Renault managed to make money on electric cars while Tesla is miles away from a profit

Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Renault produces electric cars, just like Tesla and other manufacturers. So what’s the difference? The French company earns money.

Tesla, the US electric vehicle pioneer, has not yet been able to cover its costs while German manufacturer Opel is paying heavily for its Ampera E line, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reports.
Renault, on the other hand, is making a profit.

Renault board member Gilles Normand told the newspaper this week “that we can make money selling electric vehicles”. It’s a bold claim when electric car sales are low and battery costs are high.

Half a million e-vehicles sold

Together with its sister company Nissan, Renault has already sold half a million electric cars including the Leaf and Zoe models. Currently, Nissan is the market leader in electric cars.

Renault has lofty goals. In five years’ time, they are aiming for 20% of their models to run only on electricity. In addition, half of all their models will be equipped with an electric motor so that, in addition to petrol, they can also be powered electrically. Renault and Nissan don’t yet have any hybrid cars but the third company in their alliance, Mitsubishi, does.

Targeted profits the same as gasoline engines

With positive signs surrounding electric cars, Normand is optimistic. Like cars with petrol engines he aims to achieve a profit of seven percent.

“We are once again leading the way in this area, as we indicate a profit margin for our electrical business,” Normand told Süddeutsche Zeitung.

However, Normand’s colleagues on the board of directors don’t appear to be as confident about the future of electric cars. It is apparently expected that in 2022 pure electric cars will only account for a market share of 5%. But as long as Renault keeps its electric cars in the black this shouldn’t be a problem for the company.

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