Renault’s full-electric Zoe will have its production doubled due to expected demand and changing automotive climate in Paris. The surge in output as part of a billion-euro investment in electric vehicles by the French automaker. A new version of the battery-driven Zoe will appear next year, the first substantial change to this hatchback since its introduction at the end of 2012.
The Zoe was the top-selling EV in Europe from 2015-2017, but so far this year it has been narrowly overtaken by the redesigned Nissan Leaf, from Renault’s Japanese alliance partner.
Last year about 30,000 Zoes were produced at the Flins plant, with a total of 100,000 made since the model’s debut. Renault officials want to increase the rate of production to about 440 per workday from about 220 per day.
The factory will use its traditional August recess to prepare for the increase. This will include upgrading the in-house battery assembly area, officials said earlier this month at an event that included a tour of the plant.
The Flins factory, which opened in 1952, makes Renault Clio hatchbacks, the Nissan Micra hatchback and the Zoe on the same production line. Last year, about 63,000 Clios and 94,000 Micras were produced at the plant.
Recent upgrades to Renault’s EV range, which includes the Twizy, which is an electric alternative to a scooter, and two electric vans, have been focused on range and power, but that is about to change.
In addition to the redesigned Zoe, likely to be on the existing architecture, the company’s Drive the Future strategic plan calls for a total of eight EVs by 2022. Some of those EVs will be on a new alliance platform called CMF-EV set to debut no earlier than 2020. Vehicles on that platform will be built at Renault’s plant in Douai, northern France.
The increase in Zoe production at Flins will mean that nearly all Clio production there will move to existing factories at Bursa, Turkey, and Novo Mesto, Slovenia, Renault officials said. However, a small percentage will still be made in Flins to make up for any gaps in supply. The fifth-generation Clio is expected to debut late this year or in early 2019.