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Renault Powertrain Strategy: Focus on Electric Motor Development for EV Powertrains, New Technologies for Conventional Engines

Renault is currently working on the development of low-emission and zero-CO2 emissions vehicles in what it calls “a determined bid” to introduce as many effective technologies as possible at an affordable price. Its work on powertrains focuses on two main areas: the development of a range of electric motors for all-electric vehicles, and new technologies for conventional engines, including a new generation of turbocharged internal combustion engines as well as on new automatic transmissions.

Electric motors. Renault is aiming to become the industry leader in the realm of mass-market electric vehicles. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is consequently developing a comprehensive range of all-electric powertrains, with power outputs ranging from 50 to 100 kW (70 to 140 hp).

Renault says that its commitment to the development of zero-emission electric vehicles is due to a number of factors:

  • Awareness of the role CO2 emissions play in global warming;

  • Toughening legislation aimed at curbing CO2 emissions;

  • Oil price increases;

  • A growing need for urban mobility and the potentially significant market in Europe, due notably to motorists who primarily use their vehicle on a daily basis to get to and back from work—in other words urban commuters for whom electric vehicles are a workable solution;

  • Lithium-ion battery technology within the Renault-Nissan Alliance thanks to Automotive Electric Supply Corp (AESC), a joint venture involving Nissan and NEC; and

  • The development of new consumer patterns (monthly subscriptions, pay as you go schemes, etc.) which already operate in numerous sectors and which can be carried over to the automobile.

Renault is targeting its all-electric powertrains for a wide range of vehicle categories, from city cars and family sedans, to small and large vans. The first vehicles to feature all-electric powertrains will be a three-box sedan and a Kangoo-type van as early as 2011.

Conventional combustion engines. To achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions from its conventional powertrains, Renault is working concurrently on:

  • Fundamental vehicle design parameters: mass, aerodynamics (CdA), rolling resistance;

  • Efficient management of electrical energy (battery recharging under braking and when decelerating) and thermal energy (to speed up the climb in engine temperature);

  • Transverse technologies, including stop & start which automatically cuts the engine when the vehicle is at a standstill;

  • Widespread downsizing of internal combustion engines (smaller turbocharged engines are more efficient). This work covers both gasoline and diesel powerplants, although the greatest scope for reducing CO2 emissions concerns gasoline engines; and

  • More efficient manual and automatic transmissions.

Renault is developing a new family of modular TCe gasoline engines. (The company introduced the TCe 100 in 2007 and the TCe 130 in 2008, earlier post.)

With the imminent switch to Euro 5 and Euro 6 legislation, Renault expects gasoline engines to become an increasingly attractive proposition in diesel-oriented Europe, a trend it is trying to anticipate with a new family of three- and four cylinder TCe engines.

Based on a range of cubic capacities extending from 0.9 to 1.2 liters, they will replace the current normally-aspirated engines in the 1.2- to 1.6-liter bracket. These new engines, which will feature a low inertia turbocharger, will focus on power outputs of between 65 and 85 kW (90 and 115 hp). Renault will go on to develop more powerful versions.

The basic design of these engines will permit the use of direct fuel injection and will enable even higher specific power outputs. CO2 emissions will be cut by between 30 and 40 g/km compared with the engines they replace, and certain vehicles will be able to claim CO2 emissions of less than 100 g/km.

The first of these engines will be launched within the next two-and-a-half years, and Renault estimates that these powerplants will go on to account for some 85% of the gasoline engines it markets in Europe.

This family of modular engines is being developed within the framework of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, an approach which permits capital outlay to be shared and economies of scale to be achieved, while also allowing the development of powertrains that meet the specific needs of different regions. Renault are bringing its understanding of the European market and experience of turbocharging to the table.

On the diesel side, Renault's engineers intend to maximize the benefits of its dCi technology with evolutionary technologies aimed at enabling them to comply with upcoming emissions standards and making them even more fuel efficient. Numerous vehicles powered by these new-generation dCi engines will be able to claim CO2 emissions of less than 100 g/km, according to Renault.

Renault plans to modify its mainstay 1.5 dCi (Type K9K)—currently the most commonly sold Renault engine—enabling a reduction of approximately 20 g/km less CO2 when the new version is introduced in 2012.

An all-new 1.6 dCi 130 engine will offer peak power of 96 kW (130 hp) from launch. The 1.6 dCi represents a 16% reduction in cubic capacity compared with a current 1.9-liter diesel engine of the same power output. Renault will go on to develop more powerful versions. CO2 emissions will be reduced by 25 g/km compared with an equivalent engine, independent of improvements made to the vehicles it equips in fields such as aerodynamic performance, rolling resistance, mass, etc. It will be Euro 6-ready and is covered by 15 Renault patents.

This engine will form the core of the brand’s C-segment line-up and will also play key roles in its D-segment and van ranges. Its launch is scheduled for 2011. This project, code-named R9M, is a Renault-Nissan Alliance joint development.

The new-generation 2.0 dCi engine (Type M9R) is due to be released in 2012. In the meantime, Renault will carry over its downsizing policy to cover utility vehicles with the replacement of its current 2.5-liter engines by a 2.3 dCi unit featuring the same genetic make-up as the 2.0 dCi.

The V6 dCi (Type V9X) will continue to equip the group’s upper-range models.

Automatic transmissions. Renault is pursuing two objectives through its development of new automatic transmissions:

  • Improved mechanical efficiency compared to that of a conventional automatic transmission (with hydraulic coupling) thanks to technologies carried over from manual gearboxes; and

  • Profit from the ability of automatic transmissions to permit an engine to run at the most energy-efficient revs.

Renault will release a twin-clutch transmission within the next year. Twin clutch transmissions enable gears to be changed without interrupting the transmission of torque. Twin clutch transmissions also combine ride comfort (no jarring during gearshifts, no loss of traction) with CO2 emissions identical to those of a manual gearbox (a reduction of 15% compared with conventional automatic transmissions).



Renault one of the biggest automaker in he world is aware of problem tight to CO2 emission, oil depletion, but not Stan Peterson


Hmmn, they will conform to the EU 5 and 6 regulations and continue to poison their customers. Whoop-te-do! By the way, the state owned auto industry is going to de-emphasize polluting Diesel. Whoop-te-do. America did that years ago, until diesel cleanup technology was developed. Now it is. Would these clowns propose to use those cleanup technologies paid for by American automakers. NO! Just as they won't use the toxic cleanup technologies for the Otto cycle ICEs also developed by American automakers.

They are taking the party line position of the government politicians who toe the official party-line position of the Government that owns them. So what?

That government signed Kyoto, and promptly forgot about enforcing it. They never intended cynically, to do so. They just needed the protective camouflage, for fools in the green movement. EU CO2 emissions are up 21% versus the terrible USA, only rising 7%. Meanwhile green loons praise these phonies.

How does that sit with you tree hugger?
Have you ever compared what the EU 5,6 regulations actually say? The don't match any of the Level II USA/California regulations adopted in the 1980s, going on THIRTY YEARS AGO! (by Republican administrations, BTW)

Just Why are you allowing them to get away without adopting tighter toxic pollution rules? Why are you giving them a free pass? Is it because they a semi-Nationalized business, that can do no Socialist harm, except it is doing harm?
Why didn't you call them on it?

What the hell kind of tree hugger are you?



1 : CO2 emission per capita is much higher in US than in the rest of the world so even if it increased more recently in europe (which is not true by the way) they are still far behind in that matter

2: Renault is no longer a state-owned company and for quite some time already, plus they don't need massive bail out to avoid bankrupty like the american auto industry.

3: Diesel emitts more particle and Nox than Otto but less CO2 and have much much more progress in term of emission reduction than Otto engines these 20 past years.


Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel, inventor of the diesel motor, lived in Paris.

The otto cycle engine was invented by Eugenio Barsanti (an Italian) and Felice matteucci (an Italian, who also worked in Paris). It was then optimised and patented by Nikolaus August Otto (a German).


ExDemo, just exactly what clean Diesel technologies that were paid for by Americans and not used by the Europeans are you talking about? The only 50-state-legal Diesel passenger cars for sale in the US are German. Perhaps if the Americans paid for clean Diesel technology as you claim they did, they would like to use it in their home market. I would certainly appreciate them doing so.

Also, if the European car emissions standards are so poisonous, please explain why the life expectancy in Europe is higher than in the US. I lived in Paris several years ago and went running 4 times per week. As far as I could tell, the air quality was just fine.



there is so much anti-european and anti-california among the some blogger on this site that discussion is impossible. THe same people simply don't accept that american car industry is technologicaly loosing the game and sinking and has to change, period.


Yup, the American obsession with chasing NOx, rather than CO2, is a historical problem that arose because they originally thought it was the way to go to reduce smog.

Unfortunately they didn't realise at the time that most smog forming emissions actually come from evaporative losses at refuelling of hydrocarbons, and that this is a problem that comes almost entirely from gasoline and not from diesel (which does not have the volatility to produce much evaporative emissions).

Their key air quality scientists now readily accept this, but this has not persuaded the policy makers to do anything about changing the regulations.

Andrey Levin

In two words:

“Thus, although fresh NOx emissions initially reduce ambient O3 concentrations, it is the magnitude of NOx emissions that control global background and regional maximums in O3 concentrations. “

“This website provides information regarding research on the “ozone weekend effect”, the phenomenon of ozone concentrations tending to be higher on weekends than on weekdays in many urban areas around the world. This tendency is counter to expectations because the emissions of ozone precursors (NOx and ROG) are lower (NOx more so than ROG) on weekends than weekdays. This counter-intuitive phenomenon is due to the fact that NOx emissions are primarily in the form of NO, which reacts to destroy ozone (O3) present in the air (i.e., suppresses ambient concentrations) to form nitrogen dioxide (NO2). However, this NO2, as well as additional NO2 created from the NO emissions by photochemical catalytic reactions involving ROG (i.e., a single ROG molecule can recycle several times and oxidize multiple NO molecules to NO2 molecules) can react in sunlight to increase ozone concentrations. The photolysis of NO2 (i.e., sunlight splitting the NO2 molecule into NO and O) is the only known significant pathway for creating the proper oxygen atom for reacting with the abundant oxygen molecules (i.e., O2) in the atmosphere (18%) to form ozone. The ROG emissions effectively enhance the conversion of NO to NO2 and ultimately the formation of O3 concentrations significantly above natural continental background levels (30-40 ppb).
Thus, although fresh NOx emissions initially reduce ambient O3 concentrations, it is the magnitude of NOx emissions that control global background and regional maximums in O3 concentrations.”

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