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by Tim Beissmann

Renault is developing a number of ‘mild hybrid’ technologies to enhance the fuel efficiency of its future vehicles.

While the French manufacturer is leaving production of full-hybrid vehicles to its Japan-based partner Nissan, Renault says it plans to employ a range of new fuel-saving features to get the most out of its conventional internal combustion engines.

While Renault did not reveal specific details of its plans during the announcement at the Diesel Powertrain Congress in France, World Car Fans reports the drivertrain technology will incorporate a small battery, an electric motor and a reverse alternator, and will capture and store energy through regenerative braking.

The mild hybrid components will be compatible with both petrol and diesel engines, and will initially be rolled out into Renault’s small and medium cars from 2017.

While many global brands have embraced full hybrids as the stepping-stone between internal combustion engines and electric vehicles, Renault’s strategy has seen it skip the middle step entirely.

Renault’s current EV line-up includes the Fluence ZE, the Kangoo ZE van and the Twizy, and it will be expanded in the coming months by the Zoe hatchback.

The Renault Fluence ZE will become the French brand’s first EV in Australia. The medium sedan with a 185km full-charge range will go on sale in Canberra in the coming weeks before launching across the rest of the country in the fourth quarter of 2012.




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