Renault’s eco-warrior trio

Having recently celebrated its status of becoming the number one electric brand in Ireland for the month of October, Renault is reinforcing its commitment to an electric future with superb new models writes TONY CONLON

French carmaker Renault is burnishing its green credentials with the introduction of three new hybrid versions of some of its most popular models.

Having recently celebrated its status of becoming the number one electric brand in Ireland for the month of October, Renault is reinforcing its commitment to an electric future with its new E-Tech powertrains for three of its most successful cars: the Clio, Captur and Megane ST.

Furthermore, Paddy Magee, country operations director for Renault Group Ireland, announced that the company will provide up to €2 million in green grants to help customers move to cleaner, lower emission cars in 2021.

On top of the new grants, the group has made available €60 million in finance through its own bank to customers looking to move to hybrid or fully electric vehicles in Renault’s range.

Of course, Renault also boasts pure electric models such as the Zoe in car and commercial formats, electric Kangoo and Master models, but the introduction of the new hybrid Captur, Clio and Megane ST certainly enhances the appeal of these cars further.

The new Captur plug-in hybrid (PHEV), like the other versions, is powered by a new 1.6 litre petrol engine, alongside a 9.8kWh battery driving two electric motors.

With a total power output of 160hp, the Captur has an all-electric driving range of up to 50km, Renault claims. The carmaker also asserts that by making full use of the battery and electric motor, this SUV is capable of consuming as little as 1.5 l/100km (187mpg) of petrol while emitting just 33g/km of CO2.

Top speed in pure electric mode is 135km/h, with acceleration from 0-100km/h in 10.1 seconds.

Renault’s Multi-Sense driving modes provide the ability to adapt the driving experience to personal preferences or depending on the road or journey conditions. Pure, which is a new mode specific to the plug-in model, allows for zero-emissions all-electric driving when the battery is sufficiently charged.

Sport makes full use of both the petrol engine and the electric system for faster responses, again when there is sufficient charge. There’s also an E-Save function that limits use of the battery and saves energy for it to be utilised later by prioritising use of the petrol engine.

The driver can then switch to battery power when more appropriate, such as in town where full electric driving is preferable and zero-emissions running achievable.

With a similar engine as the Captur, the new Clio Hybrid has two electric motors and a 1.2kWh lithium-ion battery. Driven like the Captur and Megane by a F1-inspired multi-mode clutchless

automatic transmission, the Clio hybrid is the most powerful in the line-up with 140hp and 144Nm of torque on tap.

Claimed to be capable of returning 4.4 l/100km (63mpg) and producing 98g/km CO2, the Clio can travel up to 60km in all-electric mode. While the electric motor can generate 205 Nm of torque, the car’s HSG (high-voltage starter generator) delivers an additional 50Nm. This all adds up to good acceleration.

The Megane range has received a facelift and a new plug-in hybrid powertrain - again utilising F1-inspired technology. Fitted with the latest four-cylinder 1.6 litre petrol engine, two electric motors, a 9.3kWh battery and a multi-mode clutchless gearbox, the Megane delivers 160hp, 30g/km of CO2 and a claimed fuel economy of 1.3 l/100km (216mpg).

It can drive in pure electric mode for 50km and cover 0-100km in 9.8 seconds.

Updates on the Megane include the introduction of full LED headlights, new bumpers front and rear and distinctive C-signature daytime running lights that incorporate the directional indicators.

The car’s interior has received a suite of new features including a new 10-inch TFT driver information display, enhanced premium materials and safety systems plus a sporty RS line specification.

Prices for the Clio Hybrid commence at €24,995 while prices for the Captur and Megane start at €29,695 and €29,990, respectively.

It’s worth noting that the Captur and Megane plug-in pricing is pending SEAI grant confirmation. Warranty for Renault cars is five years. This features an unlimited mileage limit in the first two years and up to 200,000km during the remaining three.

E-Tech models are covered by an additional eight-year and 160,000km traction warranty for extra peace of mind.

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