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Source: Autocar

Renault Group 'will avoid' ZEV mandate fines with five new EVs

June 11th, 2024

Reanult scenic The much anticipated Renault 5, its Alpine A290 twin, and from-�14,995 Dacia Spring will arrive this year

Renault UK believes success for a fast-expanding range of new EV models over the next nine months can protect it from severe fines likely to be incurred by some of its biggest rivals, who seem likely to fail in efforts to comply with the government's new ZEV Mandate on electric car sales introduced this year.

According to Guillaume Sicard, general manager of Renault UK, his three marques have five "exciting new EV products" to sell here within the next nine months. The company is currently in the middle of launching its Renault�Scenic crossover, an impressive rival for the super-successful Tesla Model Y, and has the new Renault 5 and Renault 4 city cars waiting in the wings.�

The wider Renault Group also has the Alpine A290 electric hot hatchback and an uprated version of the new-to-Britain Dacia Spring to launch. In the UK, Renault is already "doing quite well" with the Megane C-segment hatchback, its sole EV offering at present following the demise of the long-lived Zoe supermini EV.�

Sicard is confident of a strong reception for the Scenic, recently named European Car of the Year, but has especially high hopes for the B-segment R5, R4 and A290, which he expects to make important strides towards "democratising" EV ownership.� � � �

The ZEV mandate, which requires 22% of a manufacturer's sales to be zero emissions models in 2024, raises that proportion in steps through the decade to 80% in 2030 and 100% in 2035. The mandate's introduction occurs against a background of declining buyer enthusiasm for EVs, and is most acute among private buyers who don't enjoy the benefit-in-kind tax advantages of business buyers. Total UK EV sales are currently running at around 17%, and are barely expanding, with private demand well below 10%.

The mandate -- along with the withdrawal incentives for private EV buyers -- has already attracted stinging criticism from industry leaders. On a visit to the UK, Stellantis group chief Carlos Tavares labelled it "terrible" and "an act of self-harm". And Ford's general manager of its European electric car business, Martin Sander, has suggested that his company might need to restrict sales of in-demand petrol and diesel models to avoid the �15,500 per unit fines payable if a company fails to sell enough EVs.

Guillaume Sicard says companies need to take a more focused approach to selling EVs, stressing the style and appeal of new models with a "by the way, it's electric" approach to motive power. Renault is also attacking the problem by incentivising its dealer group, improving the training of its sales staff, and even paying them more because selling EVs to knowledge-light customers takes extra time and requires detailed knowledge.��

Sicard says he and other industry leaders are not seeking to change the whole EV sales landscape. What the industry needs, he says, is stability. "Sure, it's all happening a bit too quickly. But those are the rules and everyone has to contribute. We can't change the world unless we change ourselves."