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PHOTO CAPTION: Renault Zoe sales show early success.

Electric Cars Face Crucial Test In Depressed European Auto Market

Early sales of Renault ZOE would seem to vindicate Carlos Ghosn’s €4 billion investment to research, develop and produce a broad range of electric vehicles.

Published: 05-Mar-2013

PARIS - The Renault-Nissan alliance’s multibillion-euro electric-vehicle program, marred by delays and disappointing sales, faces crucial tests this month amid the slump in European auto demand and the Japanese yen’s volatility against foreign currencies.

Renault SA’s first compact electric car hits showrooms in France this month, benefiting from a €7,000 ($9,114) a car government subsidy putting it on par with conventionally powered cars.

The battery is rented separately. Nissan starts production of the Leaf, its flagship electric car, in the U.K. this month too. Production began outside Japan for first time in the new year at the Japanese auto maker’s Smyrna, Tenn., assembly plant.

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