Renault Scénic Vision mixes hydrogen and electricity: the best of both worlds?

Scenic Vision should foreshadow Renault’s future in several ways. If its design has made a lot of ink flow, it is the approach to a new form of electric and hydrogen hybridization that intrigued us during its presentation.

Launching a vehicle during a weather conference is not trivial. However, it was at the ChangeNow summit that Renault unveiled its new concept car called Scenic Vision. For Renault, this concept car is perfect, as it represents its commitments to sustainable development and materializes the decarbonisation plan initiated by the group: “It opens a new chapter in the development of our vehicles. It is designed from conception to the end of life, in an ecosystemic way.e ”, says Cléa Martinet, Director of Sustainable Development of the Renault Group.

One aspect of the concept car still raises many questions: the choice of engine. H2-Tech technology combines electric motor and battery, with a fuel cell that works as a range extender. Is this finally the solution to certain obstacles to the transition to the all-electric?

About the H2-Tech technology presented

In its approach, Renault sees the best of both worlds. The manufacturer’s idea is to combine the electric motorization of the Megane e-Tech, a 160 kW synchronous electric motor with coiled rotor, associated with the small 40 kWh battery. The system is then completed with a 16 kW fuel cell associated with a hydrogen tank. The idea is to be able to offer to do a Paris-Marseille with only a 5-minute break to fill the hydrogen tank, but without having to recharge the electric battery.

Scenic Vision electric and hydrogen platform // Source: Renault

The system works according to the principle of the “range extender” (range extender), except that unlike models such as the BMW i3 or the Opel Ampera-e, gasoline is replaced by hydrogen. The solution is presented here in a model for individuals, but H2-Tech technology could very well find its application in light commercial vehicles.

The pros and cons of the two worlds?

Renault plans 2030 with this technology, imagining a much denser network of hydrogen stations by then. At the moment, hydrogen stations are still rare, although several investment plans should help the development of hydrogen in France. At the moment, it is the electric charging network that dominates the establishment of hydrogen stations. It must be said that the issue of hydrogen, like 100% electricity in countries where electricity production is very carbon-intensive, has given rise to much controversy over its ecological merits.

In principle, the range extender allows to eliminate certain obstacles linked to the range of 100% electric vehicles. Either gasoline, or in the future hydrogen, can be interesting. But this solution is of no interest if batteries and recharging become efficient enough to eliminate breakdown anxiety or prolonged charging times. By 2030, will it still need to be relevant? One can doubt this in view of the progress made in a few years.

Renault Scenic Vision Engine // Source: Renault

Finally, a fuel-powered hydrogen-powered vehicle is already in itself a hybrid engine. While waiting to learn more about the operation of this engine, you can get the impression that Renault is creating a … hybrid of hybrids. It certainly isn’t, but it makes you smile. On the other hand, one may wonder if this solution can be technically feasible, at what cost of acquiring a vehicle and at what cost of use.

The other innovative aspects of the Scénic Vision concept car

Beyond the engine, the Scénic Vision concept car is also several other indicators of Renault’s change in philosophy.

Renault has accustomed us to a certain form of classicism in terms of design in recent years. The arrival of Gilles Vidal in design at Renault seems to change the game with much bolder concepts. Everyone will love or hate the proposal according to their tastes, but it is not bad that the brand is renewed by daring more. This is successful with other generalist brands, such as Peugeot, Hyundai or Kia. What we need to remember is that this concept foreshadows the upcoming electric Renault Scénic, which will be launched in 2024.

Renault Scénic Vision concept car // Source: Renault

What the brand has also wanted to draw attention to is the focus on ecodesign and the circular economy of materials. This is a key trend that is consolidating with many manufacturers. Many of them have understood the problems that are currently playing out in the automotive industry in the face of climate change. Therefore, the proportion of recycled materials in vehicles is gradually increasing. Renault goes further in this concept by stating: ” 70% of the materials used in the vehicle are recycled and more than 95% of the vehicle is recyclable, including the battery. »

Inside the Scénic Vision concept // Source: Renault

Unlike the exterior design, this interior will not be in the short term (2024), but carries the medium-term vision of the company, as with the new H2-Tech engine. Renault does not forget to offer technological innovations for increasing safety on board. We will keep the camera system in the front of the vehicle, the signal of which is instantly transmitted on a large screen occupying the entire width of the vehicle, allowing you to see what is happening in front of the vehicle, as if the cap were transparent.

The “Renaulution” plan, initiated by the manufacturer to deal with changes in depth, is being implemented progressively. This Scénic Vision concept car is an encouraging sign of the French manufacturer’s response to future challenges such as ecology, safety and technology for cleaner mobility.

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