Here are some updates on the collaboration between Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Back in April when the partnership was announced, the stated scope was focussed on small car development and engine sharing (read our previous post here). In a recent interview with Reuters, Thomas Weber, Head of Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, has confirmed that the German carmaker will broaden the partnership with Renault-Nissan into electric vehicle (EV) development.
The goal is to cut costs by building scale. “We won’t be able to meet the target of 95 grams CO2 in 2020 without electric vehicles with batteries and fuel cells,” Weber was quoted as saying, adding “it won’t be easy to then also earn money with these cars.”
Besides that, the partnership will birth a shared RWD architecture for the next smart fortwo, a new smart four-seater and the next-gen Renault Twingo. The first of these cars will roll out from 2013 with the smart plant in France building the two-seater versions and the Renault plant in Slovenia building the four-seater variant. It was announced that there will be EV versions.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance is one of the main movers of EVs in the motoring world. They have invested an estimated €4 billion into the field and have plans to launch up to eight EVs in at least five key segments – starting with the Nissan Leaf, which will be delivered to European customers early next year. US allotment for the car has been fully spoken for. Next in line are the Renault Fluence ZE saloon and Kangoo Express ZE in mid 2011.
Alliance boss Carlos Ghosn is very bullish about EVs, saying that they will comprise 10% of all car sales within a decade, and they’re expecting to build 500,000 plug ins by 2012.