Renault will have electric cars on UK roads in time for the London Olympics in 2012, according to chief operating officer Patrick Pelata.
Renault will reveal its first electric vehicles at the Frankfurt motor show in September and three of them will eventually go on sale: an electric Kangoo, a Clio-sized car and a Megane-sized saloon.
Renault's alliance partner, Nissan, will have its own electric vehicles arriving at around the same time, but Pelata insists that while there will be component sharing between the cars, they will be very different.
Nissan is working on battery technology and brake energy-regeneration, while Renault is developing systems such as air-con and battery recharging. Both companies are sharing the work on electric motors.
While the cars will be able to be recharged from a standard mains power supply, the company is also expecting to put in place 'Quick drop' battery stations, where users will be able to swap their depleted batteries for fully charged units. Pelata anticipates that the Clio-sized electric car will have a range of around 100 miles.
Batteries will be leased on an annual basis, over a pre-agreed mileage, and Pelata says the cost will be less than the equivalent price of diesel. He expects the cars to cost around 5000 (4465) more than equivalent diesel models.
Renault is already talking to the London Mayoral office about their electric cars being used during London's 2012 Olympics.