Cars | 08 October 2015

Are we on the road to a cleaner, more electric future?

Just a couple of months to go before the COP21 summit kicks off in Paris, more and more media are wondering if electric vehicles might be the real winners on today’s automotive scene. We met Guillaume Berthier, Global Electric Cars Sales and Marketing Director, to find out: Are we finally on the road to a cleaner, more electric future?
by Groupe Renault


The COP21 summit is just weeks away (in November) and awareness is emerging on the need for a long-term answer on cutting down carbon emissions. Might this mean a real take-off for electric vehicles?

G. Berthier: That’s right! Electric vehicle sales are already taking off, up 50% in Europe this year! And the EV ecosystem is gradually taking shape, with charging stations popping up at an unprecedented pace: 70,000 in Europe by the end of the year and probably around 120,000 in 2016.

We’re hoping the COP21 summit will amplify the trend, because the electric vehicle is a very pertinent response to the challenge of reducing CO2 and particulate emissions.

Indeed, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is an official conference partner, with a fleet of 200 Renault ZOEs and Nissan LEAFs providing round-the-clock transport for delegates to the various conference sites, in addition to public transport.


For many customers, the biggest impediment is vehicle range (240 km). Is it realistic to expect twice this range in the near or medium-term future?

G. Berthier:The vast majority of journeys in Europe today are under 100 kilometres. So with its present-day range the electric vehicle meets most actual usage patterns. Sure, a range figure of 200 km raises a psychological barrier on many people’s purchase decisions, but technologies are advancing fast and I’m pretty confident that we’ll be seeing double that range for electric vehicles by 2020.


Megalopolis streets (Paris, London, New York, Beijing, etc.) with electric vehicles only by 2030: reality or science fiction?

G. Berthier: Technically, there’s no reason why not. Electricity grids will have sufficient capacity, through the use of intelligent charge management for example. There’ll be charging stations in private and public carparks, and we can expect to see many major cities restricting entry by internal-combustion vehicles in the years to come.


How do you explain the very high customer satisfaction score (98%) achieved by our all-electric city car?

G. Berthier: As well as giving the (warranted) impression of doing the planet a big favour, electric cars also offer the motorist a number of more mundane, but very real, advantages, such as free parking in certain towns, and authorization to access city-centre areas closed to polluting vehicles.

Our 30,000 customers are also unanimous in praising ZOE’s interior and exterior design. But above all, what they appreciate is the pure driving pleasure: the car is brisk and agile, without any noise or vibration. ZOE is fun and stress-free to drive. More and more people are tempted by this quite unique experience.


How would you present the electric vehicle to young people today, the next generation of motorists?

There’s a whole electric-vehicle ecosystem taking shape, with implications that go beyond transport alone.

Guillaume Berthier - Global Electric Cars Sales & Marketing Director

G. Berthier:
The all-electric vehicle opens a whole new angle on the way people see their cars. It’s a modern, laid-back, no-hassle alternative. The petrol pump becomes an archaic symbol of the bad old days.

You just charge your electric car wherever you happen to be: at home, at work, while you’re doing the shopping. You emit zero CO2. Zero fine particulates. 

And there’s a whole electric-vehicle ecosystem taking shape, with implications that go beyond transport alone. For example, used batteries will be redeployed for storing electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

That’s just one of the broader developments we’ll be seeing in the very near future.

Thank you Guillaume Berthier!

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