Alastair Sloane: We're charging into electric cars

Renault's take on the electric car. Photo / Supplied
Renault's take on the electric car. Photo / Supplied

A Renault marketing campaign will use comparisons with steam power to highlight the advanced technology of its new electric vehicles.

The French carmaker will air a commercial on television networks in its global markets in September as part of its largest television ad campaign this year. It will also use social media sites such as YouTube and Facebook to extend the reach of the advertisement.

The ad is mainly intended to build awareness of electric vehicles and show how battery-powered devices already play an important role in consumers' lives. In one scene, a waiter brings a steam-operated credit card device to restaurant patrons instead of a battery-operated one to underscore how consumers interact with electric power without realising it.

Renault and partner Nissan aim to become the leader in electric cars. From 2015 the alliance will have a global production capacity of 500,000 electric vehicles a year.

Renault plans to build more than 200,000 electric vehicles a year by 2015-2016. The company plans to sell up to 40,000 in 2011 after launching all-electric versions of its Kangoo car-derived van, Fluence sedan and Twizy scooter-style two-seater.

The battery-powered Zoe small car will be launched next year as the company's fourth, and volume-selling, electric vehicle, selling in France for about $27,000, roughly the price in Europe of Renault's diesel-powered Clio hatchback.

Nissan has already launched its Leaf hatchback - the 2011 World Car of the Year - in the US, Japan and Europe and will have the car on sale in New Zealand early next year.

Nissan had been working with Wellington City Council on a pilot programme for the Leaf. But the plan has been abandoned - the council says it is "ready to embrace the retail availability of these vehicles without the need for further evaluation."

Said Mayor Celia Wade-Brown: "Wellington is well placed to welcome electric cars. We now have a public charging post in the city and the Nissan Leaf is highly anticipated here. We look forward to its arrival and sale in New Zealand".

The German government plans to commit billions of dollars to boost the use of electric cars to 1 million cars by 2020, says the newspaper Bild.

- NZ Herald

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