Renault and Nissan Sign Electric Van Deal with Chinese Manufacturer

Nissan E-NV200

Nissan E-NV200

Renault and Nissan have been at the forefront of the EV revolution, creating zero-emissions LCVs and passenger vehicles to spearhead this emerging part of the automotive market. Now a deal with Chinese firm Brilliance, finalised this month, could push their eco-friendly ambitions even further, according to Forbes.

Brilliance itself is not a brand that is known in the UK, but it managed to sell over a quarter of a million vans last year and has a strong footing in its domestic marketplace. Now that it has allied with Renault and Nissan, the partnership will ultimately make electric LCVs cheaper and more widely available both in China and around the world.

It is not just panel vans that are expected to get the EV treatment with the assistance of Renault and Nissan: everything from specialist models with specific body types to vehicles used by police and fire services are in line to receive a zero-emissions makeover.

Renault-Nissan LCV Business Unit spokesperson Ashwani Gupta explained that creating a range of electric vans which are suitable for sale in China was a major goal for the alliance and would be founded on the existing technologies and systems that have already been developed for models like the Kangoo ZE and Master ZE.

From Nissan’s stable of vans the e-NV200 is the key example of an electric power train being put to use in an otherwise standard LCV set-up, providing excellent performance for city use, where the limited range is less of an issue than it would be on the motorway.

Gupta explained that Renault will be launched as a distinct brand in China, with both traditional fossil-fuel-powered vans and electric LCVs made available to buyers in the short term. He said that this would help to give the firm an advantage while still enabling it to work with its local partners at Brilliance.

At the moment, there are actually restrictions in place which mean that electric vans built by Chinese firms in partnership with international organisations cannot be offered domestically if they bear foreign branding. This is why Renault also needs to be introduced as a distinct offering to avoid this conflict, even if it is helping with the introduction of EVs under Brilliance’s banner.

Observers have pointed out that this state of affairs might prove problematic when it comes to the eventual expected launch of an electric van from US manufacturer Tesla. It might be forced to adopt a local brand if it wants to launch in China, although whether it would be willing to dilute its products in such a way is uncertain and bordering on unlikely.

Later this year the expected introduction of the Renault Master ZE will shake up the marketplace in the UK once again, offering a full-sized panel van with an electric power train and motors that develop 75bhp to deliver a top speed of 71mph without emitting a single gram of carbon dioxide. The claimed range of 124 miles will make the Master ZE a welcome addition in an era when diesel engines are going out of fashion.

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