Renault has postponed the Australian launch of its electric Fluence ZE (Zero Emission) sedan, citing the need for greater charging infrastructure.
Originally scheduled to arrive this year, the Fluence ZE was to be launched in a partnership with infrastructure provider Better Place Australia.
The decision to postpone the EV's launch has come from Renault's France headquarters, confirming only that the delay would "allow for a later rollout of infrastructure in Australia".
Electric vehicles currently available in Australia include the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi's i-MiEV and the locally developed Blade Electron. Holden's range-extended Volt EV also launched this year.
The Fluence was expected to launch with a limited pilot program in Canberra - where Better Place Australia offers an advanced charging network - followed by wider availability in the fourth quarter of this year.
While the limited charging infrastructure in Australia did not deter Renault's alliance partner Nissan from launching the Leaf here, the design of the Fluence ZE's electric system demanded a different approach - including dedicated battery swap stations.
The Fluence was expected to enter at around $40,000, a price that did not include the cost of leasing a swappable battery pack from Better Place. Purchase of the $47,000 Nissan Leaf includes a fixed battery pack, however.
Renault may not be without an electric model in Australia for too long though, with the smaller Zoe EV still under consideration for the local market.
"Zoe represents the future for Renault, it's a ground-up electric vehicle and it looks fantastic, and we do look forward to being able to offer it as part of our range in the future," Renault Australia's Emily Ambrosy told TMR.
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