Renault Scenic reimagined as a hydrogen‑powered SUV
Renault is bringing back the Scenic. With sharp new styling and a hydrogen range-extender drivetrain it promises to be just as pioneering as the original Scenic in 1996.
The reborn all-electric model, previewed by the Scenic Vision concept you see here, arrives in 2024, five years after its petrol-powered namesake was axed in the UK. First of a new breed of compact MPVs when it was launched 26 years ago, the famously family-friendly machine was left high and dry by the onslaught of compact SUVs.
There are no acronyms attached to the new machine, just the claim that it will stay compact and family-orientated and reprise the original Scenic’s promise of a car “for life and for living” for a vastly changed world.
Central to this vision are bold claims for its renewable and recyclable credentials as well as low CO2 emissions. Renault says that by using a small hydrogen fuel cell to make electricity to top up the batteries on long trips, the car will have a carbon footprint 75 per cent less than a conventional electric car.
Renault is also holding out the promise of a long range – up to 800km or 500 miles it says. An added advantage is that it’s far quicker to fill up a hydrogen tank than it is to plug a car in and charge up the batteries.
Renault says that on long trips you might have to stop for hydrogen every three hours. However, this does depend on a network of hydrogen stations being available, and Renault isn’t relying on that until 2030, the year when the firm says all its cars will be electric.
A whole new platform has been designed to accommodate all this new tech. The 218PS (160kW) electric motor is at the rear, the 20PS (15kW) fuel cell is under the floor behind the battery, and the 2.5kg hydrogen tank is at the front. Having a fuel cell on board to extend the range allows for a much smaller 40kWh battery than the electric car norm. Smaller batteries mean less weight and lower cost.
According to the French company, the design “provides a preview” of an all-electric model that will be unveiled in 2024. Amid all the origami-sharp edges and heavily sculpted surfaces are some recognisable Renault design cues, specially at the rear. And what about those wheels? All 21-inches of them.
And inside? The Scenic pioneered a compact family car with a light and spacious interior where everyone got their own adjustable seat, a high-set view out through big windows – and lots and lots of cubbyholes to put things. The new one might be more high-tech – there are no fewer than ten configurable screens throughout the cabin – although it probably has fewer cubbyholes.