This exciting new Renault concept car - the ‘Scenic Vision’ - is all about reducing your carbon footprint while increasing long journey capabilities.
Rather than using electricity alone, the Scenic Vision is an electric-hydrogen hybrid, using a hydrogen fuel tank to complement battery power.
And while the French firm admits the tech is still ‘exploratory’, the Scenic Vision appears to reveal how Renault is hedging its bets for the future.
The way Renault sees it, fully-electric cars are great, but require drivers to stop and recharge the battery on longer journeys.
The way this electric-hydrogen hybrid works, however, is that the small hydrogen engine puts energy back in the battery - rather than driving the wheels - which means you only need to stop to re-fuel the 2.5 kg hydrogen tank once every three hours.
And, says Renault, refilling a hydrogen tank is much quicker than recharging an electric battery. In fact, topping up your hydrogen level is pretty much the same as fuelling-up a diesel or petrol car.
A Renault spokesperson argues:
“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 hydrogen tank able to be refilled in five minutes or less.”
That ‘800km’ figure is equivalent to a range of almost 500 miles. And it sounds appealing.
Of course, Renault isn’t the only manufacturer to experiment with hydrogen power. The quirky Toyota Mirai also uses a hydrogen fuel cell, and has claimed fuel economy of up to 357 mpg. And remember that when oxygen and hydrogen mix in a hydrogen fuel cell, the only thing that you produce is water. Like a regular, full EV, there are no CO2 emissions.
So what else do we know about the Scenic Vision?
Renault says it’ll have power of 218 PS, supplied by a 40 kWh battery that’s currently in use in the Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric. It’s a battery that uses no ‘rare-earth elements’, which helps to reduce its carbon footprint and create a ‘responsible and sustainable ecosystem’.
In fact, the entire Scenic Vision has been built with ambitious sustainability targets in mind - from low-carbon materials and responsible manufacturing processes in carbon-neutral plants, to the use of ‘green hydrogen’ and full recycling capabilities.
Which is why Renault claims the Scenic Vision could have a ‘75 per cent smaller carbon footprint than a conventional electric vehicle’.
While the exterior dimensions are similar in size to the Renault Kadjar, the Scenic Vision adopts a typically ‘French’ approach to the interior.
The rear doors are hinged at the back for better access, while the entire cockpit moves backwards and forwards, in sync with how the driver positions their seat.
There’s an extra-large screen located where the dashboard meets the windshield, as well as ten smaller ‘widget screens’, which the driver can configure how he or she likes.
The steering wheel is designed to replicate the shape of a game controller, something Renault hopes will appeal to a younger crowd, while there’s a huge emphasis placed on safety, too.
Alongside cocoon airbags that wrap around a passenger in the event of a prang, there’s also a full suite of driver assistance and safety systems.
One of those is the ‘Safety Coach’, which takes data from the surrounding environment and the sat-nav system and lets you know about impending risks on the road ahead.
A Renault spokesperson adds:
“An invitation to travel. This was the first Scenic concept car’s promise more than 30 years ago in 1991. Renault invented the compact minivan with a friendly family car that treated everyone to a one-of-a-kind travel experience – for life and living. With the new Renault Scenic Vision concept car, this car for life and for living is back, encapsulating a new vision for the family car.”
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