Video – Renault e-Tech Full Hybrid: what is behind the second generation of this engine?

The diamond brand has inaugurated with its compact SUV, the Austral, a new e-Tech platform combining a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine and two electric machines coupled to a small Lithium-Ion battery. We were able to ask the manufacturer about this new architecture delivering 200 horsepower.

Perhaps you had the opportunity to read our test of the Renault Austral e-Tech Full Hybrid, which inaugurated for the occasion a new hybrid engine that was far from boring. Its power of 200 horsepower makes it possible to take the brand’s latest compact SUV on the road at a good pace, which also benefits from a chassis that is quite astonishingly efficient for a vehicle in this segment. A driving pleasure that we owe to the work carried out on the CMF-CD modular platform, but also to the second generation e-Tech Full Hybrid block combining a new petrol engine, two electric motors and a new Lithium-Ion battery.

e-Tech Full Hybrid: what changes in this second generation

You have probably already heard of these Renault e-Tech engines. Probably, have you even come across this mention plastered on the back of the Clio or the Arkana concerned already put on the road by the French manufacturer. However, these latter vehicles do not operate the same base as the Austral. For this one, we are talking at Renault about the second generation e-Tech Full Hybrid architecture and that changes everything (or almost). Several components make up this powertrain. The first is a small-displacement combustion engine (1,200 cm3) operating on three cylinders and an electric turbocharger with variable geometry allowing both to deliver torque at low revs and to ensure dynamism at high revs and the highest speeds.

Renault e-Tech Full Hybrid – D. Nogueira for AP

Other innovations concern this petrol engine and some of them are inspired by the manufacturer’s diesel engines. “We used all our engine know-how and transposed bricks from our diesel engines to offer this engine an unequaled efficiency of 41%, like a diesel”explains Sylvain Blanchon, mechatronic system project manager at Renault.

The pistons have a longer stroke than that of conventional petrol engines – D. Nogueira for AP

Thus, the three cylinders of this small 1.2 l block operate according to a long stroke of the pistons, as on the diesel blocks, to which is added a second brick: an EGR valve. The latter operates at low pressure and is intended to inject inert gases into the intake in order to lower the maximum combustion temperature in order to improve efficiency.
To finish with the mechanical part, the automatic claw gearbox has also been reworked to absorb this power of 200 hp as well as the cumulative torque of 410 Nm.

What’s New in Electric Motors

The “hybrid” part of this second generation of the e-Tech Full Hybrid is made up of two electric machines. The first developing 50 kW (205 Nm of torque) plays the fairly conventional role of traction motor. This is called “e-motor” while the second electrical group is a high voltage generator called “HSG” for High Voltage Starter Generator.

As its name suggests, this ensures the starting of the combustion engine and the gear changes of the automatic dog gearbox, but it also aims to recover the electricity produced by the combustion engine when it behaves like a generator to recharge the battery.

Power and battery capacity are revised upwards.

Battery which is also evolving, since it goes from a capacity of 1.2 kWh (on Arkana, for example) at 240 V to a capacity of 2 kWh at 400 V. Renault reports another important development since this battery is now cooled by the air conditioning network. The Lithium-Ion cells sit on a plate ensuring proper conditioning of the battery pack.

The advantages are obvious, because it is a question of delivering power and electrical resources more often and for longer, and this, in particular whatever the climatic conditions. However, these data should be considered in the context of this type of car electrified by hybridization, the expectations and needs of which are lower than in a PHEV, for example.

100% electric starts and very low consumption

According to Renault, all this allows the Austral to perform 100% of its starts in electric mode – which we were able to verify during our test – but also to perform 80% of the WLTP cycle in town in electric mode. The mixed WLTP homologation cycle allows Renault to announce a consumption of 4.6 liters per 100 km, which we did not have the time to check during our tests. A longer test would probably have allowed us to do better than 6 l/100 km recorded on a mixed route.

Anyway, this new set which combines all these technologies then allows Renault to apply fairly classic patterns, namely Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes.
Depending on the driver’s choice, but also on the road profile and pace adopted, five powertrain configurations – which are transparent to the driver – are thus possible:

  • An electric mode that uses the 50 kW electric motor. This is managed electronically and is limited by the small capacity of the battery.
  • An “e-drive” mode to recharge the battery. This uses the thermal engine as a generator which, through HSG, will reinject energy into the battery. In this configuration, the wheels are driven only by the 50 kW electric motor and those up to the maximum speed of 130 km/h.
  • A dynamic mode which, as its name suggests, combines power for sporty driving. This is what Renault calls “parallel hybrid mode” which also gives rise to around fifteen possible configurations between the four gear ratios coupled to the thermal block and the two ratios of the electric motor.
  • A mode of energy recovery during braking and deceleration whose intensity can be adjusted according to four levels (0, 1, 2 and 3) thanks to the paddles on the steering wheel present on board Austral.
  • Finally, fifth and last configuration: the heat engine mode only.

Read also
Test – Renault Austral E-Tech: will the hybrid SUV of the diamond finally take the lion’s share?

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Video – Renault e-Tech Full Hybrid: what is behind the second generation of this engine?

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