Renault Samsung Motors, the French automaker and the South Korean electronics giant’s joint venture to produce cars in Korea, unveils today a new version of their all-electric sedan SM3 Z.E. with 50% more range.
The new SM3 Z.E. was unveiled at the Daegu International Future Auto Expo in South Korea today.
The vehicle’s design is virtually unchanged. The biggest difference is a brand new battery pack.
It went from a capacity of 22 kWh to now 36 kWh for a range of 213 km (132 miles) on a single charge based on the Korean type approval cycle.
With improvements in battery technology, Renault Samsung Motors claims that it was able to increase the battery capacity without adding any weight:
“Battery power has been upped to 36kWh with no increase in weight and, with the average daily trip in South Korea standing at 40 kilometres in 2016 according to a Korean Transportation Safety Authority (KOTSA) report, the new SM3 Z.E. is capable of running for approximately five days on a single charge.”
The new version of the vehicle is available to order for 41,535,000 South Korean Won (~$38,000 USD).
A welcomed battery upgrade for the vehicle, but it looks like it’s going to be hard to compete with other cars in the segment, like Hyundai’s Ioniq Electric.
Yet, Renault Samsung Motors says that the SM3 Z.E. remained popular even prior to the battery upgrade. It looks like they are aiming for the fleet market, especially state-run fleets and taxi operators.
They say that the South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare ordered 1,200 cars last April and it has been popular as an EV taxi in Seoul, Daegu and Jeju Island.
The Korean electric car market is only in its infancy, but domestic manufacturers, like Hyundai and Kia, are starting to enter the field at the lower-end and the market is expected to expand quickly with the generous government incentives put in place.