In the world of new car technology, there’s three pillars that look set to define the next generation of vehicles. The first two, electrification and autonomy, are seemingly daily subjects, each impossible to ignore as new plug-ins and new semi-autonomous tech debuts each week.
The third pillar though, ownership, has had less attention of late. Many a pundit has predicted that future generations won’t own their own cars. Rather, they will either utilise piloted and autonomous ride-share cars. Or, they will pay subscription services for cars.
It’s with the latter in mind that Renault revealed its newest electric car overnight; the Mobilize Limo. Want one? Well, you can’t actually buy one. The Limo’s big hook is that it will be exclusively offered as a subscription service car, thus making it a rival not only to other sedans, but also to rideshare companies.
The handsome sedan is fully electric, its motor producing 110kW of power and 220Nm of torque. Renault comedically labels it ‘high performance’, even though it takes 9.6 seconds to get to 100km/h. Range is a more convincing story. The Limo gets a 60kWh battery, offering up to 450km of range on the WLTP cycle.
The exterior has a similar silhouette to that of a Tesla Model 3, particularly in its rear overhang. Its electric persona is underlined by the lack of a big primary grille up front and by the aerodynamically efficient flush door handles.
Inside, Renault has gone upmarket. The steering wheel gets knurled switchgear. Metal (or more likely a metal look alike material) features everywhere. And there’s leather upholstery. The biggest feature though is the dual screens; a 10.25-inch unit for the cluster and a 12.3-inch unit for the main touchscreen.
While it may seem far fetched to subscribe to a car instead of buying one outright, there is a logic to such a sales model.
The move will hope to be popular with a younger audience, who will cross-shop the Mobilize with buying a much older, cheaper second-hand car with less safety and features. And those who opt for the model can look forward to an experience that doesn’t include worries around depreciation and maintenance.
The Mobilize Limo will begin to roll out in selected markets from the second half of next year. Expect the early focus to be on Europe, with markets like New Zealand unlikely to be a starter. Still, we watch with interest.