New Renault Scenic Vision concept is a hydrogen range extender

Published: 19 May 2022

  • Renault’s ‘hydrogen hybrid’ concept car
  • Previews next-generation Scenic for 2024
  • Powertrain could make production in 2030

Renault’s new Scenic Vision is a concept with a difference. Yes, it’s here to show off how recyclable and future looking it is with its wacky interior, new-age looks and space age materials – all well and good.

But the new concept car has an interesting theoretical powertrain under the skin. The brand says the new Scenic Vision is a ‘one-of-a-kind’ hybrid car that acts as both an EV and a hydrogen fuel cell car. It, of course, also previews a new model from Renault that’s due in 2024 – the concept’s name surely gives away what car this concept will inevitably turn into.

Wait, what? A hydrogen hybrid?!

According to Renault, yes. A single electric motor drives the rear wheels, making 215bhp – so far, so normal – powered by a 40kWh battery pack that’s under the passenger cell floor. Renault says the e-motor is derived from the one used on the Megane E-Tech Electric, and the new battery pack (which claims to be smaller, lighter and cheaper to make than current batteries of a similar size) will be built at the Renault Group’s new ‘ElectriCity’ battery Gigafactory in 2024.

But here’s where it gets interesting. There’s also a hydrogen tank and a 15kW fuel cell purely designed to keep the battery charged – effectively making it a hydrogen range extender, not a hybrid. Renault says (in a very ideal world, towards the end of this decade) that having a hydrogen fuel cell on board can massively extend the range of this Scenic Vision and make it much quicker to recharge/refuel on long journeys – given hydrogen fuelling takes about as long as conventional petrol/diesel fuelling. Renault claims up to 500 miles of range from the new concept after using a full charge of the battery and a full tank of hydrogen.

Renault says the car can be driven without using the fuel cell at all, with the car’s route planner determining when the hydrogen fuel cell will kick in to keep the battery topped up. The fuel cell will also help keep the battery at an optimal temperature in cold weather.

It certainly looks sharp…

We’re thinking Cyberpunk chic. The bodywork is all blacked out, for a start; ‘we use black pigment coming from extracting CO2 from the atmosphere,’ said Renault design director, Gilles Vidal, ‘it creates a dark grey powder that we use here with no other pigments whatsoever.’

There are elements of Renault’s earlier Morphoz concept here, including its horizontal headlights and triangular DRL signature. The silhouette is very similar to that of the Megane E-Tech Electric, completed by some wild wheel designs. The design is ‘anticipating what the next Scenic will be – a legendary product for Renault,’ Renault Group CEO, Luca de Meo, said at the ChangeNow conference revealing the new concept, ‘this will be the design of the car that will come out in 2024.’

Inside is where it gets really wild, though. A yoke-like steering wheel, wraparound screen inset into the very edge of the dashboard and small square screens giving the driver quick-access information like range and navigation. In classic concept car style, the rear doors are rear-hinged, showing a cabin with four big seats with headrest speakers inside. ‘The interior will maybe be something around 2028,’ adds de Meo.

How recyclable are we talking?

Renault says more than 70 per cent of the materials used to make the concept are recycled, and 95 per cent of it is recyclable – ‘this is actually double the current amount in cars currently in production,’ says de Meo.

The structure, for example, is 95 per cent recycled steel and all of the aluminium trimmings are 100 per cent recycled. Around 70 per cent of the interior’s plastics are recycled, and all of the textiles are recycled. Renault says that the floor is made out of milk bottles and plastic piping.

So, will this actually be real?

Elements will, but only over time. As de Meo said, the design will turn into a new-generation Scenic in 2024. The arguably quite pie-in-the-sky powertrain, Renault says, is something that could be viable ‘for the coming decade.’

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By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches