Renault is expecting to have 35 of its 211-strong UK dealer network ready to sell electric vehicles when its Kangoo ZE goes on sale next summer.
The majority will be Pro+ commercial vehicle specialists and all will be expected to make a financial investment in equipment, people and training in order to sell electric vehicles.
Renault will be first to market with a volume commercial vehicle product and wants to be known for electric cars in the same way Toyota is known for hybrids.
Andy Heiron, Renault UK head of electric vehicles, told AM: “Dealers can put their hand up if they want to sell electric vehicles, but we’ll be starting with a fleet proposition with the Kangoo ZE. Government departments and corporate deals will come first.
“We expect 50% of the UK network to be prepared to sell electric vehicles when we launch more retail focused product in 2012.
“We’ll explain exactly what investment is needed from dealers and what return they can expect to see. We want to be completely transparent with what we’re trying
Renault’s electric vehicle pricing model differs from alliance partner Nissan. Customers buy the car or van with the £5,000 grant from the Government and then lease the battery separately for a monthly payment of about £80.
Dealers are expected to sell a home/work charging package which could also be linked with an electricity company to provide power for the car. Customers won’t be tied in to Renault’s deal, but it will be the “recommended” package. Installation will be handled by a third party, rather than dealers.
Renault will introduce a four electric vehicle range, starting with Kangoo Van ZE. From 2012, three further models will be launched: Fluence ZE plus two new, all-electric models based on the Twizy and Zoe concept cars.
Renault will be managing the batteries’ lifecycle and will be refurbishing, as well as recycling, units that will no longer be used in passenger cars.