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Europe: Renault Fluence Z.E.

Renault is investing heavily in electric cars: this Fluence is the first of four models due to go on sale this year.

It’s a modified Megane-based saloon with a 95bhp electric motor at the front and a battery pack behind the rear seats.

Prices start from £17,495 including a £5,000 Government grant, making it around £8,000 cheaper than the Nissan Leaf. But that’s only part of the story.

Unlike the Leaf, you lease the Fluence’s batteries, which partly explains the lower price. A 9,000-mile-a-year lease will cost you £69 per month over three years, totalling £2,484.

So does its case stack up in real life? The Renault doesn’t get off to a great start. To squeeze those batteries in, engineers had to stretch the Megane by 13cm, and that leaves the car looking awkward. Blue detailing on the spotlights and grille doesn’t really help matters.

Inside, don’t expect Leaf-style digital displays and soft lighting. Apart from a range indicator and a charge meter in place of the rev counter, it’s unchanged from a standard Megane. You even start the Fluence with a regular key.



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