I guess this is primarily a story for our European readers, but with the numbers Renault is throwing around, it’ll likely interest everyone.
The French automaker is reportedly going to unveil a 141 MPG concept car at the Geneva Motor Show that isn’t a 100% electric car. It’s a plug-in hybrid that is reportedly similar in size to a Clio.
Renault head of research, advanced studies and materials Remi Bastien is the one who gave out the 141 MPG figure, so it’s worth paying attention to. Bastien added that, “an eventual production version of the car would be affordable. It will be a B-segment car with Clio-type features in terms of space and comfort.”
With the Renault Zoe and the Renault Fluence ZE, Renault is a clear leader in the EV realm so far. And that’s all according to plan. “The main thrust of our research and development budget is spent on improving emissions – with our electric vehicle strategy with the Zoe EV, we’re perfectly placed to develop hybrid systems.”
Carbon Fiber, Shmiber
Bastien also commented a bit on BMW’s use of carbon fiber in the BMW i3, and the related matter of reducing vehicle weight for greater efficiency.
“I think the main reason BMW uses lightweight carbon fibre on the BMW i3, for example, is because of performance, because of what the brand stands for – not necessarily for efficiency,” Bastien said.
“Reducing weight is important for petrol and diesel cars, but less so for EVs – aerodynamics is more important for efficiency in electric vehicles. Weight can be used to help regenerative braking in an EV to harvest more kinetic energy when slowing down.”
250-Mile EVs Around The Corner?
Bastien also commented on the great potential EV battery research still offers. “Bastien believes the industry is only at 50% in terms of exploration of battery technology,” according to Sean Carson of AutoExpress. Bastien projects that, “by 2020 the range of an EV like the Zoe will double to around 250 miles.”
The automotive world will look completely different by then if that’s the case.