Renault has announced a new sub-division of its business, called Ampere, that will handle all of its electric vehicle (EV) and software needs going forward. Renault says Ampere was carved out of the main business on November 1, 2023, and in so doing became the first European EV and software 'pure player' in the process.
Ampere inherits E-Tech, 4 and 5 projects
Ampere will now manage Renault's growing portfolio of EVs, which has grown to five with the reveal of the Twingo city car at the same event. That will include not only the Megane E-Tech already on sale, and the impending Scenic E-Tech crossover-SUV but also the eagerly awaited rebirths of the Renaults 4 and 5.
Indeed, at the Ampere event, we got another look at the Renault 4 concept, which will use the same AmpR Small platform and infotainment system as the Renault 5. However, there were no major changes to the concept car, beyond a fresh lick of paint, the removal of its roof rack and a different set of alloy wheels since its first appearance as the 4Ever Trophy concept at the 2022 Paris Motor Show.
Ampere's off to a good start, thanks to proprietary hardware it has inherited from Renault - it already has the AmpR Small and AmpR Medium platforms for its EVs, which are the chassis formerly known as the CMF-B EV and CMF-EV baseboards used in previous Renault-Nissan Group electrics. With 11,000 employees at start-up, 35 per cent of whom are engineers, it certainly has the expertise to call upon too.
Reducing EV costs by 40% before 2028
The aim for the company is to make its Renault-badged products reach price parity in the B and C segments of the marketplace - that's cars of the Clio/Captur and Megane/Austral sizes respectively - by 2031, with the aim of cutting the variable costs between the first and second generations of its C-segment EVs by 40 per cent before 2028 is out. It aims to do this with a 50 per cent reduction in battery cost per vehicle, while maintaining the same driving range, a 25 per cent reduction in e-powertrain costs per vehicle, and 25 per cent reduction in the platform costs along with 15 per cent reduction of the upper-body costs per vehicle.
There are ambitious plans for annual growth of 30 per cent year-on-year between now and 2031. That means from a targeted revenue of €10 billion by 2025 with four product lines (Megane, Scenic, 5, 4), Ampere is planning to hit €25bn with seven vehicles by 2031 - with the Twingo outlined for a possible 2026 launch as the fifth car in that wave of EVs.
Beyond Renault's electric cars, Ampere will also be a technological, manufacturing and business platform serving other brands besides the Diamond. Ampere will make at least two cars for sports-car company Alpine, it will develop the next Micra for Nissan and it is also slated to create an as-yet-unnamed model for Mitsubishi. It will also work on value brand Dacia's transition to electric power, while working on the software solutions required for the entire Renault Group.
Affordable EVs for all
Ampere's confirmed products for Renault include the Megane E-Tech, launched in 2022 with a €38,000 entry ticket. The Scenic E-Tech, likely to be priced from €40,000, will arrive in early 2024, which is about the time the production-ready Renault 5 EV will appear - this planned to provide 400km of driving range for a €25,000 asking price. The Renault 4 will follow in 2025, likely costing a bit more than the 5 upon which it is based, while the Twingo should appear in 2026 for less than €20,000. It should be clearly pointed out here that all these prices are European figures, not Irish; we'll know more definitive details on each car, as and when they near marketability.
Renault and Ampere want to sell around 300,000 EVs in 2025, but will significantly ramp that up to one million vehicles annually worldwide by 2031, with a market share of around 10 per cent.
'Ampere is about striving for technological excellence'
Luca de Meo, the CEO of Renault Group, said: "Ampere is an ambitious, holistic, and structural response of the European industry to the challenges coming from East and West.
"In the true spirit of Renault, Ampere is engineered to make electric and connected cars affordable for all, addressing the imperatives of energy transition and seizing the growth opportunities on the market.
"Ampere is first about striving for technological excellence and customer experience: two EV-native platforms, a powerful line-up of seven cars, a new generation of centralized electronic architecture, an advanced Android-based software suite, and the most compact and efficient supply and manufacturing EV ecosystem, all created in Europe.
"I'm more than confident that the success of Ampere relies on the expertise and enthusiasm of a highly diverse team that has proven extremely effective in the last two years of preparation."