Renault's Hydrogen Electric Hybrid Car
The French automaker Renault has recently released details of its new electric-hydrogen hybrid car, saying that hydrogen technology is “one of the options to make electric vehicles more convenient.” It will be called the Scenic Vision and will use a hydrogen engine and tank as well as an electric motor and battery pack. The company says it will only take five minutes to fill the tank with hydrogen.
Renault says the vehicle’s 40 kilowatt per hour battery pack is completely recyclable and will be made right at the company’s manufacturing plant in France. In a recent statement, Gilles Vidal, director of design at Renault, said the concept “prefigures the exterior design of the new Scénic 100% electric model for 2024.” The company says the electric-hydrogen powertrain was “part of a longer-term vision, beyond 2030.”
The idea behind using a hydrogen fuel cell is to extend the car’s range for long trips. “In 2030 and beyond, once the network of hydrogen stations is large enough, you will be able to drive up to 800 kilometers (close to 500 miles) without stopping to charge the battery,” Renault said.
Hydrogen can be produced in several ways. For the Scenic Vision, hydrogen is made using electrolysis, wherein an electric current splits water into oxygen and hydrogen. If the electricity used for the process comes from a renewable source, then even the hydrogen is “green.”
“Several systems to complement electric motors are being explored today to address the requirements associated with long-distance driving,” Renault tells us. “Hydrogen technology is one of the options to make electric vehicles more convenient.” To that end, Renault has established a joint venture with Plug Power which is focused on developing hydrogen fuel cells for light commercial vehicles as well as hydrogen charging facilities.
Using hydrogen fuel cells is nothing new, the Toyota Mirai was launched in 2014 as a hydrogen fuel cell sedan that is available in California. Other automakers such as BMW and Hyundai are also experimenting with hydrogen prototype vehicles.