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Mike Stevens | Oct 15, 2009

OUTLINING ITS PLAN to make electric vehicles appealing and affordable (both something of a problem for today’s EVs), Renault has launched a new website for its upcoming Fluence.

As reported last month, Renault aims to offer the Fluence sans battery, customers instead leasing battery packs from third party providers like Better Place.

Renault says customers will save money by leasing the batteries, which can cost as much as $16,000 on their own (around $2000 more than a Hyundai Getz).

In Europe, battery packs will be leased at around 250 euros per month for motorists covering up to 30,000km annually - about the same as the cost of running the equivalent petrol model.

Based on the production Fluence, an internal combustion powered sedan expected to succeed the Megane sedan in Renault’s line-up, the Fluence ZEC concept revealed at Frankfurt shows the direction Renault’s electric vehicle range might follow.

renault-fluence-zec-1

Although no official information was released with the images, a three-minute quick charge station is shown in one, pointing to the processes involved in the battery leasing programme.

The mechanical components are likely to be shared with Nissan’s LEAF EV shown in August, with Nissan and Renault likely to spread its development costs across their electric offerings. The LEAF is powered by an electric motor generating 80kw and 280Nm of torque.

renault-fluence-zec-2

Renault’s only pointer to the technology contained within is the ‘Li-ion’ branding displayed inside the boot, pointing to a lithium-ion batter pack contained behind the rear seats.

From the outside, the Fluence ZEC wears all the styling hallmarks of a concept car. Blue-lit lighting front and rear, sweeping bumpers and pronounced sills add to a more showcar-oriented version of the production Fluence's bodywork.

renault-fluence-zec-3

Inside, the interior continues the blue-lit theme with large sweeping surfaces and a large iPod style touch screen interface in the centre of the dash for audio and ventilation controls.

A production version of the all-electric Fluence, along with a conventionally-powered model due to replace the Megane, is set for a 2011 market debut.

[Renault-ze.com]

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