Renault beats Tesla; Becomes Europe’s top electric vehicle seller

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Renault Zoe
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While everyone in the Automobiles industry was paying attention to Tesla’s rising share prices and unexpected profit, Renault has quietly overtaken the US-based Electric Carmaker to become Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle manufacturer in the first half of the year.

The sales figures revealed this week show that the French carmaker’s all-electric Zoe out-sold Tesla’s Model 3.

This little subcompact, which starts at $37,000, was promoted as the ideal second car for families during its initial reveal at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show which began the company’s change towards clean cars that wouldn’t warm the planet.

Zoe, the four-door hatchback competed with the likes of Tesla’s Model 3, Volkswagen AG’s electric Golf and Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf and almost sold 38,000 unit sales in Europe during the first six months of 2020

This success comes as a surprise because other than a few incremental changes in range, technology and design, Zoe has remained the same all these years.

Zoe’s sales have also been contributed by the incentives which are now available to car buyers who are willing to go electric in France and Germany. The French government is offering as much as $8128 toward the purchase of an electric car, and a cash-for-clunkers program (exchange of old car) can add another $5806 in subsidies. Germany is offering incentives of as much as $10450 per vehicle.

The Zoe’s near 50% increase in first-half European sales was the only bright spot in Renault’s otherwise-dismal numbers. The carmaker, which is slashing costs, obtained a $5.81 billion state-backed credit facility to make it through the coronavirus pandemic.

But the competition is just heating up with VW’s long-awaited ID.3 starting sales this week at about $44,123.00. And PSA Group is promoting two new electric models, the Peugeot 208 and the Opel Corsa. “The ID.3 will be better from a technological point of view, closer to the Model 3,” said Bloomberg Intelligence auto analyst Michael Dean, predicting that the Zoe could fall behind.

Renault is more upbeat and feeling some degree of justification so many years after the car first hit the market.

“Our electric offensive is working very well,” said Denis le Vot, Renault’s head of sales and marketing, pointing to the new electric version of the Twingo city car coming on the market and plans for hybrid versions of existing larger models. “Renault’s lineup still holds lots of surprises for the second part of the year.”

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