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Renault to sell an electric car in 2 years May 26, 2009

Posted by Sacha in Cars.
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Pélata, #2 of the Renault Group (owner of brands such as Nissan), tells Le Journal des Finances that in 2011 they will mass-produce and sell a fully electrical car (not just an hybrid):

Enfin, dans un monde de plus en plus tourné vers l’écologie, Renault va innover avec la commercialisation de masse d’un véhicule 100 % électrique que nous lancerons à partir de 2011

(translate)

Bullish, huh?

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1. Thomas Heute - May 26, 2009

Can’t remember the source, but the interesting idea is that they are trying to develop a network of stations where you will be able to swap batteries in few minutes (no need to wait for your batteries to charge).
(Just found a competitor who would not want to see this happening: http://www.romandie.com/infos/news2/090424100130.zq0mzz6b.asp )

2. Sacha - May 27, 2009

Interesting.

Yes, I rememer a TV show on French TV entirely dedicated to so-called green-cars where Bolloré was being interviewed. He sounded pretty frustrated by the lack of interest of French industry for what he had been working on for years. He is convinced about the strength of his solution – maybe car makers do not share the same enthusiasm; there is also possibly an ego-war at work here, this is a quite frequent illness in the Franco-French ecosystem des “anciens des Grandes Ecoles”…

Still, I disagree with Bolloré on the 5h thingy. 5h is good enough if you are going to use your car in a city only and have a fully-equipped parking slot. But this is certainly not what I would describe as a “mass-market”, in France at least. Consequently, you need another approach.

I am also EXTREMELY interested in the new projet from Nicholas Hayek, the founder of Swatch and rescuer of the Swiss watch industry in the post-70’s era. He is working on a hydrogen car where the hydrogen is created by a relatively small box (he showed the prototype on TV) using solar energy. That way, you pay for setting up the system but the energy is then free (since it comes from your house’s roof) or you have to buy it if you “don’t have a roof” (read: not able to, no right to, no money to, etc.) This is really a mix of several technologies to get to that result. Frustration on my part is that he communicates relatively little about this amazing project. I’ve found an old interview and a good blog entry if you are interested to read more about it:

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/archive.html?siteSect=883&sid=9112944&ty=st

http://www.h2petition.net/blog/?p=18

Francois Dechery - June 8, 2009

Hi there,

Renault is doing this move, thanks to Carlos Ghosn’s meeting with Shai Agassi, CEO of Better Place, the former co-CEO of SAP, and Shimon Peres, the former Israël Prime Minister. They met in Davos one or two years ago. Shai Agassi and Shimon Peres also met with one or two US carmakers and one Japanese at the same time. The only one to fully understand the potential of Shai Agassi’s plan was Carlos Ghosn. Hence this plan to build electric cars that will be fully compatible with Better Place’s battery-switching stations. But Better Place is more than just this intelligent battery switching system. It is a global -and very smart- approach of the whole battery food chain, instead of focusing on the car.

To make it short, Better Place is IMO one of the most powerful and smartest plan and business model of the decade. And with the leadership of Shai Agassi, I think that everybody will know about Better Place in a few years like we all know about Google or Amazon today. Everybody will say “Of course, why didn’t I think about it earlier?”. But is is already too late. Better Place is 5 years ahead and moving at the speed of light. Countries like Israël and Denmark are already fully committed. The San Francisco Bay Area, led by the SF mayor, is also getting there. Rather than try to explain what Better Place is all about, you need to (you must!) listen to one of Shai Agassi’s brilliant speeches. He is not just a great leader but a great speaker too. Truly impressive.

The first conference (video is in 3 parts) provides a full overview of the idea and the plan. A bit “old” but very instructive IMO and a very good starting point:
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The second one was at the Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University) and is just even more brilliant in my view, plus some interesting questions from the audience. It was last December 4th, 2008:
http://www.iop.harvard.edu/Multimedia-Center/All-Videos/The-Future-of-Transportation-Ending-our-addiction-to-Oil

A third presentation at Ted Talk last February 2009:

There is also this recent Wired interview. Same ideas but in a different format:

Keep seated, fasten your seat belt and stop smoking. You are in for a treat. A much more than this.

Enjoy.

Francois

3. Francois Dechery - June 8, 2009

Oh and I forgot Hawaii and Australia…

Cheers

Francois


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