Renault is axing the electric Zoe from its Australia lineup, citing disappointing sales as the electric hatch becomes another victim of a weak government stance on vehicle emissions.
The Zoe ZE40 electric hatch with 41kWh battery and 300km driving range (WLTP) is one of a handful of electric vehicles available in Australia under the $50,000 mark.
The more recent Zoe ZE50 with 52kWh battery and 395km range (WLTP), which was released in September in Europe, was expected to arrive in Australia in 2020.
But now this will not happen either, following the path of Kia and its decision to hold off the release of its e-Niro and e-Soul from the Australia market due to lack of supportive EV policy.
The abject failure of EV policy in Australia is compounded by the fact that the Renault Zoe is one of Europe’s most popular electric cars, even topping Tesla Model 3 sales in June according to EV Sales, with more than 10,000 sold that month.
With Europe’s strong stance on vehicle emissions, it is no wonder that Renault is opting to direct stock to markets where it knows it will be sold.
It has sold only 63 Zoe EVs over the last three years and just 8 in the first half of 2020. A last ditch attempt to boost Zoe sales in June saw the French car maker offering a free wall charger with every Zoe sold, but even this did not had the desired results.
A spokesperson for a Renault dealer who declined to be named said they were extremely disappointed in the decision, and that a shipping disaster that saw dealer orders delayed by six months also meant other brands overtook Renault’s electric offering in Australia.
“These vehicles were supposed to land in June last year – the fact they didn’t arrive until January-February hurt us due to other models being around,” the spokesperson said.
There are still several Renault Zoes on Australian showroom floors, which will come with a free wall charger including installation.
But there may be a light at the end of tunnel – when and if Renault releases an electric SUV, it will look to bring this to the Australia market, as VW is doing with its electric range. But it may take a few years.
According to a “leaked” calendar from Renault first published by L’Argus, the French car maker has an electric SUV planned for a 2021 Europe release.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.