Renault raises targets for share of electric vehicles

PARIS, June 30 (Reuters) - Renault said on Wednesday that electric vehicles would account for up to 90% of the French carmaker’s models by 2030, amping up its ambitions in a fast-growing sector where Volkswagen has stolen a march on its rivals.

Unveiling a new plan for electric vehicles (EVs), Renault Chief Executive Luca de Meo said Renault planned 10 new electric models by 2025 and that new, purpose-built electric car platforms would allow it to deliver vehicles at a lower cost.

The previous target was for 90% of the Renault brand mix to be made up of all-electric and hybrid vehicles by 2030. In the new plan, Renault aims to hit its target without relying on hybrid vehicles.

“Today is an historic acceleration of Renault Group’s EV strategy,” de Meo said in a statement.

Renault’s Zoe model, the biggest-selling battery electric car in its segment in Europe for years, is losing ground to models such as Volkswagen’s ID.3 compact electric car.

Figures from database showed Volkswagen’s share of the EV market in Europe soared to 25% last year from 14% in 2019, overtaking the Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi alliance, whose share shrank to 19% from 23% in 2019.

De Meo, a former Volkswagen executive who turned the German automaker’s Seat brand around, has been tasked with helping Renault turn a new page after a troubled spell.

Former boss Carlos Ghosn was ousted and arrested in Japan in 2018 on charges of financial malpractice, which he denies. Ghosn left behind a sprawling model range with low margins and Renault racked up heavy losses when global demand for cars fell.

De Meo’s turnaround plan - which he has termed a “Renaulution” - is to lay off thousands of workers, reduce the range of models, and improve cooperation between alliance partners on vehicle production.

Renault said this month it would combine three of its plants in northern France into a new legal entity, Renault ElectriCity, that will produce 400,000 vehicles a year by 2025.

The firm has previously said it will use purpose-designed electric platforms, known as CMF B-EV and CMF A, to produce small and affordable EVs. (Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by David Clarke)