Better Place and Renault opened a visitors' center in Denmark today and gave some details about pricing.
The price tag isn't bad either, when you look at all the factors. The pricing wouldn't work in the U.S., but in Denmark it could.
The base price for the Renault Fluence E.Z. comes to 27,496 Euros including VAT, which is the equivalent of $38,314 U.S. That would put the price of the car higher than the Nissan Leaf or upcoming Mitsubishi i, but less than the $41,000 Chevy Volt or $45,000 Coda sedan. But don't forget, Better Place cars come with a battery swapping subscription service.
The service will cost 399 Euros per month ($556 per month in U.S. dollars) for drivers that drive 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) a year. Drivers can also get packages for 199 to 249 Euros per month ($277 to $349 U.S.) if they drive 20,000 kilometers or less a year. Electricity consumption is included in the subscription fees.
The prices include a 1,341 Euro home charger.
To own the car for five years in Denmark, it would cost you 50,095 Euros for the premier package, or 27,496 for the car plus 23,490 in subscriptions for five years minus the 1,341 Euro charger. The 199 Euro package after five years would come to 38,095 Euros.
It might sound like a lot, but cars are expensive in Denmark. The government slaps a registration fee on gas cars that is nearly twice the price of a car, but electric cars are exempt from this fee. A company spokesperson said that an equivalent gas car would cost around 300,000 Danish kronen -- 40,230 Euros or $56,067.
Thus, the Fluence E.Z. in Denmark with all of these factors looks like a good deal. The premium package costs around 10,000 Euros more than the gas car, but the Better Place option includes all of the electrons you need. Gas now costs $8 per gallon in Denmark. Owning a gas car would likely cost about the same amount, maybe more, but with the Fluence, you get to drive an electric car.
The 20,000 km package over five years would cost 38,095 Euros over five years including electricity. That's less than the gas-burning car before you buy any fuel. Score one for Better Place and Renault.
The prices today are also not directly applicable to any sort of U.S. rollout: Better Place plans to launch in Israel this year, but beyond these two countries, the plans are still being laid down.
"The price is different in every market," said a spokeswoman.
Still, a whimsical hypothetical math problem indicates this would be no cheap car if it came to the U.S. as is. The company will clearly have to have far lower prices. prices.
Owning a car like this under the 40,000 km/25,000 mile package would run you $69,806. That is $38,314 for the car plus $33,360 for subscriptions minus the $1,868 for the charger.
Better Place includes VAT, but I haven't included sales tax or registration. Even if you credit Better Place $10,000 on taxes, the U.S. price under these circumstances would come to $59,806 before federal and state incentives. (Note: the Nissan, Mitsubishi, GM, Coda prices above don't include federal and state incentives, either.)
The 20,000-km/12,500-mi packages would start at $53,066 ($38,314 plus $16,620 minus $1,868).
Put another way, the service/subscription packages cost around 23 cents a mile U.S., not including the price of a car.
Driving a gas car costs about 12 cents a mile when gas costs $3 a gallon, Better Place told us last year. Electricity, on the other hand, costs about 3 cents a mile: a kilowatt-hour costs around 12 cents and a car can go around 4 miles on a kilowatt hour. A battery for an electric car, meanwhile, will cost around 6 cents a mile over a 200,000-mile lifetime.
At 23 cents, the Better Price operating cost is almost double the 12 cent cost of driving on gas.