Details of the Renault Scénic Vision concept car were presented to the public on May 19, 2022. The firm’s idea of developing a car that uses hydrogen technology is not unique.
Benjamin Giret Bloomberg | Getty Images
Renault has released details of the electric-hydrogen hybrid concept car, with the French automaker describing hydrogen technology as “one option to make electric cars more comfortable”.
The design for the Renault Scenic Vision includes a hydrogen engine, an electric motor, a battery, a fuel cell and a hydrogen tank. The 2.5-pound tank is located in the front of the car, and, according to Renault, it will take about five minutes to fill it.
According to a document released on Thursday outlining the concept, the 40-kilowatt-hour Scenic Vision battery is recyclable and will be manufactured at a plant in France by 2024.
In a statement, Gilles Vidal, Renault’s director of design, said the concept “provides for the exterior design of the new 100% electric Scénic model by 2024.” The company said the electric-hydrogen transmission is “part of a long-term vision after 2030.”
The broad idea is that the Scenic Vision hydrogen fuel cell will help increase the car’s power reserve during long journeys. “In 2030 and beyond, when the network of hydrogen stations becomes wide enough, you will be able to travel up to 800 km. [a little over 497 miles] … without stopping to charge the battery, ”Renault said.
Described by the International Energy Agency as a “universal energy source”, hydrogen has a wide range of applications and can be deployed in a wide range of industries.
It can be produced in different ways. One method involves the use of electrolysis, in which an electric current splits water into oxygen and hydrogen.
If the electricity used in this process comes from renewable sources such as wind or sun, then some call it green or renewable hydrogen.
It is assumed that the Renault hybrid will use green hydrogen, although the vast majority of hydrogen production is now based on fossil fuels.
Renault’s hydrogen-hydrogen concept illustrates how car companies are looking for ways to develop low- and zero-emission offerings that can compete with a range of petrol and diesel cars.
“Today, several systems are being studied in addition to electric motors to meet the requirements of long-distance driving,” said Renault. “Hydrogen technology is one way to make electric cars more convenient.”
In the field of hydrogen mobility, the Renault Group has already set up a joint venture with Plug Power called Hyvia. Among other things, it focuses on hydrogen fuel cells in light commercial vehicles and the deployment of hydrogen charging facilities.
Renault’s idea of developing a car that uses hydrogen technology is not unique.
Toyota, for example, began working on fuel cell vehicles, where hydrogen from a tank mixes with oxygen to produce electricity, back in 1992. In 2014, the Japanese business launched the Mirai, a sedan on hydrogen fuel cells.
Other major companies, such as Hyundai and BMW, are also considering hydrogen, as well as smaller concerns such as Britain’s Riversimple.
While the above companies are considering the potential of hydrogen, some high-profile figures in the automotive sector are less confident. In February 2021, Herbert Diss, CEO of the German group Volkswagen, spoke on this topic. “It’s time for politicians to accept science,” he tweeted.
“Green hydrogen is needed for steel production, the chemical industry, aviation … and should not end up in cars. Too expensive, inefficient, slow and difficult to deploy and transport. After all: no #hydrogen cars in sight.”
Despite the presentation on Thursday of the Scenic Vision concept, even Renault CEO Luca de Meo seems to be wary when it comes to the prospects for hydrogen, according to comments published by Autocar.
Elsewhere, in February 2020, the Brussels-based campaign group Transport and Environment found out what kind of competition hydrogen would face in the transport sector.
T&E noted that green hydrogen will not only have to “compete with gray and blue hydrogen” produced using fossil fuels. “It will compete with gasoline, diesel fuel, marine fuel oil, gas and, of course, electricity,” T&E said.
“Wherever batteries are a practical solution – cars, vans, urban, regional and possibly long-haul trucks, ferries – hydrogen will face a tough fight due to its low efficiency and, as a result, much higher fuel costs.” .