Renault adopts a comprehensive approach regarding hydrogen

Renault approach hydrogen
Renault adopts a comprehensive approach regarding hydrogen

From e-fuels to hydrogen engines and fuel cells, Renault is leaving no stone unturned. And other manufacturers are following suit.

As you may know, Renault has decided to split its activities into two: on the one hand, electric vehicles with Ampère, and on the other, combustion engines with Horse. The latter is equally owned with the Chinese company Geely, and will be backed up by Aramco, whose expertise lies in e-fuels (notably in Formula 1, read our article) and hydrogen. One of the partners is Punch Hydrocell, which has expertise in both synthetic fuels and the hydrogen engine.

Renault: from e-fuels to hydrogen engines by way of fuel cells

In terms of e-fuels, Dacia is committed to using this type of fuel at the Dakar Rally in 2025. Some time ago, Gilles Le Borgne, Renault’s head of engineering, told Automotive News that this was a way of keeping mobility affordable. Synthetic fuels would make it possible to keep using internal combustion engines in some vehicles, provided that Europe reviews the life cycle analysis, and provided that there are enough resources to generate these e-fuels.

As far as the H2 engine is concerned, we know that this is clearly Alpine’s strategy. The sports brand plans to use it in competition (at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and possibly one day in Formula 1) and on the road. You can read our latest article about Alpine here.

As for the fuel cell, it is being developed by Renault’s subsidiary Hyvia, in partnership with Plug. The Master E-tech is now available and can be offered with hydrogen refuelling stations that include an electrolyser. Renault has a ten-year roadmap for this form of electrification, which complements the battery.

A similar approach by other manufacturers

Are there other examples in the automotive industry? The answer is yes, from Toyota. The Japanese giant, which recently clarified its strategy (see our article), has made no secret of its interest in e-fuels. And we know that it is also very interested in the combustion engine, which it is exploring in competition (and alongside the fuel cell, which it is continuing to develop for buses, lorries and cars). The same could be said of Stellantis. Like BMW and others, the group is interested in e-fuels. And at a recent SIA conference on the hydrogen engine, one of its representatives spoke very highly of this solution. The Group offers fuel cell-powered commercial vehicles.

In various ways, other brands are positioning themselves either on e-fuels (Ferrari), or on e-fuels and the hydrogen engine (Porsche).

Facing the dogma of the all-electric, which is undermined by tensions over critical materials and rising issues (customers’ willingness to make the switch, the ability of the electricity grid to meet demand), manufacturers are looking at other alternatives. And hydrogen, in its three forms, is one of them.

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King 

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About the author

Logan King

Logan King

After an unusual career (3 years in the French army followed by a 3-year degree in Applied Foreign Languages), it was my passion for environmental issues that finally caught up with me and led me to join Seiya Consulting and H2 Today in June 2022. First as an end-of-study internship, then as Marketing & Communication Manager and translator at Hydrogen Today.

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