In a sense, Renault-Nissan doesn't have much of a choice. Paris' mayor Anne Hidalgo, a very vocal opponent of fossil fuel and unnecessary car use, wants to get rid of all diesels in her city's urban core by 2025. France as a whole, hopes to ban sales of fossil fuel cars by 2040. The automaker needs more than one-offs like the Leaf or Renault Zoe if it's going to remain a mainstay on French streets.
Nonetheless, it's a huge shift for a company which has depended heavily on diesel cars under chief Carlos Ghosn -- at one point, they represented 60 percent of sales. While it's not as dramatic a move as what you've seen from companies like Volvo (which promises a complete shift to electric and hybrid cars within 2 years), it's another sign that the automotive industry is no longer treating EVs as side projects. As with VW and other high-volume brands, Renault-Nissan knows electric cars have to play an important role in its lineup within the next few years, not just at some distant point in the future.