Currently reading: Autocar confidential: Electric vehicle profitability, Renault's Russian plant, Audi R8 testing & more
Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry

This week's snippets of automotive news include news on electric vehicle profitability, Renault's Russian plant, Audi R8 testing and Skoda's late entry into the EV game.

Electric vehicle profitability: 

Making profits out of electric cars is not easy, but Kia reckons it will break even in Europe on its line-up of two BEVs within two to three years, even at the competitive price of around £30,000 for the 300-mile- range Kia e-Niro unveiled in Paris. Sales of Kia BEVs are expected to hit 30,000 a year by 2020/21.

Renault's Russian plant:

Renault's Russian plant has developed an unlikely export hit: autonomous robots. Factory staff developed their own Automated Guided Vehicle robots to transport parts around the Moscow factory, allowing them to stop buying similar machines from external suppliers. The machines, worth around £7000 each, have proven so popular that Renault Moscow now sells them to the company’s other factories around the world.

Audi R8 testing: 

Every Audi R8 that leaves the factory in Neckarsulm, Germany, undergoes a 40km public test route for evaluation, unlike Audi’s regular models. Technicians cover the most vulnerable parts of the car in wrapping to protect from stone chips and other damage, but testing is rarely stopped due to weather. The test route is the only way Audi can be sure there are no quality issues prior to delivery.

Skoda late to the electric game:

Skoda will benefit from being late to the game with its first stand-alone electric model, according to sales and marketing boss Alain Favey. An electric Skoda Citigo is due late next year, with a production versionof the Vision E concept to follow. “It’s good we’ve more time to see infrastructure put in place,” he said.

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