When Renault unveiled its range of electric vehicles back in 2011, it also unveiled an as-then unheard of ownership model for electric vehicles: owning the vehicle but leasing the battery pack.
Designed to help spread the cost of electric car ownership out by allowing customers to buy the cars themselves but lease the battery pack, Renault’s battery lease model offered some significant benefits over traditional purchase models, including a lower initial purchase price and ongoing battery warranty. Despite these benefits however, many customers shied away from Renault’s unusual ownership model, expressing a preference to own the vehicle and its batteries outright.
Although Renault initially seemed reluctant to offer such an option for its customers, the French automaker has warmed to the idea over recent months and has just announced it will offer customers in the UK the option to purchase the Renault ZOE electric hatchback and Renault Kangoo Z.E. electric van with batteries included rather than leased.
Offered alongside the existing battery hire option that Renault has offered since launch on the Renault ZOE, Renault Kangoo and Renault Twizy, the new purchase options are available from today, and will be marketed to those who either are unsure of their annual mileage requirements or are worried about the continuing commitment of a monthly battery lease.
Renault says the new purchase option — which it will call the ZOE i and Kangoo Van Z.E. i — can be applied to any of the existing trim options available for either vehicle, with the entry-level Zoe i available from £23,443 before incentives and the Kangoo Van Z.E. i available from £27,393 before incentives.
Given UK government grants of £5,000 are available on the ZOE, that reduces the effective purchase price to £18,443 after incentives, while the £8,000 government grant available for electric van purchases reduces the cost of the Kangoo Z.E.Van i to £19393 after incentives. For businesses — who can claim back the standard 20 percent VAT levied on vehicle purchases from their tax bill — the entry-level Kangoo Z.E. i purchase price is effectively reduced to just £16,161.
This contrasts with an entry level price of £13,995 for an entry-level ZOE with continuing battery rental from £25 per month, or £12,995 minus incentives and tax for the Kangoo Z.E. with battery rental from £33+VAT every month.
For those purchasing their Renault vehicles with battery included at point of sale, the vehicles will come with a standard five year, 60,000 mile battery warranty, covering everything from manufacturing defects or loss in capacity below 70 percent of the original battery capacity for ZOE and 66 percent for the Kangoo Z.E.
While Renault hasn’t detailed why it has decided to offer outright battery purchase, we suspect it has been driven by Renault’s experiences in Norway, where massive purchase incentives for electric cars favour outright purchase models rather than battery rental ones. The choice to offer both outright purchase and battery rental also means that Renault becomes instantly more competitive in a marketplace where most of its electric automaker rivals — including alliance partner Nissan — offer customers a choice to either purchase the vehicle outright with batteries included, or lease the batteries separately.
As for prospective owners of the Twizy, Renault’s tiny two-seat, limited-speed urban runabout? While Renault is offering battery purchase on its highway-capable cars, it says Twizy customers will have to continue leasing the batteries, and doesn’t plan to offer any purchase options at this time on Twizy.
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