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Renault Fluence Z.E. is UK’s cheapest electric car

Fluence costs under £18k but you lease the battery

Renault Fluence

The Renault Fluence Z.E. costs £17,850 after the £5k Plug-In Car Grant

Renault has announced pricing for its Fluence Z.E. electric car – and it becomes the cheapest mainstream electric car in the UK.

The Renault Fluence Z.E. is available to buy from £17,850 – after the £5,000 Plug-In Car Grant subsidy – and you can secure yours now with a £20 (non-refundable) deposit. But don’t rush to buy before you’ve read all the details.

Read reviews of green cars in our eco cars rated guide. Or watch our video and read the report on the Renault Fluence Z.E.

Renault Fluence Z.E.: an all-electric bargain?

The Renault Fluence Z.E. is an all-electric version of the regular Fluence – a compact four-door family saloon that’s built in Turkey and sold in some European markets (but not the UK).

Z.E. stands for Zero Emissions – and thanks to the electric motor, that’s exactly how much CO2 the Fluence Z.E. emits when on the move (charging it up is a different story, and very much depends on your electricity supplier). The 70kw motor is equivalent to 94bhp and produces 166lb ft of torque instantaneously, so it should move the car along quite nicely.

Priced at £17,850 (after the £5k Government grant) when it goes on sale next year, it’s some £6,140 cheaper than the considerably smaller all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which starts at £23,990.

It’s also £855 less than a Renault Mégane five-door in Dynamique TomTom diesel spec – not to mention £8,140 less than the all-electric Leaf, built by Renault’s alliance partner, Nissan. So what’s the catch?

Read all of our Which? Car Renault reviews.

Renault Fluence

You’re not paying for the battery upfront – you’ll need to lease this from Renault

Battery leasing limitations?

Renault is taking a different approach to perhaps the most problematic area of electric cars – the battery.

These are not only expensive, their performance deteriorates over time. So rather than including the battery in the initial purchase cost and allowing you to buy one outright, Renault leases it to you for a monthly sum.

The first battery lease contract details Renault has announced confirm a £75 monthly charge, covering three years of use but just 6,000 miles. Given the average UK annual mileage is 10-12,000 miles, that isn’t going to get you very far.

But the Fluence Z.E.’s quoted maximum range is just 115 miles per charge – so it really isn’t suitable for longer distances, anyway. And this is still further than both its main rivals, which each claim 100-mile capability.

Additional mileage and contract-length details for the Fluence Z.E. battery will be announced nearer to the launch.

Want to know more about leasing cars? Read our guide to buying vs leasing, including leasing a battery for an electric car.

Renault Fluence

Leasing the Fluence battery costs £75 a month 

‘Prime Time’ launch edition

The Renault Fluence Z.E. is set to reach the UK in 2012 – with the first cars arriving in ‘Prime Time’ launch edition guise.

This will include 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control and a satellite navigation system. For convenience, the Fluence Z.E. has charging sockets located in both front wings.

Described as the flagship of Renault’s Zero Emissions range, the Fluence joins the Kangoo Z.E. van and the Twizy Z.E. quadricycle, which have already been confirmed for sale in the UK. A Clio-sized Zoe Z.E.model is still to come in this first generation of all-electric Renaults.

You can reserve your Fluence Z.E. online now at www.renault-ze.com. The deposit is just £20 – but keep in mind you won’t get this back if you change your mind…

Read our guide to buying a new car before you make any purchase.


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