Fleet News

Renault switches French town to EVs with three year Zoe trial

Renault is offering free Zoe electric vehicles to all residents of a small town in France as part of a three market research trial.

All 11 households in Appy in the south of France will get a new Zoe and home charger – just like all customers in the UK – and there will be a public charger for the town.

Appy residents will run the Zoes for three years, sharing their impressions and experiences with Renault, in a scheme that will inform and help provide further insight into the way customers interact with and use EVs day to day. Residents will be able to purchase their Zoe at the end of the three years if they wish, or hand the vehicle back.

Appy is an isolated town in the south of France and Renault believes the trial with the 245-mile range Zoe and the ability to DC rapid charge will help demonstrate that if residents there can make the switch to an EV, any driver can.

Renault is ramping up its EV marketing and corporate sales strategy after recently securing one of the largest EV fleet deals in the UK, with car subscription service Onto ordering 1,100 Zoes.

Renault UK’s fleet director, Mark Dickens, told Fleet News he was “excited” to secure the deal with Onto, considering the current potential of the car subscription market.

The coronavirus crisis has seen the public’s desire to travel by public transport plummet, while Government has been actively discouraging its use.

Coupled with this, Dickens says, Covid-19 has altered perceptions of shared mobility, at least in the short term, making car subscription services a more attractive option.

He explained: “I think it’s had a big effect. The growth (of subscriptions services) is astronomic. At the point where we agreed this deal (with Onto), they had 600 people on the waiting list; from January to March, the number on the waiting list trebled.”

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