Renault and EDF, the French electric utility, today announced the strengthening of their collaboration on “zero-emission” electric vehicles that dates back to the Paris Auto Show in 2008. The two partners are moving on to a later phase in the development of an electric vehicle, which is due by 2011, including the debut of some in the United States.
The Renault Nissan Alliance missed the move to hybrids when Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of both Renault and Nissan, decided that they were too expensive — leaving Toyota thus far with unchallenged “green car credentials.” Nissan is now placing a large bet on EVs and developing lithium ion batteries through a joint-venture with NEC in Japan. It is also pursuing government subsidies with all possible political pressure to make the program profitable.
The latest development effort is around a recharging system that allows communication between electrical terminals and vehicles, called “power line communication” (PLC). Recharging, along with its cost, is one of the many challenges electric vehicles face in garnering widespread approval, something Renault and Nissan together are betting significant resources on at a time when both companies are losing large amounts of money.
EDF claims that its PLC technology ensures the secure exchange of data between the recharge terminal and vehicle, including vehicle identification and billing details. Renault will carry out integration tests of this system with its future vehicles. This, Renault says, is a concrete step forward that will contribute to the development of the electric vehicle market in France. France will be one of the first global markets to receive these all-electric models, along with Israel, Denmark, Portugal, the state of Tennessee (USA), and Kanagawa Prefecture (Japan), all of which have announced similar partnerships with the Renault Nissan Alliance.
Since Renault has no presence in the U.S., an electric vehicle here will come from Nissan. As TDB has reported, the Alliance now has several zero-emission partnerships in the U.S., including Tucson and Phoenix Arizona; Sonoma County, California; the State of Oregon; the State of Tennessee and San Diego Gas & Electric Company. It is looking for more.