Details of Renault’s Scenic Vision concept car were unveiled to the public on May 19, 2022. The firm’s idea of building a passenger vehicle using hydrogen technology is not unique.
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Renault has published a description of an electric-hydrogen hybrid concept vehicle, describing the French automaker’s hydrogen technology as “one of the options to make electric vehicles more convenient.”
Renault’s Scenic Vision design includes a hydrogen engine, electric motor, battery, fuel cell and a hydrogen tank. The 2.5-kilogram tank is located in the front of the vehicle, and Renault said it would take about five minutes to fill it.
The concept is outlined, according to a document released Thursday, that the 40-kilowatt-hour battery of Scenic Vision is recyclable and will be produced at a facility in France by 2024.
In a statement, Giles Vidal, Renault’s director of design, said the concept “predetermines the exterior design of the new Cinic 100% electric model for 2024.” The company says the electric-hydrogen powertrain is “part of a long-term vision after 2030.”
The broad idea is that the hydrogen fuel cell in Scenic Vision will help increase the range of vehicles during long journeys. “By 2030 and beyond, once the network of hydrogen stations is large enough, you will be able to drive up to 800 kilometers. [a little over 497 miles] That doesn’t stop the battery from charging, “said Renault.
Described by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier”, hydrogen has a wide variety of applications and can be deployed in a wide range of industries.
It can be produced in many different ways. One method involves the use of electrolysis, the splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen by electric current.
If the electricity used in this process comes from renewable sources such as wind or solar, some people call it green or renewable hydrogen.
It has been speculated that Renault’s hybrid will use green hydrogen, although the lion’s share of hydrogen production is currently based on fossil fuels.
Renault’s electric-hydrogen concept explains how car companies are looking for ways to develop low and zero emission offers that can compete with the range of petrol and diesel vehicles.
“Several systems are being explored today to complement electric motors to meet the requirements associated with long-distance driving,” Renault said. “Hydrogen technology is one of the options to make electric cars more convenient.”
In the case of hydrogen mobility, the Renault Group has already set up a joint venture with a plug power called Hivea. Among other things, it focuses on the rollout of hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen charging facilities in light commercial vehicles.
Renault’s idea of building a passenger vehicle that uses hydrogen technology is not unique.
Toyota, for example, began work on the development of fuel-cell vehicles – where hydrogen combines with oxygen to produce electricity from a tank – in 1992.
Other large companies such as Hyundai and BMW Hydrogen, as well as the UK-based Riversimple, are looking at smaller concerns.
While the above companies are looking at the possibility of hydrogen, some high-profile figures from the automotive sector are not so sure. In February 2021, Herbert Dice, CEO of the Volkswagen Group in Germany, focused on the issue. “It’s time for politicians to embrace science,” he tweeted.
“Green hydrogen is needed for steel, chemicals, aircraft … and should not end up in cars. Many are expensive, inefficient, slow and difficult to transport. Above all: no #hydrogen car catches the eye.”
Despite the unveiling of the Scenic Vision concept on Thursday, even Renault CEO Luca de Mio will be wary of talking about the possibility of hydrogen, according to comments released by Autocar.
Elsewhere, in February 2020, the Brussels-based campaign group Home Hammer highlighted how much competition Hydrogen would face in the transport and environment transport sector.
T&E has made the point that green hydrogen does not just have to “compete with gray and blue hydrogen,” which is produced using fossil fuels. “It will compete with petrol, diesel, marine fuel oil, kerosene and of course electricity,” said T&E.
“Wherever batteries are a practical solution – cars; vans; urban, regional and possibly long-distance trucks; ferries – hydrogen will face an uphill battle due to low efficiency and, consequently, much higher fuel consumption.”