Electric Smart, Renault Twingo Facing Weak Demand


Renault EVs Face Weak Demand

Despite the incredible adoption rate of all-electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S, makers of smaller EVs like the Smart Electric Drive and recently-updated Mitsubishi iMiEV are facing weak demand – which has led some people within Renault-Nissan to rethink the company’s strategy in re: an electric Renault Twingo.

“We’re not in a situation where the market has followed our forecasts,” Chief Performance Officer for Renault, Jerome Stoll said in an interview with Automotive News. “People haven’t yet reached the point where they feel the need to have an electric vehicle for full daily use. People need to feel that need to shift to electric models.”

That’s bad news for a company that wants to put more than 1.5 million EVs on the world’s roads by 2020. It’s also bad news for Mercedes’ Smart brand and Mitsubishi, who are both planning to field their own versions of the recently-revealed Renault Twingo / upcoming Nissan Micra model.

Still, it’s not all bad news. Renault delivered more than 19,000 electric cars last year, on top of Nissan’s own strong Leaf sales, out of a total of 2.6 million Renault-branded cars and light commercial vehicles. The company, then, is still on track for its 2020 goal, even without the electric subcompacts. As for Smart and Mitsubishi, it looks like their dealers are giving them a different story, since they seem committed to developing their EVs.

We’ll have more on the next iMiEV and Smart Electric Drive models, of course, as the news develops. Stay tuned!


Source | Photos: Renault, via Automotive News, Europe.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • t_

    I’m ready to have a car, that’s usable only in the city and I have to pay attention if it is charged, but if only the price justifies my extra worry.
    Many small electric cars are so expensive right now, that they cost more than a similarly sized regular car + fuel for it for 10 – 15 years. This is the life of the car. To be adopted from the masses, they will have to get more competitive. Otherwise they are in the category “show off”, “green geek”, “I’m so eager to be in progressive, taht I’m ready to pay much and have the money”. But all those people are not the masses and their number is not infinite.
    So, until the prices of electric cars go down, wider adoption is impossible. The chinese build cheaper small cars for some years. They are not quite so nice, but I’ve driven one and it is not so bad for less than half price and going around town for a quick trip of 10 miles. So it is possible to build it cheaper.

    • The trouble with that 10-15 year thing is that a good % of new car buyers keep their car for 3-5 years, if that.