Renault Fluence Z.E. Quietly Discontinued
While the Nissan Leaf electric car has seen sales surpass 100,000 units worldwide, its French ally Renault hasn’t had nearly as much success selling EVs. Production of the Renault Fluence Z.E. electric sedan has been quietly discontinued due to low sales and the bankruptcy of Project Better Place.
The bankruptcy of Project Better Place is a main contributing factor to the end of Fluence Z.E. electric sedan, as Renault had been building a special, battery-swappable version specifically for Better Place. Renault actually took the first steps towards ending production of the electric mid-size sedan in May of 2013 by halting production once the fate of Better Place became public. While Renault also offers a version with a permanent, rechargeable battery, sales were not strong enough to justify continued production.
That doesn’t mean Renault is without any electric vehicles though. It still has the Leaf-based Zoe Z.E., the Kangoo electric van, and the best-selling EV in all of Europe, the Renault Twizy. The Fluence Z.E also will live on in a way though, as the platform underpins a joint project by Renault and Samsung in Korea, called the Renault Samsung SM3 ZE. This largely identical car has a standard, permanent battery, but thanks to extra support from the South Korean government, has been doing much better than its European cousin. Some Fluence Z.E. customers also remain adamant in their love and support for these discontinued EVs.
For now it seems electric cars still work best as either affordable compacts or luxury-laden full-size sedans. Maybe the mid-size segment just isn’t ready for electric cars?