Renault has launched a separate brand, Mobilize, to sell light electric vehicles (LEVs) and run charging stations. Intriguingly, it sounds like the plan for its first vehicle, a low-speed ‘mini car’ known as the Mobilize Duo, is to make it available to customers on a subscription basis.
There’s a definite trend towards leasing out light electric vehicles for a monthly fee. We’ve already had a look at the pros and cons of e-bike subscription versus buying and picked out the best e-bike subscription services in the UK. We’ve also seen several micro-mobility firms working in a similar way while offering e-scooters, e-mopeds and the like.
But really this is nothing new. Car leasing has long been a thing and an LEV like the Duo sort of splits the difference between a high price e-bike and an electric car. Why wouldn’t it be available on a monthly basis?
Autocar reports that the vehicle itself is in much the same mould as the Citroen Ami or the Eli Zero that we reported on recently. More obviously, it’s the successor to (and replacement of) the Renault Twizy.
The Duo is a two-seater small enough that you could fit three of them in a regular parking space. It’s 2.43m long, 1.3m wide and 1.46m high.
There’ll be a 45km/h (28mph) version and another capable of 80km/h (50mph) to fit different licensing categories, offering somewhere around 140km in range.
Mobilize say it will be available – on subscription only – by the end of next year, with a UK launch a few months later. A cargo version, known as Bento, geared towards urban deliveries will follow in 2024.
As well as maintenance and insurance, it sounds like monthly fees may also cover charging. Mobilize is working with Renault dealers to launch Mobilize Fast Charge, a network of ultrafast charging stations that will be available to all electric vehicle users.
“Through its subscription deals, Mobilize provides all the services relating to manufacturer warranties, maintenance, insurance and charging solutions,” said Duo and Bento Product Performance Leader, Corinne Pakey. “This all-inclusive package aims to provide private and professional customers with all-round peace of mind,”
Mobilize also seems to be floating a few other vehicles, including the Solo, a ‘semi-seated’ three-wheeler that looks to be a kind of e-scooter with a roof. (They say the designers’ initial starting point was a skateboard with an umbrella.)
The Solo would have a 25km/h speed, which is perhaps an indication of how Mobilize views different forms of urban electric vehicle.
It may well be envisioning broader subscriptions long-term that would allow for people to easily switch between different vehicle types.