First Renault Fluence Z.E. test drive in UK

The Fluence Z.E. is a mid-size saloon running entirely on electric power only and unlike other electric cars sold in the UK, it is expected to be priced under £20,000.

This includes the government’s £5,000 Plugged-In Car Grant, which is being offered with a number of electric cars in the UK to encourage the take-up of the technology.

The Renault Fluence Z.E., one of four electric Renault vehicles set to be launched in the UK, will be the largest, most practical model on the market.

The saloon body style and low running costs are expected to appeal to fleet buyers, and the first test drives to take place were offered to fleet managers and contract hire companies.

Renault’s Fluence Z.E. delivers 94bhp of power from the electric motor, which is charged from a lithium ion battery situated at the rear of the car.

Renault says the Fluence Z.E. will boast a Nissan Leaf-matching range of 100 miles and can be fully charged from a household socket in eight hours.

The expensive battery pack will be leased with the car for around £67 per month, and Renault is currently examining the possibility of a quick change station, where batteries can be instantly swapped with a fully charged unit when the charge runs low.

Production of the Fluence Z.E. has already begun, and the final production version will go on sale in the UK in Spring 2012. Pre-orders will open from June this year in the UK.

The first test drive took place at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham at a four-mile test drive circuit. A second Renault electric model, the electric Kangoo Van Z.E., was also tested at the track.

Two more electric Renault vehicles, the Zoe supermini and Twizy city car, will be launched by the French marque alongside the Fluence and Kangoo Van Z.E.