Hybrid cars: Renault accelerates and unveils its strategy

Published by on 10.01.2018 - 5 min

Today, Renault is introducing three new hybrid electric vehicles equipped with brand new technology. The manufacturer is beginning to electrify its range, confirming its intentions first announced in the "Drive The Future" plan unveiled in 2017.

Groupe Renault is a pioneer and leader in 100% electric vehicles in Europe, but does not intend to stop there. The Group also wishes to offer electrified vehicles so that as many people as possible can benefit from electric mobility. From 2020, Renault will include in its catalogue the new Captur “E-TECH plug-in”, the first plug-in hybrid in the B segment, the new Megane “E-TECH plug-in”, and the new Clio “E-TECH hybrid”, a hybrid version of the famous city car.

The unique feature of electrified vehicles (that is to say “hybrid” vehicles in general) is that they include both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor unit. The internal combustion engine and a braking energy recovery system recharge the battery. The energy stored in the battery is then returned to the electric motor unit. This means that the internal combustion engine is only used sparingly, especially for city journeys.

So what are the main differences between plug-in hybrids and other hybrids? The first difference is obvious. As their name suggests, plug-in hybrids – also known as “Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles” or “PHEV” – can be connected to the electricity grid, either via a household socket or a terminal, which is not the case for standard hybrid vehicles (also known as “Hybrid Electric Vehicles” or “HEV”). The second difference concerns the size of the battery, as plug-in hybrid models have a larger battery capacity than standard hybrid electric vehicles.

An innovative powertrain group

Concept car EOLAB

The powertrain that will equip the Renault brand’s new electrified vehicles – an innovation developed for the EOLAB research prototype – is composed of a petrol engine, two electric motors and a clutchless gearbox. This automatic transmission allows the battery to recharge when the vehicle is in motion. This progress is the result of extensive research and development work, made possible by an investment plan of 18 billion euros over 6 years.

The E-TECH system allows for extended starting and driving in electric mode. The new “E-TECH plug-in” Captur will benefit from Renault’s expertise in the field of electric vehicles, both in terms of battery capacity (9.8 kWh) and charging. Enough to provide driving pleasure in all conditions of use!

Equipped with a 1.2 kWh battery, the new Clio “E-TECH hybrid” will provide fuel savings as well as the best acceleration and responsiveness compared to its competitors in this market segment, without having to change driving habits. The Renault HEV solution will also provide the best 100% electric driving capacity in this segment.

Thanks to the fast response time of the powertrain, these hybrid cars are highly responsive comparable to a 100% electric model, which merely adds to the driving pleasure. On the performance side, the complementary nature of the thermal and electric engines provides maximum efficiency.

A complementarity between hybrid and electric vehicles

“By launching a rechargeable hybrid Captur, Renault is first of all responding to an expectation for which there was no solution of multi-purpose city cars in the B segment”, explains Grégoire Ginet, Deputy Commercial Range Manager for Powertrain/Electrification at Groupe Renault.

“We wanted to attract the interest of customers who were not considering purchasing a plug-in hybrid car. Thus, buyers of a new generation Renault Captur will be able to choose Plug-in Hybrid technology while future buyers of a new Clio will have the opportunity to switch to a Hybrid.”

These three new hybrid models will complete the Groupe Renault’s range of electric vehicles, which is already the largest on the market, with ZOE, Twizy, Kangoo Z.E. and Master Z.E., while meeting a variety of expectations.

“The hybrid car is complementary to the electric car, in the sense that it responds to use cases not covered by the latter. For single-motor homes, hybrid models make it possible to drive all week in an electric vehicle but also to get away for holidays on very long journeys, thanks to the support of thermal motorization.”

All these new vehicles benefit from Groupe Renault’s nearly 10 years of experience in the field of electric mobility. These models will also offer connected services to make life easier for their users, in particular to manage vehicle charging.