Honda Car Tax Calculator
CO2 Calculator
Car Comparator
Van Tax Calculator
EV Car Comparator

Renault predicts mainstream UK role for new hybrids

Renault sees potential for its forthcoming hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology as a way to differentiate its products and support growth in retail and ‘true fleet’ sales, according to managing director for UK and Ireland, Vincent Tourette.

The E-Tech hybrid system will be equipped with a mains charger and larger-capacity battery in the Mégane – and Captur – following its Clio debut

Developed in-house, the E-Tech hybrid system will debut with the Clio next year, before being equipped with a mains charger and larger-capacity battery, for use in the Mégane and Captur. The system essentially uses an electric motor to replace first and second gear, so all high-load, off-the-mark driving is done on battery power, and the motor then has a second, high-speed gear to assist the 1.6-litre petrol engine on the motorway.

Tourette said it was too early to indicate pricing, adding that the Clio hybrid will be marketed and positioned based on its whole-life cost proposition rather than an outright price. Renault sees it as an important newcomer, he said with a sales share that “will not be marginal” – the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, which will be its closest competitor, outsells petrol versions in the UK.

Electrification is part of ongoing plans to bolster the fifth-generation Clio’s sales, building on two years of improving volumes for the outgoing car and launching alongside the new longer-range Zoe electric vehicle. However, it will be additional rather than supplementary; Renault will offer the 1.5-litre, 85hp diesel engine from launch, now equipped with a six-speed gearbox to improve motorway economy for the long-distance drivers most likely to opt for it.

Diesel currently accounts for 7% of total UK Clio sales, almost all of which are to business users, and Tourette expects recent decline in demand for the fuel will plateau. “Particularly in fleet [diesel is] well adapted to the usage of many customers, so that’s why we keep the engine in the range. Around 10% [of overall Clio sales] would be a trend, without forcing anything or going against the trend towards petrol and electrification,” he said.

Plug-ins are also seen as an opportunity. Renault has secured plentiful stock of the outgoing and new Zoe, and plug-in hybrid versions of the Captur (which outsells the Clio in the UK) and the Mégane will launch next year. For the latter, where it could be introduced as part of a mid-cycle update, Tourette says electrification is an opportunity to stand out in a crowded segment.

“I see a future for [the Mégane] with a more targeted approach,” he said. “We need to differentiate more than we do today, as we don’t have the history or awareness to take a big share of that segment, but we have more ambition for Mégane in the future. [The plug-in hybrid] could be an interesting proposal and it would bring the differentiation that we don’t have today.”

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked. *