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Renault confirms green new Scenic

Scenic Vision concept has local Renault importer Ateco keen to bring reborn MPV here

24 May 2022

RENAULT is not ready to consign its compact people mover to history. In fact, the French marque has unveiled a hydrogen fuel-cell EV (FCEV) concept of the new Scenic model that will debut in 2024.


Not only is 95 per cent of the Scenic Vision – including its battery – recyclable, but Renault says production of the show car has a 75 per cent smaller carbon footprint than the Megane E-Tech all-electric compact hatch, which the French firm’s Australian importer is already teasing on its website.


“The Megane E-Tech will be here in 2023 – we’re working through when (during next year) now,” Ateco Group PR manager Oliver Peagam told GoAuto.


“(As for) the Scenic, it’s well known here in Australia, and its reinvention would be perfect for our market.”


The Renault Group, which aims to become carbon neutral in Europe by 2040 and worldwide by 2050, recently unveiled the Vision Scenic concept at the ChangeNOW summit in Paris.


It is claimed to reflect the French brand's plan to decarbonise its models’ lifecycles and “open a new chapter in the development of our vehicles, thought from design to end of life, in an ecosystemic way," said Renault Group vice-president of sustainability, Cléa Martinet.


Apart from incorporating cues from Renault’s new design language, the concept offers a glimpse of what the upcoming Scenic may look like when it debuts as a “100 per cent electric model” in two years’ time (although that model is unlikely to roll on 21-inch alloys). 


Riding on a 2835mm wheelbase, the Scenic Vision is 4490mm long, 1900mm wide and 1590mm tall. It tips the scales at 1700kg and is propelled by a 160kW synchronous electric motor paired to a 40kWh high-voltage battery allied with a 16kW hydrogen fuel cell.


The fuel-cell element of the Renault’s power unit is utilised as a "range extender", which enables the concept to employ a battery that is twice as light as that of a conventional EV (such as the Megane E-Tech), but offer a comparable range to its sibling.


Its battery is up to 60 per cent less carbon intensive, “thanks to the use of short loops and low-carbon sourcing of minerals and the use of low-carbon energy to assemble and produce it”, the firm says. 


Meanwhile, 70 per cent of the materials used in the Scenic Vision are recycled, including the floor (agglomerated plastic scraps), fittings (recycled carbon from the aeronautical industry), fuel-cell tank (carbon-fibre from recycled paper waste) and trim (100 per cent recycled polyester).


Even the pigments in the concept’s exterior finish were apparently derived from the processing of carbon particles captured in the atmosphere.


All in all, more than 95 per cent of the car is recyclable, including the battery, Renault says. 


For the interior, the Scenic Vision uses a front-mounted camera system to enlarge the driver's field of vision by 24 per cent by displaying its feed on a dashboard-mounted monitor, which Renault claims “enlarges the windshield 180 degrees and makes the bonnet appear transparent”.


Further, a risk assessment interface gives “personalised advice to continuously improve driving habits” and provides personalised health advice to the driver via the analysis of data collected by cameras and connected vital signs sensors inside the cabin. 


A facial-recognition system allows the driver’s door to be opened – and in-car settings adjusted – according to the pilot's profile, while each seat is equipped with microphones and loudspeakers to provide personalised ambiences (audio and voice-assisted driving). 


Whereas BMW has enlisted Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer to help with the creation of “soundscapes” for its battery-electric cars and their drive modes, Renault – not to be outdone – has recruited French electronic music composer Jean-Michel Jarre.


From early in the Scenic Vision’s development program, Mr Jarre worked on the concept’s acoustics and signal processing. He helped the design team shape the sound signature of the concept, following the idea of “caring for the resources” with a “less is more” approach with only one loudspeaker on each door and a sound-bubble system on every headrest. 


As the new Scenic will only be unveiled in production guise in 2024, it is perhaps too early to speculate on when it might arrive Down Under.


Of more immediate interest is the potential  introduction of the Nissan Qashqai-based Austral small SUV, which is under consideration to replace the discontinued Kadjar and potentially – in seven-seat guise – the ageing Koleos.


“With regard to the (production version of the) Scenic Vision and the Austral – we (Renault Australia) will of course have our hands up for both vehicles, although the business cases for both need to be made first,” Mr Peagam added.

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