Renault India plans e-mobility drive from 2021, one new ICE model every year

by Sricharan R and Sumantra B Barooah 26 Dec 2019

Renault India, a fully owned subsidiary of Renault SAS France says it will phase out of diesel vehicles in India and will come up with newer launches in the next 2-3 years, while expanding its dealership network to around 370 outlets by 2022. Before that, the company also plans to launch an EV in the Indian market by end of 2021.

“We are done with our diesel vehicles and we will be phasing out Lodgy. By the end of the first quarter next year, we will be introducing a new variant of Triber which will be followed by the AMT variant later. There will be a price rise in all vehicles due to BSVI. Going forward, we want to work 360 degrees on Triber. This will be our focus on the first six months, next year. Then, we will be launching a new sub-4-meter SUV in 2020 and an EV later. We need to have space between each launch and it will be one launch each year,” said, Venkatram Mamillapalle, Country CEO & Managing Director, Renault India Operations.

On phasing out of their MPV Lodgy, Mamillapalle said they are stopping the K9K diesel engine and do not have any plans to bring a BSVI variant of it. “We do not want to end it, but at the same time, we do not want to get into diesel engines. So, we are stopping Lodgy here. All our future launches will be in petrol including the Captur,” he stated.

Going electric
Mamillapalle mentioned that Renault will be coming up with an EV by the end of 2021. With OEMs like Mahindra, Tata and Hyundai already in the EV market, and MG set to enter soon, won't 2021 be little too late for Renault to enter the Indian EV segment? “When we look at the EV market now, even the market leader in the space sells less number of cars. We did not lose anything. We are the global leader in electric cars and we are not shy. We are waiting for the right period. It is possible for us to bring an EV to the country now, but without a proper ecosystem and infrastructure, it provides no use,” Mamillapalle, said.

Though he didn't share details about the first EV model or the model segment that Renault India will start its electric mobility drive with, it's possible that the electric version of its entry-level car model Kwid could the first choice. The car, named as City K-ZE, has been launched first in China in September. Like the Kwid, which was developed in India, the electric version too has significant amount of Indian inputs. A team of engineers from Renault's engineering base in Chennai worked on that project in China. The compact electric car comes with a 27 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack and can deliver a driving range of over 200 Kms in a single charge, according to a source.  

The other electric vehicle option could be the Zoe, a popular electric car in Renault's portfolio. Extensive research work has already been done on it in India. It is learnt that the French OEM was quite keen to launch the car in India, but its Indian subsidiary decided against it a few years ago due to the limited scope of success for EVs in India then. Now, with the electric personal vehicle segment emerging gradually, it won't be surprising if the Renault Zoe enters India too.

Export markets
The launch of Triber has ensured that Renault is progressing despite the challenging environment in India. The company registered a cumulative sales growth of 70% in the last 2 months. With the Southern region of India has the maximum share in the sale of Triber which is followed by the Western region. With such a good response here in the Indian market, the company recently exported 600 of its Triber to South Africa.
“As we said earlier, we wanted to see how this performs in the market here and export. With more than 20,000 Triber sold here, we are happy with the response. The first batch is out now and we want to see how it performs. The next batch will be in the month of February. We will continue this growth momentum and expand the exports of Triber to other parts of Africa and the SAARC region,” he said. Adding more on Kwid, he mentioned, “So far, we have exported close to 10,000 Kwid, this year to South Africa. It has a very good response and we will continue to export.