero-emission mobility on a mass scale requires unique collaboration between public and private sectors.”