Renault has been working on an electric version of the Kwid hatchback – albeit primarily for the China market. However, in an interview with Automotive News, Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault has suggested the Kwid EV could find its way to markets like India too, in the future. “Once the Kwid electric works in China, there's no reason you're not going to export the car to India, to Brazil, to the Middle East.” Ghosn said to the Automotive News reporter.
Ghosn also mentioned having driven the Kwid electric prototype, implying that the car is at an advanced stage of development. China is considered a key market that will drive the global adoption of electric vehicles but, just like in India, keen pricing is the key to success. The Kwid does provide Renault a relatively low-cost base to engineer an electric vehicle. In addition, Renault has strived to keep costs low with specifications that are suited to a city car, and no more.
Autocar India has learnt the Kwid EV will be called the ‘e-Kwid’ and will boast a range of 140km on a single charge – sufficient for intra-city commutes. What we can also confirm is that the e-Kwid will make use of a lithium-ion battery pack. China has huge reserves of lithium and has also secured supplies of lithium and cobalt (essential to manufacture the batteries) from other countries to enable local lithium-ion battery production at a very competitive cost. The e-Kwid, however, is unlikely to be a very sprightly performer with limited power from its electric motor.
Don’t expect Renault to be in a tearing hurry to bring the e-Kwid to India, though. Inadequate charging infrastructure aside, costs are a major issue. Renault engineers who we’ve spoken to have said that, at present, a typical EV costs at least 60 percent more to manufacture than its conventional engine-powered version. Until such time that Renault can rein in costs of components like battery packs (partially possible, if the e-Kwid clicks in China) the model is unlikely to come to India, soon.