November Figures Are In and Renault EV Sales Show Signs of Continued Decline

DEC 17 2013 BY MARK KANE 23

November preliminary sales data from Renault shows again that the French manufacturer is experiencing some problems in trying to sell its electric vehicle and it seems this problem will not resolve itself.

In terms of YTD figures, Renault Fluence Z.E. sales slipped by 55%.  Sales of the Fluence Z.E. will not exceed 1,000 units this year and without Better Place, tis EV seems doomed.

Twizy sales went down by two-thirds and in each month this year sales of the tiny EV are much lower than the corresponding month in 2012 (not counting the first few months of 2012 when sales of the Twizy began).

Renault ZOE in cold weather tests in summer 2012

Renault ZOE in cold weather tests in summer 2012

2013 sales of the Kangoo Z.E., despite multiple orders for thousands units from French public companies a few years ago, still is on the level with 2012 sales. This is perhaps not a bad level – over 5,000, but the small growth isn’t a good sign either.

And finally we come to the ZOE.  Renault needs almost 2,000 additional units sold to reach 10,000 ZOE sales this year, but the monthly average for 2013 is well below 1,000, so don’t count on it. 10,000 was Renault’s goal for first year sales of the ZOE, right?

As a consolation, we can add that year-over-year sales of EVs have indeed doubled for Renault. Renault sold 17,300 electric vehicles so far this year, but without Twizy this is below 14,500 worldwide – mostly in Europe, where the French manufacturer operates and has the highest share in the segment.  We must further note that ZOE logged only 13 sales in 2012 as it just entered the market.

The current trend shows Renault EV sales tailing off.

It’s our belief that something must be done to stop Renault’s slide. Maybe as a first step, Renault should introduce ZOE in Norway?  Over a year ago we read that ZOE was performing exceptionally well in very low temperatures, so why not make it available in Norway where sales of EVs are through the roof?

Renault EV Sales After 11 Months of 2013

Renault EV Sales After 11 Months of 2013

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23 Comments on "November Figures Are In and Renault EV Sales Show Signs of Continued Decline"

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Mark hi,

1. You probably meant “consolation” not “consolidation”, right? 🙂

2. This article sounds like those mainstream-media “EV doom and gloom” articles that show rising sales but insist upon describing them as “falling/disappointing”. Bottom line, year-over-year across all models Renault EV sales are around 2x what they were in 2012. So where’s the “slide” here? Fluence was a specialty design for Better Place and is clearly doomed without them around. It was never a major strategy, only an outside shot. Twizy… arguably a non-car and it’s good Renault which has a richer suite of models has cleared this niche (which Smart can happily monoplize) to focus on wider-audience ones. Kangoo is flat, but at least not down. All those are far more than offset by the success of the Zoe.

3. We *must* keep in mind that globally the most common constraint on BEV sales growth in 2013 has been production volume, not demand. This is the case for Tesla and for Nissan Leaf in the US. How many Zoes can Renault make in a month, and how deep is its inventory? This is the real question to ask if we want to gauge what’s going on.

To point 2… the mainstream media outlets sell a load of ads for all those other cars. If Renault advertised its electric offerings all over the media with a bunch of buys in the various markets… and pushed the Kangoo and Zoe in Scandinavia they would do well I bet.

Love my Nissan LEAF… 4500 miles since getting it in Sept 2013.
So far so good. Loving not buying $275 worth of gas per month. $50 electric is much better. Solar roof helps too here in Sunny Cali…

Wow, in a month or two you will exceed the mileage we’ve garnered over a far longer time… (well, we live in the city and commute mostly by bus).

Is your Leaf a limited-mileage lease, an unlimited-mileage one (do those exist?) – or an outright purchase?

I personally find the Zoe so attractive (compared to say a leaf), that I don’t understand why Renault doesn’t slap a Nissan label on that sucker and sell it in North America, wouldn’t it be popular? Could their partnership with Nissan work that way? The more the merrier I say.

The Zoe could be a great city-car for the US… No idea why they don’t try to sell it here. It has a certain charm of its own. Maybe Renault can rename it, “Le Electric Car”. 😉

Or L’e-Car : )

Oooh, clever. 🙂

Yes. The Spark EV, and Fiat 500e, are well received (if largely unavailable) and there is no reason to believe the Zoe would not also be a hit. Obviously, Nissan does not want competition for the Leaf, in the US.

Renault aren’t really trying to sell these cars. The dealerships sales staff aren’t interested in changing buyers minds here in the UK and have very little passion, information and support from HQ.

Try and get a finance deal or discount and the £5000 government grant is the only thing you’ll get.

A major education offensive is needed and needed NOW!

In addition I have owned a Zoe since Sept 1st, driven 3000 miles and love it. I have spent £16 in electricity charging at home and all other charging has been for free on the public network (I can charge at work). I am now an Ecotricity customer for green energy and to support their ‘Plugged in Highway’.

This is true for France as well. I had a test drive of the Zoé and the Leaf on the same day and the dealers were next to each other. The experience at Renault was a nightmare, at Nissan a dream. But I liked the Zoé more; it’s a better and more modern EV.

I think it’s more of the never ending battery lease that scares consumers away. Unlike with the Leaf that has an option to purchase the ‘whole’ car, but with the Renault EVs, it’s ‘Batteries Not Included’.

I wonder how the Focus Electric is doing that went on sale in Sept.

Thanks for putting this out. Let’s hope that the Zoe will do better next year. I like that EV. Are you collecting i3 sales numbers yet or is it too early?

Not yet :).

I see that your latest article has addressed that more than adequately 🙂
Thank you!


Mark, that’s a bullshit title

I, for one, am one of those who would buy the Zoe in the bat of an eye if I had a secured job and the right to force my apartment building’s Management Agent to pull a cable down to my parking space. I’m totally convinced that Renault will make it eventually (at least with Zoe). IMO, it doesn’t work yet because Zoe’s market is still upper-middle class French families with two cars, owning their houses, therefore : – Not too much problems with the lack of charging stations and infrastructure, one can take the “real” family car for relatively long trips – No worries in installing a charger, no owner or managing agent to ask, no wait, etc. But the real beneficial effects of such a car as the Zoe are for the LOWER-MIDDLE class : – Zoe’s running budget (incentives included) has been fine-tuned to be just under the equivalent thermal car, all expenses included, which would enable people to save a little money on total mobility expenses, or have much more mobility for the same price (which I thing they’d chose massively, for the need to evade as much as possible from the squalid banlieues, for instance,… Read more »

Renault will introduce a lowered battery rent for lower annual driving distance next year.

I think Renault are suffering from previous (unexpected) success with the Twizy. No-one believed it would sell as many as it did in 2011/2012 and this artificially pushed up Renault’s numbers. We also constantly hear rumours of a re-designed Fluence which, alongside the Better Places failure has put off potential buyers. Although some Zoes were technically sold in 2012 general sales didn’t start until March in France and the Summer in other countries. I wasn’t even able to place an order for mine until 1st June. So the Zoe’s only been on sale for 6 months, really. Renault have also been caught out with the success of the new Clio. Better sales for the Clio mean less production volume for the Zoe – they share a production line – and Renault are sensibly choosing to make more of the model they will make more money from. We don’t want renault to go out of business! They might also be holding off due to delays in building the new battery plant. Until that’s up and running Renault have to buy batteries from other companies and this is surely going to cost them more and reduce the profits from the Zoe. I… Read more »

In Belgium I’ve tried both the Zoe and the Leaf (and the i3, but that’s another story). Both the salespeople for the Zoe and Leaf where friendly, helpful and encouraging and the Nissan dealer used the Leaf as his own car for daily use. The Renault dealer isn’t ZE certified though and wasn’t technically up to snuff. I knew more about the car than he did. So I’ve looked into another Renault dealer who is ZE certified, and they seem to be very motivated to promote this car, and he was sold out and doesn’t even have a car to test at the moment.
I still plan on ordering mine next month, lets get those 2014 sales numbers up 🙂

Oh, I also forgot to add that I did find the Zoe to be more refined than the 2013 Leaf, even though both are solid cars.

The bad news is that the numbers are low.
The good news is that the reasons are clear and can be fixed.
There is the lack of Occasional Recharge Cable which makes it impossible to recharge on a standard wall outlet.
There is the lack of ev autonomy, especially without a Rex availability.
There is a lack of models range to fit the different segments.
There is the impossibility to buy the car as a whole since you are forced to rent the battery forever.
So, fix these four problems and sales will flourish.