Renault Scenic: Battery included

 Renault Scenic Hybrid Assist

RENAULT has added a so-called 'mild hybrid' to the Scenic and Grand Scenic ranges.

The 'Hybrid Assist' pairs the company's dCi 110 diesel engine with a 10kW electric motor powered by a 48-volt 150Wh battery.

Unlike a regular hybrid, the electric element of a mild hybrid drivetrain is not designed to propel the car on its own.

Rather, the system makes the car's stop-start function work more efficiently, it gives a brief burst of extra oomph under acceleration and it is able to harvest energy from the car - for example, during braking - which it can use later.

The battery sits in the spare wheel well. An indicator on the dashboard lets the driver know when the engine is deploying or recovering power.

The net effect of this technology is lower emissions, improved fuel consumption and snappier throttle response without the weight or cost penalty associated with a full battery-and-motor hybrid set-up.

In the Scenic's case, the mild hybrid technology helps it achieve CO2 emissions of 94g/km and fuel consumption of up to 80.7mpg.

As manufacturers pursue ever-better efficiency, expect to see more and more of these mild hybrid systems.

Suzuki already has one in the IgnisBaleno and Swift, and Volvo has signalled that all its petrol and diesel models will have at least a mild hybrid system in the future.

Prices of the Hybrid Assist Scenic models, which are on sale now, start at £25,055, which is £1,000 more than the equivalent regular diesel-only version.

Because of the low CO2 emissions and its classification as an 'alternatively fuelled' vehicle, car tax in the first year is £110 and £130 annually thereafter.

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