FRANKFURT -- Renault is working on an electric vehicle that would sell in Europe for no more than 10,000 euros ($11,000).
The EV could go on sale within the next five years, Renault CEO Thierry Bollore said.
Renault has a decade of experience building electric cars such as the Zoe battery-powered small hatchback and can use that expertise to make a low-cost EV feasible, Bollore said.
"We are already making money with our electric cars today with quite modest volumes in absolute terms," he said at the Frankfurt auto show on Tuesday.
"By projecting what is going to happen in the market, we have a clear estimate that we can still make money" with a low-priced EV, Bollore said.
Short-term rental programs offered a ready market for a very affordable EV.
"When you look at the new business model, which is shared mobility, you need to have very modern, appealing cars at a reasonable cost," he said. Renault is making money on its short-term rental plan in Madrid, which has put 800 Zoes on the streets, Bollore said.
Next year Renault will start China sales of the K-ZE, an electric version of the Kwid microcar for non-European markets.
Prices for that model have not been announced but Renault officials said this spring that it would be competitive with similar domestic Chinese models, which sell for less than 10,000 euros. Renault has not ruled out bringing the K-ZE to Europe, if it is a success in China.
"Not everyone can afford the price of the electric vehicles on the market today," he said. "Everyone's working on high-end cars, but the key element is that we need to have accessible electric mobility."
The Zoe has been in Renault's lineup since 2012. It has been continuously upgraded, including this year when it received a new interior, charging ports and higher-capacity battery.
The Zoe was Europe's No. 2-selling EV in the first half after the Tesla Model 3, according to Automotive News Europe's analysis of segment sales. Renault sold 23,9914 Zoes in the half while Tesla sold 37,227 units of the Model 3.
The Zoe starts at 23,900 euros in its French home market, plus its battery lease, which is 50 euros to 125 euros.
The next wave of full-electric Renaults is not expected before 2022, when several models will be introduced on a dedicated platform developed with alliance partner Nissan.