The Renault Group is seeking to create a new subsidiary for its electric vehicle business as it seeks to accelerate development and attract investment.
Explaining the decision, CEO Luca de Meo said: “Look it as a sports team: we have a new stadium with new players and different approaches. We have to create a new game - and I’d rather do that now than at the last minute before electric vehicles are made mandatory.
“The best way to do that is to take a few thousand people and put them in a new organisation that isn’t set on doing things the same way it has for 123 years.”
The Renault brand has pledged to sell only electric vehicles in Europe from 2030.
De Meo admitted that another part of his motivation was to raise funds for the next generation of vehicles set to launch from 2025.
“The trouble is that investors look at single-digit margins and struggle to get excited. There is a big difference between investing in the next-generation Renault Clio in Turkey and an electric future with new boundaries, where software might rule the hardware rather than vice versa.
“If we can push higher value and a higher margin to become a potentially double-digit profit margin business, then it will open opportunities for us.
"EVs are one of three or four things we’re really good at. Really good. But do we get the credit? No. This is one way we can.”
De Meo also criticised tough Euro 7 emissions regulations, set to be imposed on combustion engines from 2026. Highlighting a belief that the difference between final Euro 6 and the new Euro 7 regulations will only result in a 3-4% improvement in emissions, he said: “They will cost us about €1 billion in R&D, and the customer about €1000 a car. There are other places I could put that R&D to better effect.”