‘Pretty childish’ swing in BEV sentiment – Renault’s de Meo
The veteran auto exec thinks the commentariat is overreacting to a short-term change in pace of adoption
A temporary slowdown in European BEV sales growth is “one of the elements” that has fed into a decision by French OEM Renault to cancel a planned IPO of its Ampere EV and software spin-off, the firm’s CEO Luca de Meo admits.
“Being totally blind and not looking left and right [at the demand situation] would not have been totally responsible as a management team,” he concedes.
But the Renault chief is also frustrated by what he sees as an overreaction to temporarily slowing demand. “There is a swing on the opposite side with EVs that I consider, honestly, pretty childish,” he says.
“Three years ago, everyone was telling us if we would not go 100pc EV, we would have been a bunch of zombies in ten years. And now everyone is telling us that we should not do EVs because profitability etc.” de Meo complains.
“People like us have to keep cool heads. I think that EVs will be a dominant technology in Europe because of regulation,” he continues.
And the Renault chief stresses that this is not simply a consequence of the 2035 ban on sales of ICE vehicles but, in the shorter term, driven by the Clean Air for Europe (Cafe) regulations.
“A lot of people forget that we have Cafe in the middle,” says de Meo, pointing out that the average emissions of a carmaker’s European sales in 2025 must be below 95g CO2e/km, falling to 50g CO2e/km in 2030. “Even if you take one of the best combustion engines in Europe, a small hybrid from Renault or Toyota, it is 80g.
“You do not need to have a Nobel Prize in mathematics to understand that you need a big part of zero emissions cars,” de Meo concludes. “The electric car is a train that has already left the station.”
The watering down of the EU’s Euro 7 emissions standards agreed in December will “relieve a bit of pressure” on Renault’s ICE sales business, in de Meo’s view. But he stresses that it is both only a temporary stay of execution and also the window in which it improves prospects overlaps with the Cafe impact.
“We will maybe sell a little bit more ICE in ’25 and ’26,” he suggests. “But I repeat, just to let you understand the logic, we have Cafe. So do not look only at the emissions thing.
“We have to respect the average of the fleet in ’25 and in 2030. It is even before ’27,” he says, referring to the date Euro 7 has been pushed back to. “It is pretty challenging for everyone.
“And, if you do not respect that, then you are going to have to pay a lot of fines. This is a motivation for us to keep pushing BEVs because, basically, a BEV is worth 100 ICE.”