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K-ZE: Renault’s Chinese e-SUV pops up in Paris

Published: 02 October 2018

► Alliance readies baby electric SUV for China
► Super-cheap, with a 155-mile range
► Clio, Captur and Megane hybrids on their way (slowly)

Renault’s BEV credentials are rock solid, with the trailblazing Zoe (it debuted in 2012) having now shifted some 110,000 units. Within the Alliance, Nissan’s Leaf is on its second generation while many rivals race to bring their first BEV to market. And at the Paris motor show CEO Carlos Ghosn underlined Renault’s commitment to electrification, proclaiming it without doubt ‘the future of mobility’. 

In the near-future that further commitment extends to a new Chinese-built A-segment battery-electric SUV, the K-ZE – a collaboration between the Dongfeng Motor Group, Nissan and local manufacturers e-GT New Energy Automotive Co. Funkily styled, lavished equipped (by Chinese standards) and with a claimed 155-mile range, Ghosn was punchy on the car’s huge potential in China. Considerably more sophisticated than the Chinese rivals the K-ZE will go up against, Ghosn insisted it would compete directly on price. And that potential is enormous when you consider nearly half a million pure EVs were sold in China last year alone.

‘Renault was a pioneer and is the European leader in electric vehicles. K-ZE is an affordable, urban, SUV-inspired electric model combining the best of Renault; our leadership in EV, our expertise in affordable vehicles and in forging strong partnerships’, said Ghosn.

While describing the K-ZE as a global car, Ghosn was less confident about its European future – the business case may well stack up, but China comes first.

Hybrid reinforcements

Previously all or nothing in its approach to electrification, Renault’s also announced hybrid versions of its volume sellers; Clio, Megane and Captur. Badged E-Tech and offering both hybrid (Clio) and plug-in hybrid functionality (Megane and Captur), the first E-Tech Renaults will arrive in 2020. 

By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three