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Monday, June 20, 2011

Renault and Better Place partner in Australia to launch Fluence Z.E. in 2012 [video]



Better Place and Renault today announced a strategic partnership in Australia, expanding their global relationship by bringing the world’s first mass market, zero-emission car with a switchable battery to the region. Under this agreement, Renault will import the first electric car equipped with a switchable battery, the Fluence Z.E. into Australia, and Better Place will provide the electric car charging network and services that make the car more convenient and affordable for the mass market.

Renault and Better Place will commence a joint marketing campaign in the lead up to launch in 2012. The cars will arrive in Australia by the middle of 2012 for the first customers in Canberra, with general sales due to commence later in the year. Customers will buy the Fluence Z.E. from Renault and sign up for a Better Place membership package that is tailored for their driving needs.

Renault Fluence Z.E.

Renault has developed Fluence Z.E., an elegant, family electric car that features a switchable battery. As the first production mid size sedan electric vehicle, Renault Fluence Z.E. targets both private motorists and fleet operators who are looking for a vehicle that is both economical to run and respectful of the environment.

The switchable battery technology completely offsets the range limitation of traditional EVs, as a depleted battery can be exchanged for a fully charged one at Better Place’s fully automated battery switch stations. The car will be fully compliant with ADR. The Fluence Z.E. will offer Australian drivers a range of 185 kilometers on a full charge, under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC); however the effective range of the vehicle is unlimited. This infinite range is due to the convenience of the switchable batteries that enable drivers to immediately “fill up” their Fluence Z.E. via a fully automated process in any Better Place battery switch station, in less time than it takes to fill up with petrol.

A widespread infrastructure and an attractive offer

Better Place is building and operating the first fully integrated electric car charging network in Australia, and it will be the infrastructure provider for the innovative Fluence Z.E. Better Place has announced its plans to begin the deployment of its infrastructure in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, starting in late 2011, with a progressive national rollout to follow. By 2013 Better Place will give Australia the largest electric car charge network in the world, which is expected to outpace current deployment plans in market-leading countries including the US and China.

The Better Place membership provides unlimited access to batteries, the network of public charge spots and battery switch stations, and personal charge spots at home or work. The membership also includes supply of 100% renewable electricity, personalised energy management and navigation services via in-car and network software and 24-hour access to customer service and support. The membership packages give drivers a fixed price for their mobility, freeing them form the constant volatility of petrol prices.

When combined with the Better Place network, the Renault Fluence Z.E. is the first mass-market, electric car with unlimited range. It gives Australian drivers the same freedom they enjoy with a petrol car, but with zero oil and zero emissions.

A comprehensive network to purchase and maintain Fluence Z.E.

Customers will be able to purchase Fluence Z.E. in selected Renault dealers, as well as through Better Place Experience Centres. Those centres will provide visitors with a full experience of electric mobility. As for maintenance, most Renault dealers will provide after sales for Fluence Z.E., both for regular service and specific repairs.

Zero-emission mobility, a concept adapted to Australian cities

Renault and Better Place are committed to promoting zero-emission mobility, primarily for urban and suburban driving. Australian homes have an average of 2.7 cars per household and one million new passenger and light commercial vehicles are sold every year. Average fuel consumption is 11 l/100 km and average mileage 20,000 to 25,000 km a year. The petroleum cost per household is 45% higher in Australia than in France owing to higher mileage.

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