Renault just teased the motoring press with this Scenic Vision concept car that uses hydrogen fuel cells, alongside battery tech. It’s an admission that pure EVs are not viable for mass everyday transport or longer commutes, which is a good thing. Toyota are well advanced with hydrogen/battery hybrids too.
Here’s the word;
The Scenic Vision embodies the brand’s sustainable development commitments and encapsulates them in a single vehicle. Its intelligent design and manufacture incorporate methods that the Renault Group and its brands will use to achieve carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and worldwide by 2050. Notably, this includes Renault aiming for an entirely electric range by 2030.
Plus 70 per cent of its materials are recycled and 95 per cent are recyclable – contributing directly to resource preservation. As a hybrid, utilising both electric and hydrogen power, it requires fewer and shorter stops. Its carbon footprint, including the battery, is much smaller, being 75 per cent lowe, says Renault.
ELECTRIC PLEASURE FACILITATED BY HYDROGEN
The Renault Scenic Vision concept car is powered by a one-of-a-kind hybrid – electric and hydrogen – propulsion system. It has a new-generation motor, a smaller battery and a fuel cell running on green hydrogen. It is ushering mobility into a completely new age, which the Group believes is viable for the coming decade. It’s an interesting move by Renault and for many drivers, reducing dependence on finding a charging point on longer journeys can only be a good thing.
Renault Scenic Vision’s 160 kW electrically excited synchronous motor derives directly from the All-New Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric’s motor and is made at the plant in Cléon.
It uses no rare-earth elements, which helps to reduce its carbon footprint and create a responsible and sustainable ecosystem. The 40 kWh battery is recyclable and will be made in France by 2024 at the Renault ElectriCity Gigafactory. It is lighter, smaller and costs less than a battery for a similar electric vehicle. It also has a 15 kW fuel cell to recharge it during long drives and thus extend its range.
In 2030 and beyond, once the network of hydrogen stations is large enough, it will be possible to drive up to 800 km, with the hyrdrogen tank able to be refilled in five minutes or less. This depends on both governments and fuel giants on embracing hydrogen refilling station infrastructure. Ironically, some early hydrogen stations opened in the early 2000s have recently been closed and demolished, thanks to the frenzied drive towards pure EVs.
A second life for the batteries?
Estimates suggest that the number of electric vehicles on Europe’s roads will increase tenfold between now and 2030, from 10 million to 100 million. Renault Group is the first carmaker to work on the full battery lifecycle. Once a battery is no longer fit to power a vehicle, its energy can be reused in stationary storage solutions in homes or offices, or elsewhere (in boats, refrigeration systems, machinery or airport logistics, for instance).
IE Note: This tech is in its infancy and cannot defeat physics, so at some stage even battery packs that are partially used to boost local electricity distribution will fail to hold a charge and need to be disposed of. We still need lithium to make EV batteries, and lithium is mined by children or adults in bonded servitude. These are facts that the EV lobby, or car makers, has been unable to address convincingly, but they really need to take action against the exploitation that underpins much of the battery pack supply chain.