Renault commits to electric and autonomous vehicles to drive sales growth

French car manufacturer Renault will tap into the electric vehicle (EV) and autonomous driving (AD) markets to help deliver annual revenues of more than €70bn by 2022, as part of the company's Drive the Future strategy.

Launched today (6 October), the strategy will aim to build on Renault’s work with EVs to date, by rolling out eight pure EVs and 12 hybrid models by 2022. The new EV portfolio will be accompanied by 15 autonomous vehicles, one fully-autonomous model and new mobility services such as ride-hailing options and a “robo-taxi” service, both of which will be delivered towards the end of the plan’s timeframe.

Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn said: “Groupe Renault is now a healthy, profitable, global company looking confidently ahead. Drive the Future is about delivering strong, sustainable growth benefiting from investments in key regions and products, leveraging Alliance resources and technologies, and increasing our cost competitiveness. Supported by the men and women of Renault, this new plan will unleash our full potential to innovate and grow in a rapidly-changing industry.”

The French carmaker plans to launch its new portfolio to increase annual vehicle sales. Renault is targeting sales of five million vehicles annually by 2022, a 40% increase on the 3.47 million vehicles sold in 2016.

EV alliance

The plan will leverage an €18bn research and development investment, which will be backed by other investments from the Renault-Nissan alliance, the world’s largest automotive partnership. In fact, the alliance added Tokyo-based Mitsubishi recently, after Nissan purchased a 34% holding in the car maker.

Despite the Renault-Nissan alliance selling more battery vehicles that any other firm in the industry to date, the flurry of new EV portfolios from the likes of Volvo, Volkswagen and General Motors has seen the two car makers accelerate ambitions to appeal to an invigorated consumer market.

Earlier this week, Nissan unveiled a longer-distance Nissan LEAF alongside plans to integrate EVs into national and local grids. While Renault is yet to reveal whether it will update its own Zoe EV model, the announcement is a signal of its ambitions.

Renault is the first of the three members of the alliance to publish its 2022 business blueprint. Nissan will announce its strategy on 16 October, while Mitsubishi Motors will unveil its strategy on 18 October. Renault owns a 44% stake in Nissan, and Nissan has 15% ownership of Renault.

Earlier this year, Renault revealed that it will venture into the energy storage market, after partnering with energy equipment suppliers Powervault and retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S).

Powervault and Renault are placing 50 home storage units into UK households already fitted with solar arrays. The trials will incorporate second-life EV batteries provided by the carmaker to reduce the cost of the unit by 30%.

Matt Mace

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