The all-electric Renault Fluence will cost £22,850 – reduced to £17,850 with the Government's maximum £5000 electric car grant – the car maker has confirmed.
That will make the four-door saloon cheaper than its key rival – and a car with which it shares much of its technology – the Nissan Leaf.
However, unlike Nissan Leaf customers who buy the car outright, Fluence owners will buy the car but lease the batteries. Renault says this will ensure stronger resale values, because there'll be no worries over the state of the battery.
The exact price of that lease will vary depending on the length of the contract and the owner's annual mileage. For instance; a 12-month, 6000-mile contract will cost £86 a month, but if the buyer signs up for 60 months, the monthly cost drops to £70; if the annual mileage is increased to 9000 on that 60-month contact, the cost goes up to £81.
It is possible to terminate the contract if owners sell the car, but Renault will then calculate the amount they should have paid over the shorter term. Similarly, excess mileage will be charged at 4p per mile, but the contract does include the security of having a full recovery service in the event of breakdown, which includes running out of battery power.
Renault's other electric vehicles
The Fluence is expected to reach British showrooms in May or June next year, and will be the third all-electric Renault to arrive here.
The first is the Kangoo van, which goes on sale next month, but is not eligible for the £5000 grant, because it is not a car, while the Twizy (effectively a four-wheeled scooter) will go on sale in March. Then, in October, a fourth all-electric Renault, the Zoe supermini, will go on sale; the production car will be at the Geneva motor show next year.
Although you will be able to go into any Renault showroom and buy an electric vehicle (EV), the company is setting up a network of EV specialists. This currently stands at 20 dealers, but will be extended to 27 by the time the Fluence goes on sale.
The centres are predominantly located within major urban areas (London, Milton Keynes and the North East, for example). These dealers will be the only ones to have demonstrator cars and be the only ones who can carry out a full service on the company's EVs.
Come back to whatcar.com tomorrow at midday for a full review of the Renault Fluence
Our reviews are based on hard data and thorough testing in the real world.
Up to the minute news from around the globe