Plans for the largest EV production hub in Europe are afoot, with Renault planning to reorganize three existing factories into one giant EV production hub in the north of France. Dubbed the Renault ElectriCity, the hub will be composed of Douai, Maubeuge and Ruitz plants, with work underway for all three to focus on electric vehicles in the coming years.
Under the plan the automaker’s Maubeuge plant, which has been focused on vans including the Kangoo Electric, will begin production of the New Kangoo E-Tech Electric starting next year. Renault’s Ruitz plant will focus on producing electrical components, while the Douai plant plans to begin production of the Mégane E-Vision later this year, to be joined soon by a new EV platform aimed at B-segment models, which are expected to include the Renault 5 hatch and Renault 4 electric SUV.
The automaker, best known in the EV world for its popular Zoe hatch in production since 2012, aims to produce 400,000 EVs a year at the ElectriCity by 2025 employing 5,000 workers, 700 of whom will be new hires and are scheduled to come on board between 2022 and 2024.
“The Hauts-de-France region has the necessary assets to become the European reference in terms of know-how and production throughout the electric car value chain,” the automaker says. “In conjunction with its R&D functions, Renault Group will form partnerships with universities to set up training schemes adapted to the changing automotive market and will contribute to research work.”
When it comes to EV plants in Europe at the moment, it’s Volkswagen that had the lead, having turned the factory in Zwickau, Germany, into a producer of MEB platform vehicles, in addition to being in the process of outfitting its plants in Hannover and Emden to produce EVs, including today’s ID.4 sport utility, starting in 2022.
Unlike the VW Group, offering EVs under the Audi, Porsche, VW, SEAT and Skoda brands, Renault only has its partnership with Nissan to lean on when it comes to EV technology—a partnership that has certainly been tested in the past two years following the arrest and subsequent escape of Renault-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn to Lebanon.
As for new EV factories in Europe, all eyes this year are on the Tesla plant near Berlin, which has become bogged down in local regulatory issues in Germany, issues recently lamented by Elon Musk as “bureaucratic hell” on Twitter. The plant is behind schedule, and faces eleventh-hour opposition from environmental groups, of all entities.
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