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The Samsung Electric Car You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

Samsung sought the help of French automaker Renault-Nissan for its SM3 Z.E. electric car. First unveiled at the 2011 Seoul Motor Show in South Korea, the SM3 Z.E. is a Samsung-specific version of Renault’s Fluence Z.E. electric car (also based on a gas-powered Fluence sedan produced until 2015) that debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. It was known back then as the first modern electric car with battery swapping technology, and it was the UK’s most affordable electric vehicle in 2012.

However, Renault withdrew the Fluence Z.E. in France in February 2014, according to Green Car Reports – just in time to make room for the brand’s newest range of E-Tech electric cars. As Renault has held an 80% stake in Samsung Motors since 2000, the French automaker formed RSM (Renault Samsung Motors) with Samsung to build a local variant of the Fluence Z.E. in Busan, South Korea, which it called the RSM SM3 Z.E.

By 2016, Samsung’s all-electric sedan was so popular that one out of three EVS in South Korea was an SM3 Z.E. It was the only midsized all-electric sedan in Korea, and RSM had no trouble selling 1,767 units of the SM3 Z.E. from 2013 to 2016. The South Korean government made it their official government vehicle, and it also became the taxi of choice in Seoul city.

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