French carmaker Renault is to roll out a range of electric vehicles as early as 2011, it confirmed March 2, signaling that it intends to aggressively compete in the EV space.

The firm confirmed its plans on the first press day of the Geneva Motor Show, which runs through March 14 at the Palexpo convention centre in Geneva.

Renault first previewed its "Z.E." (zero-emission) vehicles at the Frankfurt Motor Show as concept vehicles, but now intends to put them into full-scale production from next year.

New models are to include the Renault Twizy Z.E., a small two-seater reminiscent of the Smart car, and the compact Renault Zoe Z.E., a four-seater city car. At the higher end, the carmaker will also produce an electric version of its Fluence sedan, the Fleunce Z.E., and an electric version of the Kangoo van for business.

Renault says that it is already working on the infrastructure required to support these new vehicles from the time of their release, including new partnerships with energy companies and a recycling process for the lithium-based batteries. By 2011, the firm says that its vehicles will feature battery technology delivering a range of 160 km.

Such a commitment, so soon, is one of the firmest made by a carmaker to an electric future. However, other brands are expected to quickly follow suit - Volkswagen has also been laying out its electric vehicle plans at the show saying that it will release a test fleet of 500 electric Golfs in 2011 and enter mass production on its E-UP concept by 2013 ahead of a production version of the E-Golf.

Website: http://www.renault.com

Website: http://www.vw.com/

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