Renault-Nissan-Daimler Officially Announce Cooperation on Electric Cars, Smart EV coming in 2013

Yesterday I brought you rumors of an impending tie-up announcement by Renault-Nissan and Daimler. Surprise, surprise. The companies have today made it official… and provided some more tidbits about what the cooperation actually means.

Chief interesting bits among them: technology sharing on upcoming fully electric versions of the Renault Twingo (very popular in Europe) and the Smart ForTwo as well as diesel engine sharing for both models.

The companies have sealed the deal with a largely symbolic 3.1% cross-shareholding of each partner’s equity capital. Reportedly, brand identities will not be affected.

“Our skills complement each other very well,” said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “Right away, we are strengthening our competitiveness in the small and compact car segment and are reducing our CO2 footprint – both on a long-term basis. We know that we can make brand-typical products based on shared architectures. The individual brand identities will remain unaffected.”

Electric Cars and Small Car Platforms

The three companies will work together on developing a common small car platform that will form the basis of the next generation Smart ForTwo and Renault Twingo. The new platform will retain the rear wheel drive of current Smart cars and the companies are targeting 2013 as an official launch date for them. To avoid direct competition between the brands, Daimler’s Smart will be a two door car and Renault’s Twingo will be a four door.

The Renault-Nissan-Daimler Alliance (can I call it that now?) says that both vehicles will also be available in electric drive from the moment they launch… although it’s unclear if the electric drive versions will be RWD like the conventional versions. But that would be sick to have all the torque of an electric motor applied to the rear wheels in a tiny car! Talk about friggin fun.

Fuel Efficient and Large Engines

Renault-Nissan will also provide 3 and 4 cylinder engines to Daimler for Daimler’s as yet unnanounced lineup of Mercedes-Benz compact cars. Renault-Nissan says that they will benefit from the deal by “improving their capacity utilization” (read “cranking their factories up to full tilt”). In return, Daimler will provide their larger diesel and gasoline Mercedes-Benz engines to Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti. The companies have also agreed to work together to develop future gasoline and diesel engines.

Light Commercial Vehicles

In the wake of the Ford Transit Connect’s global success, Renault-Nissan-Daimler will cooperate to bring an entry level light commercial vehicle to the market under the Mercedes-Benz brand by 2012 and will also design a larger midsize commercial vehicle at some point in the future. No word on whether this light commercial vehicle would also have a jointly developed electric powertrain, but it would only make sense given that the Transit Connect comes in such a platform now too.

Source: Renault-Nissan


Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.