FOCUS ON: Renault
EV pioneer is now branching out and offering a range of green powertrains
Renault was at the forefront of electric vehicles at the beginning of the last decade, with the Fluence, Kangoo ZE Van, Twizy and then Zoe all coming onto the market in the early days of the technology.
However, aside from a couple of updates to the Zoe, that was it for quite some time.
But a flurry of activity is now taking place, with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains finally joining full electric in the Renault line-up.
The Zoe supermini received an update at the beginning of 2020, with the key thing being a new 52kWh battery that gives the car an official 245-mile range (see Star Car, right). Electric-wise, the brand also has the Kangoo and Master ZE light commercials, with a new Kangoo coming in 2021, as well as the Twizy quadricycle, and a new van version of the Zoe.
✪ STAR CAR ✪
WHAT IS IT?
Renault’s electric supermini, the Zoe is one of the longest-established electric cars on the market, and was revised 12 months ago to offer longer range, more tech and a subtly tweaked styling.
HOW QUICK IS IT?
The revision added a new 100kW (135hp) motor alongside the existing 80kW (110hp) one, although the little hatchback is
still not a performance car, with a best 0-62mph time of 9.5 seconds.
WHATS THE RANGE?
It has an official range figure of between 238-245 miles, depending on the spec level and electric motor.
IS IT TAX EFFICIENT?
There will be zero company car BiK, employer National Insurance or VED this year. BiK goes to 1% next year and 2% for the three after that.
ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW?
Renault has now dropped the battery lease option that caused a degree of industry confusion, and the most recent update added a ‘B’ function for greater brake-energy regeneration and one-pedal driving.
Having taken quite some time to develop plug-in hybrid technology, Renault has done that bus-like thing and two E-Tech PHEVs have come along at once – and two will become three early next year.
The French brand has recently brought the Captur PHEV to market, followed in swift fashion by the Megane Sport Tourer plug-in hybrid, and a Megane hatch PHEV will be the third part of the triumvirate. The Captur (pictured, above) is expected to be the most popular of the three, given the small crossover is Renault’s biggest selling model. The PHEV comes with figures of 34-36g/km of CO2 and an electric-only official range of 30 miles, scraping it into the 10% BiK band. The figures are the same for the Megane Sport Tourer, which uses the same 9.8kWh battery mated to a 1.6-litre petrol.
The Captur comes in S Edition and Launch Edition trims, costing from £30,995, while the Megane estate is offered in Iconic and RS Line specifications, also costing from £30,995.
As well as fully electric and plug-in hybrid, Renault has also completed powertrain bingo with the Clio E-Tech Hybrid.
The E-Tech Hybrid is a 140hp combination of 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors powered by a 1.2kWh battery that’s capable of keeping the Clio going for up to a claimed two-and-a-half miles at up to 28mph. The car’s CO2 figure is as low as 98g/km,
The sub-100g/km emissions compares with a best of 109g/km for the 85hp diesel and 119g/km for the 100hp petrol, both of which are significantly down on power against the hybrid. That said, they are £1500 and £3400 cheaper respectively than the ‘self-charging’ hybrid model.
Renault recently revealed a concept car that it says is 95% of the way to the electric Megane it will launch in 2022.
The company is quoting a range figure of 260 miles from the 60kWh battery, and the 217hp electric motor will make the Megane EV one of the brand’s most powerful models.
Renault has also confirmed that the Megane, Captur and forthcoming Coupe-SUV Arkana models will all get the hybrid powertrain already seen in the Clio.
The company has also revealed the Dacia Spring Electric, which will have a range of 140 miles. However, there are no plans to bring the hatchback to the UK.