Renault Blinks: Considers Plug-In Hybrids For First Time
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has long held a belief that the pure electric car is not only the future of the segment, but the present.
Proof of this comes in the fact they have five (soon to be 6) fully electric vehicles in production, while at the same time there is zero extended range vehicles in either of their lineups, nor have they announced any future models with the technology.
Renault takes their commitment to EVs to even an higher level than partner Nissan, with 4 all electric offerings and not even a single hybrid in the fold.
Now, French site Les Echos reports all that may change as Renault is in the early stages of working on both a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the latter or which could be introduced by 2020.
Relatively speaking the only group that has any success of selling pure EVs to the general public has been limited to Renault-Nissan (not withstanding Tesla; who solves the problem of range anxiety by simply cramming more and more batteries into their cars until the situation has been alleviated).
By at least considering the plug-in hybrid powertrain the “Alliance” may now be realizing, or at least open to the possibility, that it is a lot easier to sell a conventional car with a plug-in extended range component, than an all battery vehicle scenario – at least on the ‘low end.’
“We are studying the gradual introduction of the hybrid in our range by 2020. And we are working on all available technologies, “said Marc Bodin, director of powertrain strategy at Renault.
The first introduction of the hybrid from Renault will come in 2014 according to Les Echos, thanks to learnings from Nissan, in the form of the Renault Initiale Paris. We doubt Toyota, as the all-time worldwide leader of hybrid sales with over 5,000,000 already banked, has much to worry about.
As for the plug-in, Renault still has not made any firm decisions, but is studying the application of a 40 kW electric motor application that allows a vehicle to drive all electrically as well on petrol when the battery is depleted.
“The mild-hybrid has the advantage of being less expensive and can target segments volumes, which is our vocation. As for the plug-in, it combines very interesting advantages.” On the downside, “A requirement to raise the cost barrier, given the presence of two big engines.”
Top Selling EV’s For Renault World Wide Through August 2013:
- Zoe 5,974
- Kangoo ZE (van) 3,792
- Twizy 2,192
- Fluence ZE 796
Separately, Automotive New Europe reached out to Renault to comment on hybrids (plug-in or otherwise) coming to the French auto maker’s lineup, and while they did concede there where now at an “exploratory stage” with hybrid technology, pure EVs and standard petrol vehicles are still their main focus:
“We will continue to emphasize the development of low-emission combustion engines and EV cars. Our original strategy has not changed.”
Considering what Renault-Nissan has been able to manage selling pure electric cars, we would really like to see what they could accomplish if they also embraced the extended range plug-in hybrid concept as well.
Les Echos (French)