Renault’s plug-in strategy is decidedly cautious image

As the French automaker and its Japanese partner pledged billions for the development and sales of electric cars, but ultimately failed to have deliveries live up to expectations, they are now cautiously advancing in the field of plug-in hybrids.

According to a top executive, the French automaker is going to deliver its first plug-in hybrid model and then wait until costs of the technology are lower. Jerome Stoll, the carmaker’s chief performance officer, contends that as the company launches its first plug-in hybrid model, the customers are still not ready to absorb the higher cost of the technology and hybrids only make up around one percent of the overall auto market. Back in March during the Geneva show, Renault premiered the Eolab concept, which had a plug-in hybrid powertrain using a 75-hp 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine mated to an electric motor powered by 6.7 kWh battery – it was capable of going 60 km on electricity alone.

Stoll refrained from delivering a consistent timetable, only saying that a production ready version of the model would be delivered “as soon as the market is ready,” with the comments made during the company’s annual shareholder meeting held at the end of April. Automakers are gearing up to deliver more plug-in hybrid models as predictions put the technology outgrowing traditional hybrids by 2019 and then reach 1.2 million units sold each year in Europe in around a decade. Industry experts and analysts also believe the plug-in hybrid segment is more valuable for premium automakers than mass-market brands – as the costs remain relatively high.

Via Automotive News Europe