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Europe/India: Renault seeks partner for entry into electric car mkt

MUMBAI: French automaker Renault is scouting for a strategic partner to facilitate its entry into the electric car market in India, two people
familiar with the development said.

Renault, which last month exited its joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra, is talking to various groups including, possibly, the country’s only electric car maker Reva, sources said talking on condition of anonymity.
The partnership will take care of infrastructure support that includes charging stations and battery leasing services, they said.

A company spokesman confirmed that it is looking at the electronic vehicle (EV) market. “We have been studying the scope of launching EVs in India. However a lot depends on the government support to roll out a proper EV product,” he said.

Renault has an impressive electronic vehicle portfolio that include the Kangoo intra-city goods mover, Zoe mid-sized sedan, and Twizy two-seater concept car.

The company is also working with technical institutes in the country for the development of batteries to power such vehicles.

The French carmaker last month sold its 49% stake in loss-making joint venture with M&M that builds the Logan sedan to the Indian automaker for an undisclosed sum.

Renault plans to start selling its Fluence sedan in the country next year along with its Japanese alliance partner Nissan, in which it has a 44% stake.

The car will be built at the Renault-Nissan alliance’s plant coming up in Chennai with a capacity to build 400,000 vehicles a year.

Besides Fluence, the plant will also make Nissan’s Micra and Renault’s Koleos.

The alliance is busy identifying dealerships across the country to set up an independent nationwide distribution network.

Nissan too is planning to bring its electric car Leaf to Indian within a couple of years. “We want to launch our EVs in the Indian market and a lot will depend on government support,” said K Tokuyama, MD and CEO of Nissan Motor India.

Renault, meanwhile, has developed an electric variant of the Fluence, which it intends to launch initially in Israel and Denmark.

Renault has made joint ventures with a local partner in several global markets to build infrastructure support. It has tied up with Betterplace for infrastructure support in Israel and Denmark.

Renault and Nissan have also stepped up their co-operation in the EV space and a dedicated team is working to find synergies in the field. The electric vehicles produced by Renault and Nissan will be powered by batteries developed by AESC, a Nissan-NEC joint venture.



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