Mike Stevens | Jun 21, 2011

Update: The first Renault Fluence Z.E. vehicles will arrive in Q2 2012, for select customers in Canberra. Vehicles will be available for general sale in Q4 2012 from selected Renault dealers.

Renault has confirmed that the all-electric version of the Fluence sedan will soon hit Australian roads - an announcement that looked unlikely this time last year.

Now, through its partnership with electric network supplier Better Place, Renault's Fluence 'Z.E.' (zero emission) will go on sale in Australia sometime in the middle of next year.

The Fluence Z.E. is a "100 percent electric" car, powered by a synchronous electric motor that produces 70kW and 226Nm of torque.

Drawing energy from a 22kWh lithium-ion battery, the Fluence Z.E. offers a driving range of up to 185km off one charge.

Under the agreement announced today, Renault Australia will import the Fluence Z.E. and Better Place will provide the electric car charging network.

Customers will buy the Fluence Z.E. from Renault and sign up for a Better Place membership package tailored for their driving needs.

Importantly, the announcement also offers Australian buyers another ray of hope for Nissan's Leaf EV. The Japanese half of the Renault-Nissan Alliance has previously pointed to a 2012 launch for its electric hatch, but solid timing has yet to be revealed.

"The partnership with Better Place offers a breakthrough mobility solution and electric drive experience to Australian motorists," Renault Australia Managing Director Justic Hocevar said.

"As a global leader in electric vehicle technology, Renault will be one of the first manufacturers to bring this new era of motoring to life in Australia in partnership with Better Place.”

"Energy used to charge the batteries for Renault Fluence Z.E. vehicles will be drawn from renewable energy sources," he added.

The news follows a Better Place announcement in 2009 that it would launch Australia's first electric vehicle recharging network in Canberra.

In October last year, the first of Canberra's charging points was opened, and a complete network is scheduled to be ready by late 2011. The company plans to begin a progressive national rollout in the following year.

"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," a Better Place press release reads.

Better Place has also confirmed that it will display the Fluence ZE on the company's own stand at next month's Australian International Motor Show.

The Australian International Motor Show opens at 6pm on Friday 1 July and runs through until Sunday 10 July at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Other new models and concepts confirmed for the 2011 AIMS include the 2012 Subaru Impreza, Toyota Prius V and Prius C, the Suzuki Swift S-Concept, the Peugeot 508, the Range Rover Evoque, the Toyota FT-86 II Concept, the 2012 Audi A6 and the 2012 Jaguar XF.

Appearances have also been confirmed for the all-new Lamborghini Aventador, the Lexus LF-Gh concept, the Mazda Shinari concept, and a preview of Australian carmaker JOSS Developments' upcoming JT1 supercar.

Follow TMR's coverage of the 2011 show at our special AIMS-dedicated page, and on our Twitter page.

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