Renault Pledges to Cut Battery Costs 60% This Decade in EV Push

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Renault SA aims to cut the cost of its batteries by 60% this decade as the struggling French carmaker seeks to accelerate a push into electric vehicles.

Renault also plans to lower the cost of its electric motors by 30%, make them more compact and extend their range, it said Wednesday. It plans to roll out several EVs in the coming years, including a revival of the iconic and affordable ‘4L’ model.

“We’ll lead the energy transition and make electric cars very popular,” Chief Executive Officer Luca de Meo said when presenting the company’s updated EV strategy. EVs will account for up to 90% of Renault-branded cars by the end of this decade, indicating a gradual phasing out of hybrids.

The automaker is making a big bet on electric cars and earlier this week unveiled plans to secure batteries for its future vehicles produced in France. China’s Envision Group agreed to spend as much as 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) on a battery factory near Renault’s auto plant in Douai.

Renault, which had a record loss last year, also plans to acquire a stake of slightly more than 20% in a year-old French startup called Verkor for higher-performance power packs and could join a venture called ACC, spearheaded by rival Stellantis NV and TotalEnergies SE.

Renault Pledges to Cut Battery Costs 60% This Decade in EV Push

Vintage Revival

In deciding to revive the 4L model that dates back to the 1960s after also announcing plans to remake the Renault 5 into an EV, de Meo is taking his penchant for vintage a step further. The latter will cost a third less than its compact Zoe EV, the company said.

While the French company blazed a trail with the best-selling Zoe, it’s at risk of falling behind rivals including Germany’s Volkswagen AG that are fast rolling out a slew of battery-powered models.

Part of Renault’s push into affordable EVs is a pledge to lower battery-pack costs to less than $100 per kilowatt-hour in 2025, and below $80 per kilowatt-hour in 2030.

Renault Pledges to Cut Battery Costs 60% This Decade in EV Push

Those price targets “are in line with other western automakers,” said BloombergNEF analyst James Frith. “They are also within the range that we would expect for volume production of EV batteries.”

Renault fell 2.5% as of 11:58 a.m. in Paris. The company’s shares have dropped about 5% this year.

Renault also plans to bolster battery recycling and work more more closely with its Japanese partners Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. on battery technology and EV platforms.

Its Douai vehicle assembly plant is one of three sites Renault plans to combine and turn into an EV hub called ElectriCity capable of churning out some 400,000 cars a year. With the French state as its most powerful shareholder, Renault has come under political pressure to preserve jobs and keep EV technology in France.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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