The alliance between Renault and Nissan has announced that it is planning to produce electric cars in China in partnership with Dongfeng Motor Corp, a Chinese automaker. The new partnership will be known as eGT New Energy Automotive. With China being the largest market in the world for electric vehicles foreign automakers have been venturing into the country in droves in the recent past.
According to a press statement released by Renault, the designing of the new electric vehicle will be jointly done by all the three automakers and will be based on a SUV platform that is shared by both Renault and Nissan.
“We expect to meet the transformation trend of the market in China; where cars are becoming light, electric, intelligent, interconnected and shared,” Dongfeng’s chairman, Zhu Yanfeng, said.
Historically foreign firms have avoided sharing their technology with partners from China over fears of theft but Renault-Nissan have been collaborating for years and this will help in allaying concerns. Both Renault and Nissan already make and market electric vehicles. Nissan Leaf, a compact hatchback manufactured by Nissan, has already become the highest selling electric vehicle in the world since it was launched in 2010. Renault’s Zoe model was launched in 2012.
In order to conduct business in the world’s second largest economy international vehicle manufacturers have to initiate partnerships with local Chinese car companies. The last few years have seen an increase in the number of initiatives that are focusing entirely on electric vehicles.
Part of the reason for this is a government requirement which seeks to ensure that all motor vehicle manufacturers reach a certain quota of electric vehicles. This follows an increase in the air pollution levels in China and the government is trying to improve the quality of air especially in some of the country’s biggest cities. The Chinese authorities are also trying to reduce the dependence of the world’s most populous country on foreign-sourced oil.
The regulation which will become effective in 2018 will require those who fail to reach the quota to purchase carbon credits. In the first year auto manufacturers will be required to have at least 8% of their entire production to be plug-in hybrid cars or battery electric cars. The figure will rise to 10% a year later before increasing to 12% in 2020.
Other automakers who are planning or considering producing electric vehicles in China include General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Tesla and Daimler.