Renault has gone its personal manner in creating its proprietary E-Tech hybrid system for its best-selling Clio, Captur and Megane fashions, which is able to go on sale this summer time after years of growth.
In contrast with these of rivals, the E-Tech system is comparatively advanced, with two electrical motors, probably 15 totally different drive modes, and each plug-in and standard hybrid choices, every with its personal battery.
Renault says the clutchless, so-called “dogbox”-style transmission alone has greater than 150 patents. Even Renault’s alliance companion, Nissan, isn’t utilizing E-Tech in comparable fashions such because the Juke small SUV.
Different hybrid techniques available on the market, equivalent to these from Toyota and Lexus, have a single electrical motor and a extra conventionally designed transmission with a clutch. Even so, Renault says that E-Tech is one among least costly and compact hybrid techniques available on the market, particularly for plug-in hybrids.
“It will democratize the know-how,” Gregoire Ginet, Renault’s powertrain advertising supervisor, stated in regards to the Captur and Megane plug-in hybrids. The Clio hybrid is not going to be a plug-in hybrid.
Renault has been in a position to maintain down prices by protecting growth and manufacturing in-house, and through the use of a decades-old naturally aspirated gasoline engine, analysts say.
“Renault owns the answer, to allow them to deploy it in giant scale, within the most quantity of models they’ll produce and promote,” stated IHS Markit powertrain analyst Romain Gillet. “That is actually a key factor.”
“Whenever you want a brand new know-how, there may be all the time the query: make or purchase?” he stated. “Right here, Renault has determined to make it itself.”
The hybrid Captur and Clio have moved forward of their important rivals of their segments by way of electrification. The Captur plug-in hybrid will face solely the comparatively low-volume Kia Niro and forthcoming Jeep Renegade amongst small SUVs.
Not one of the Clio’s important rivals within the small automotive section, the Peugeot 208, Dacia Sandero, Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, supply high-voltage hybrid fashions, though the Toyota Yaris, which ranks eighth in section gross sales, and Honda Jazz do.
Finally, Gillet stated, Renault will construct a full-hybrid vary across the system, with totally different grades of transmission and totally different engines. It’s prone to seem in future Dacia fashions, which shall be a drag on Renault’s group CO2 figures due to the funds model’s low-tech gasoline engines.
“Everyone knows that electrification shall be required for this yr and 2021, but additionally for 2025 and past to meet the following CO2 regulation,” so a full vary of electrified autos shall be required, Gillet stated. “To personal such an answer and be capable to deploy it at giant scale shall be actually attention-grabbing for Renault, to scale up the preliminary funding and to be compliant” with emissions rules that shall be 37.5 % harder by 2030 in contrast with this yr.
E-Tech relies round a gasoline engine, a big electrical motor and a small electrical starter/generator, a clutchless multi-mode transmission and a storage battery on the rear of the platform. Renault says the parts may be mixed in many alternative methods to optimize gasoline effectivity, particularly in city driving.
With no clutch, the automobiles are began in full-electric mode. The digital management unit chooses the perfect gear ratio, and the 2 electrical motors assist the gears to alter easily. Reverse can also be in electrical mode.
Renault has been in a position to offset the transmission growth prices till it ramps up manufacturing through the use of an older engine – a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder unit initially developed by Nissan a number of many years in the past — with nearly no costly “technological bricks” equivalent to a turbocharger or direct injection.
The engine doesn’t seem anyplace else in Renault’s Europe vary, Gillet stated.
“The transmission has a excessive value, as a result of its extra difficult than only a guide transmission that’s produced in thousands and thousands of models a yr,” he stated. To offset the additional prices, pushed by the transmission it was necessary to have the most cost effective engine within the powertrain.”
The Captur may benefit most from the system, Gillet stated. It’s going to largely be competing with new full-electric choices from PSA Group, the Peugeot 2008 and coming Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, however provides no disadvantage by way of vary or recharging, and can undercut them on value.
The e-2008 begins at 37,100 euros in France, whereas the Captur plug-in hybrid begins at 33,700 euros. The best-trim e-2008 is 43,000 euros, whereas the top-spec Captur plug-in hybrid is 37,200 euros.
“It’s actually arduous to make the value equation for a plug-in hybrid within the B (small) section,” Gillet stated. “To achieve a B-segment automotive value, Renault has to do some methods, and this one is the engine.”
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