Innovation | 17 July 2019

Hybrid or electric, let’s get up to speed!

8 min
Sustainable electric & hybrid cars for the future of mobility by Groupe Renault
Did you know? The future of mobility depends on electrification! A promise of a transition to a more sustainable and healthy driving experience, yet still enjoyable! Electric engines have more than one advantage to seduce. Groupe Renault believes in electric mobility, its simplicity and its benefits for all. The proof? The reveal of new innovative vehicles: the New ZOE, still 100% electric, and from 2020, the New CAPTUR E-TECH in plug-in hybrid version and the Clio E-TECH, equipped with a hybrid engine. Fasten your seat belt and come onboard with On'Air, which invites you to connect and discover more about the future of mobility: electrification!
by Thomas AUDEBERT

The electric vehicle,
a question of timing

Laserdisc has not been very successful.

Remember the LaserDisc? A huge CD that measured 30 centimetres across and came out at the end of the 70s with a much better picture and sound quality than the VHS of the time. If it doesn’t ring any bells it’s hardly surprising, as the format turned out to be a flop. Expensive and sadly unsuited to the requirements, the Laserdisc fell into video limbo, outdone first by VHS and later by DVD. It’s a question of timing.

Timing always matters, including in the car industry. Paul Pouchain probably wasn’t aware of that. If you don’t know who he is, we’re talking about the man who built the first hybrid car … in 1894.

Too soon for a hybrid vehicle.

In fact, during the infancy of the car industry, electric and internal combustion lived cheek by jowl and in competition with each other. But around about 1910, the innovation battle was over and the internal combustion engine had supplanted electrical power. Too heavy, too expensive, not enough range, it was again a question of timing.

Groupe renault,
electric in view!

Back to the 21st century. The IC engine is no longer the be-all-and-end-all of automotive power. With rising oil prices, the climate crisis and green transition, going electric now poses a major challenge for the car industry.

Groupe Renault has been thinking about this challenge for some years. As a pioneer of the electric vehicle, the Group has invested massively in this form of mobility, offering vehicles that are accessible and easy to use.

In 2009, Groupe Renault started working on the challenge, coming up with the first Zoe in 2012, a versatile saloon designed for the city. Together with the Twizy, Kangoo Z.E. and Master Z.E., Groupe Renault already has the most extensive electric range on the market.

On the back of this experience and expertise acquired over 10 years, the company will offer its first hybrid vehicles in 2020: the Clio E-Tech and the Captur E-Tech Plug-In

Renault, number 1 in electric vehicles

 in 4
1 in 4 electric vehicles sold in Europe is a Renault
By 2022, 8 100%-electric models and 12 electrified models
€1 billion invested in electric vehicles in France by 2022

to bridge the gap

Groupe Renault strongly believes in 100%-electric mobility, as was recently demonstrated with the unveiling of the New Zoe in June 2019. The electric car already ticks a number of mobility boxes and is becoming popular due to its increasing affordability and the development of an increasingly comprehensive charging network. With these technical advances, user interest and curiosity is growing, meaning that the choice to go electric is no longer the privilege of the few.

One American driver in 5 expects to replace their current vehicle with an electric vehicle

American Automobile Association survey

Our commitment to electric now also includes developing hybrid or electrified cars, synonyms for an unprecedented transition in the industry. At once electric (part of the time) and internal combustion (the rest of the time), the hybrid is a halfway house between the two forms of energy. But hang on, there’s hybrid, rechargeable hybrid and electric, so what’s the difference? Well, it’s pretty straightforward.

  • First hybrid, pure and simple. It has a small electric motor which can run for several kilometres as a complement to the traditional IC engine. It’s perfect for short trips around town. It’s sometimes referred to as a Full hybrid. Hybrid power will be available on the New Clio from 2020.
  • Next, the rechargeable hybrid. Rechargeable because it has a second and larger battery that needs to be recharged in order to work. This can also run on electric power - up to 100 km for the most sophisticated - before reverting to the IC engine. New Captur will feature rechargeable hybrid in 2020.
    A plug-in hybrid engine will be available on CAPTUR by 2020.
  • Lastly the EV, which you already know. No IC engine at all, just the battery and 100%-electric operation. This is what you’ll find on our main electric models, the Zoe, Twizy, Kangoo Z.E. and Master Z.E. All the benefits of the electric vehicle can be found in its various versions. Depending on requirement, depending on use, hybrid and electric complement each other perfectly.

Powering up, on the grid with Groupe Renault

Electric mobility is not just about cars. There’s a whole ecosystem that needs to be designed to encourage ethical use. To this end, Groupe Renault has committed to the development of infrastructures and an electric ecosystem. With a battery capable of balancing the electricity grid, Electric mobility is not just about cars. There’s a whole ecosystem that needs to be designed to encourage ethical use. To this end, Groupe Renault has committed to the development of infrastructures and an electric ecosystem. With a battery capable of balancing the electricity grid, the EV thus has a major part to play in the energy domain; potentially, it can recharge where it is parked, and so has a major role in the new forms of mobility, particularly car-sharing etc. It’s already on the road, and will soon be at the heart of many promising technological and social advances.

Hybrid and electric,
a world of opportunities

Due to their potential for innovation, hybrid and electric cars are at the heart of the Groupe Renault strategy, and not just in vehicles for the general public. Formula 1 for example, is a fantastic area for experimentation - a laboratory for our production vehicles. Since 2014, the hybrid engine has become the standard which bridges the void between two worlds. 

Formula 1 is a great way to explore the future of automotive industry.

For example, as races take place on a known circuit, our race-team engineers can plan power expenditure and recovery phases to match the terrain. On our future hybrid models, the same type of energy efficiency can be applied using GPS. And that’s just one example.

As part of our efforts to improve the electric ecosystem, we have also developed a large number of outside partnerships, most recently with the French section of the WWF in the "Reinventing the City" initiative.

Shared mobility goes electric

As we explained in our first issue about mobility sharing, Groupe Renault is developing a number of mobility services in order to meet social changes. With Zity in Madrid, Moov’In by Renault in Paris and the Marcel ride-hailing service, city shared mobility is going electric for everyone.

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