Renault wants to convert taxis and VTC to electric

A new brand, a completely new model and a unique rental formula. To convert taxis and VTCs to electric cars, Renault is thinking outside the box. The first vehicle to bear the logo of Mobilize, the division created last year by the manufacturer to develop mobility services, is called Limo. A sedan designed and produced in China by the joint venture formed with the Chinese manufacturer Jiangling Motors. Particular sign: it will not be sold under any circumstances but exclusively offered for long-term rental to professional drivers.

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The passenger transport market by private vehicle is promising. In Europe, the turnover of taxis and VTC should increase from 28 to 50 billion euros by 2030, stimulated by the effect of the access restrictions imposed by the large cities on thermal engine vehicles. To convince this clientele, mainly made up of independents, to switch to electric, it is necessary to offer them specific cars and, above all, adapted to a fragile economic equation.

“It’s a difficult job – on a daily basis, you usually work ten hours for an average mileage that can reach 250 to 300 km, six days a week – and which requires you to achieve a turnover of at least 250 euros per day for a full-time activity”, underlines Sophie Richard, product manager at Mobilize. A VTC or an independent taxi driver does not have the means to buy his vehicle; it resorts to long-term rental. From next autumn, the Limo will be offered from 1,499 euros per month for a period of three months to three years.

300,000 km before recycling

This amount, which may seem high, is explained, according to Mobilize, by the absence of an initial contribution and the high mileage (at least 50,000 kilometers per year) provided for in the contract. This includes insurance, maintenance, tire renewal and assistance in the event of a breakdown, but not expenses related to electric charging. This rent would even be “10% lower than the total cost of using an equivalent hybrid or diesel vehicle”they say at Renault.

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The French manufacturer, which does not have in its current range of electric vehicles likely to be suitable for taxis and VTC, has set its sights on a car marketed in China by Jiangling under the name of Ezoom Y and which presents a line discreetly influenced by the Tesla Model 3. With a range of just over 400 kilometers and just decent charging capacities, it matches the specifications (a length of 4.67 m, space to spare in the rear seats, a large 500-litre boot) as well as the classic saloon architecture favored by people transport professionals. Only three colors (white, gray and black) are available.

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