FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Automaker Renault is setting ambitious goals for its new combined electric vehicle and software business, saying it will “democratize” the market for battery-powered cars in Europe by making them as affordable as gasoline or diesel cars. powered models.
Combining electric vehicles and software into the new independent company Ampere will mean shorter development times and lower costs as the company faces stiff competition from US Tesla and Chinese carmakers making rapid progress.
The company envisions a “software-driven car” by 2026, based on an umbrella software package that can be used across different electric car models and that combines distributed processors into a central architecture that remains constantly connected to computer networks, or “the cloud.” That will enable over-the-air software updates and customer retention for vehicle maintenance, the company said Wednesday during an investor day presentation. The result should be a 40% cost reduction in production costs by 2027-2028 for the successors to the Megane E-Tech and Scenic E-Tech.
Fully electric models tend to sell at a higher price than comparable petrol or diesel models, but the cost difference is expected to decrease as battery technology improves.
The company also plans to sell a small car for less than 20,000 euros ($21,695).
Developing electric cars and software will mean that technology and automotive engineers will “find a common language… and combine the best of technology and the automotive industry,” CEO Luca de Meo said during an investor day presentation.
He said Ampere would enable more independent decision-making to respond to rapidly changing technology: “Those who stay light and agile and put their people in a position to experiment and innovate will get out of the corners faster,” said he.
Renault is open to selling shares in Ampere, which was divested on November 1, through an initial public offering if conditions are right, but says it will retain a majority stake. The company predicts Ampere will have a turnover of 10 billion euros per year with four vehicles, and reach 25 billion euros in 2031 with seven vehicles.