Renault-Nissan is planning to make its electric vehicles rechargable in three different ways when they first go on sale in Europe from 2011.
Drivers will either be able to plug their cars into two types of charger or swap their batteries in special “quick drop” exchange stations.
The two types of charging facilities will offer either a standard service, which will take four to eight hours to fully replenish a battery, and a fast charge will enable an 80 per cent charge in around 20 minutes.
The third option is to exchange your depleted battery for a fully charged one. Renault-Nissan claims that the swap would take just three minutes.
The firm plans to lease the batteries in its electric vehicles to customers, which help bring the cost of the vehicles down. It says that the operating costs will “compare favourably with that of a similar sized gasoline or diesel-powered car.”
It will not operate the charging stations. Instead they will be owned by what are described as “public and private businesses or local organisations.”
Billing would be similar to paying for a mobile phone. Users would pay a fixed fee for a set number of miles, and could add more miles for extra cost.
Renault-Nissan’s first electric vehicles will be a production version of the Kangoo Z.E concept van, followed by an electric Megane saloon for the Israeli market only. Nissan will start selling electric cars in Europe in 2012, including a small stand-alone hatchback.