Posted under Express 76
Green for Go & Zero for Emissions
Renault and German electric utility RWE signed a cooperation agreement to create a large-scale zero-emissions individual transport and travel system in Germany, as the car industry celebrated the end of the recession with a double shot of super-luxury cars at the opening of the Frankfurt motor show, was washed down with lashings of sober green fuel sippers and commitments to lower emissions.
Phil King in Frankfurt for The Australian (16 September 2009):
THE car industry celebrated the end of the recession with a double shot of super-luxury cars at the opening of the Frankfurt motor show yesterday.
An unprecedented rollout of models by the elite brands, which included a €1.1 million ($1.9m) Lamborghini convertible and a new $700,000 Rolls-Royce, was washed down with lashings of sober green fuel sippers and commitments to lower emissions.
Confidence is quickly returning to the industry, which believes it has turned the corner on the sales downturn.
“This show is being held at exactly the right time,” Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn said on the eve of the event. “The crisis isn’t over yet but there are increasing signs we’ve seen the bottom and we can look forward with optimism.”
The recovery could not be better timed for the big European makers, which have kept their research on alternative fuels at full throttle through the downturn and at last it is bearing fruit.
Most brands – including the two German luxury leaders, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – will soon have petrol-electric versions of their cars on sale, starting with their large sedans and four-wheel-drives. The research focus is now shifting to battery-powered cars, which are a quicker solution because they are simpler to engineer.
Volkswagen was just one of many brands signing up for battery power when it revealed it would offer an electric version of its new mass-market runabout by 2013, called E-Up.
BMW has a head start with an electric Mini undergoing the largest trial of the technology so far, with hundreds on the roads of European cities.
But European carmakers believe alternative solutions will be part of a broad spectrum of offerings that will still include greener versions of their luxury and performance cars. Volkswagen expects battery cars to claim just 2 per cent of the total market by 2020 and believes that luxury buyers will still demand Bentleys and Lamborghinis, as long as they have a green tinge.
The future would belong to low-emission vehicles because green concerns were not transitory trends, Mr Winterkorn said. “But premium vehicles with a sense of responsibility have a future.”
Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini are all part of Volkswagen’s stable and all have emerged from hibernation during the downturn with new elite models.
The Bentley Mulsanne is a full-strength flagship limousine that will compete against the new Rolls-Royce Ghost in the sub-$1m bracket. But the new Bugatti four-door and the Lamborghini Reventon Roadster are hunting for buyers with millions to spend.
Bentley and Bugatti boss Franz-Josef Paefgen said the elite brands could afford to spend more time perfecting their vehicles during a crisis and the super-luxury segment would rebound, with long-term forecasts showing it was a growth area.
A focus on having your car and flooring it was also central at BMW and Mercedes, which both unveiled show-stoppers. Mercedes’s resurrection of its famous Gullwing sportscar from the 1950s will sell for about $500,000 and expects to find 5000 buyers a year, starting in 2010.
BMW brought some razzamatazz back to motor shows with a lavish new hall that includes an indoor oval track. Its Vision EfficientDynamics sportscar is a showcase for fuel-saving techniques and delivers racy performance from a tiny three-cylinder diesel engine combined with electric motors. “Our task is to find a balance between green demands, driving pleasure and individual mobility,” said BMW boss Norbert Reithofer.
Frankfurt, September 15, 2009 – Today, Renault and German electric utility RWE signed a cooperation agreement to create a large-scale zero-emissions individual transport and travel system in Germany.
The objective is to establish electric cars as a viable and attractive transport solution for German consumers.
The partnership was officially launched today by Mr. Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Renault and Nissan, and Mr. Dr. Jürgen Grobmann, CEO of RWE.
The Renault Nissan Alliance aims to become the world’s leading manufacturer of zero-emission vehicles. Germany will be one of the major markets for all-electric models.
RWE, is one of the leading european utility companies. RWE is currently setting up a powerful charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in major German cities and will subsequently roll-out this infrastructure across Germany.
Through the agreement announced today, the Renault Nissan Alliance and RWE aim to provide consumers with access to zero emission mobility. The partners want the joint market launch to start in June 2011. The Renault-Nissan Alliance and RWE intend to develop the market for EVs and create strong interest for e-mobility.
A joint pilot phase, starting second quarter 2009 and lasting until June 30, 2011, will first take place in Berlin, followed by other major German cities. Starting at the end of 2010, 100 electric Renault pre serial vehicles will use the RWE charging infrastructure. .
Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Renault and Nissan, said, “The signature of the cooperation agreement with RWE is a major step forward for Renault and the Alliance in Germany. The Renault- Nissan Alliance is committed to become the global leader in zero emission vehicles. Thanks to this partnership with RWE, we will be able to provide German customers with electric vehicles at an affordable price, with performance, roominess, comfort, quality and safety.”
Dr. Jürgen Grobmann, CEO of RWE, said, “We are entering together into new territory with this innovative partnership. Together with Renault, we want to help electric cars make their breakthrough in Germany, with an attractive offering consisting of an electric car, eco-energy and fast charging stations.
The Renault Nissan Alliance, founded in 1999, sold 6,090,304 vehicles in 2008. The objective of the Alliance is to rank among the world’s top three vehicle manufacturers in terms of quality, technology and profitability. Marking its tenth anniversary this year, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is leading a collaborative approach with both business and governments and has signed nearly 30 agreements worldwide with partners to launch its first electric vehicle starting in 2010 and to mass market a full range of electrical vehicles in 2012.
RWE is one of Europe’s five leading electricity and gas companies. RWE is active in the generation, trading, transmission and supply of electricity and gas. Through RWE’s fully consolidated investments, 66,000 employees supply over 14 million customers with electricity and 6 million customers with gas. In fiscal 2008, RWE recorded €49 billion in revenue.