North East Performance Track Chosen to Showcase Renault Fluence Z.E

The North East has reinforced its position as a leader in the development of electric vehicles (EVs) after receiving a vote of confidence from Renault UK which has chosen Gateshead College's Performance Track to launch its new Fluence Z.E to dealerships.

Representatives from dealerships in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England will have the chance to test-drive the innovative electric saloon at the Performance Test Track in Washington at an event taking place on Thursday, 8 March. 

They will also hear presentations from key Renault managers about the five-seat Fluence Z.E, which is part of a groundbreaking range of electric vehicles developed as part of a new business model.  Customers are able to hire the battery, therefore bringing the up-front cost of buying or leasing the vehicle down, a move that is set to provide a significant boost to EV sales in theUK.

Drivers in the North East will be some of the first in the country to get hold of the Fluence Z.E as Newcastle's Benfield Renault is due to take delivery of the new vehicle. The dealership is confirmed as the region's first Z.E Expert dealer and is already selling the new Kangoo Van Z.E, from the site.

Andy Heiron, Renault's Head of Electric Vehicles for theUK, says the Washington based Performance Track was selected to showcase the new Fluence Z.E due to the EV infrastructure already in place in the North East.

"We recognise North East England as one of the foremost connected EV networks in the UK. Many of the dealerships who will be invited to attend will be travelling from areas outside the North East with little EV charging at the moment, so a visit to this EV-ready region will help give them additional confidence that electric vehicles are the transport of the future.

"When Renault Z.E electric vehicles were shown for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show, they provoked a huge amount of interest from companies in every industry and from every country and we are delighted to now be bringing the range to the UK. Our unique model of battery hire helps to offer an overall cost level which is competitive with diesel and which we think will make electric vehicles a real, viable alternative for both businesses and individuals."

Josey Wardle project manager for Charge your Car, the North East's Plugged in Places scheme, said: "We're delighted to welcome Renault to the Performance Track to host their dealership launch for the Fluence Z.E.  This is another vote of confidence for the North East, which is leading the way in the development of EVs and the associated infrastructures.  With well over 300 EV charging posts now in place throughout the region, we're well placed to support the growing number of EV drivers taking to the road in the coming months and years as fantastic new vehicles like the Fluence become available."

The Performance Test Track, managed by Gateshead College, is the only publicly accessible test track in the UK. Sitting at the heart of the UK's biggest automotive cluster and designed specifically for Low Carbon driving, testing and trialling, it boasts a range of electric vehicle charging points, PV canopy, ahydrolyser and biofuel facility. 

Paul Gough, Head of Commercial Operations at Gateshead College, said: "Gateshead College took over the management of the Performance Track last year adding to our credentials as a leading business in low carbon vehicle developments and it's fantastic to see the track being used by vehicle manufacturers to showcase their EVs in this way."

For further information about renting the facility on a commercial basis, please contact 0191 490 2258