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Will Renault Embrace Hybrid Technology?

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The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Renault

Will Renault Embrace Hybrid Technology?

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
October 5, 2013


Renault
In recent years Renault have been cutting out the deadwood and ‘rationalising’ their fleet. In terms of technical advancement they have concentrated their efforts on electric vehicles like the excellent Zöe but haven’t really shown their hand as regards hybrids.

Apparently the company is working on a variety of hybrid technologies, including a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, that it may offer in its passenger vehicles by the end of the decade, according to a French newspaper.

Marc Bodin, director of powertrain strategy, says "We are studying the gradual introduction of hybrids in our range by 2020."

The work remains at an exploratory stage and a final decision is yet to be made. There is a suggestion that such a system could be included in the range for the possibly forthcoming Renault Initiale. That’s the concept ‘Paris’ in the image.

The car maker is also developing hybrid technologies for its low-cost Dacia division. "We want to make our technologies accessible, so we would, of course, offer a hybrid Dacia model as an affordable hybrid alternative if Renault were to ever decide to launch hybrid cars," they say.

Renault is also developing hybrid technologies with its alliance partner Nissan. Nissan themselves plan to introduce their first hybrid models in Europe by 2014, according to the press report.

The production version of the Initiale Paris concept could be the first Renault passenger vehicle to get a hybrid drivetrain. The concept was unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show last month and previews the replacement for the Espace. The Renault spokesman declined to comment on whether the Espace successor will have a hybrid powertrain variant.

The spokesman said Renault's focus on electric vehicles remains unchanged despite its work on hybrid engines. "We will continue to emphasize the development of low-emission combustion engines and EV cars," the spokesman said. "Our original strategy has not changed."

There’s a danger here that Renault could miss the boat. With partner Nissan bringing hybrids to the market in 2014 and many manufacturers offering them now the French company could, once again, be left trailing behind the competition.



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