French automaker Renault will soon be selling their first plug-in hybrid, the Eolab, according to Automotive News Europe (ANE). But it won't be seeing the light of day just yet as Renault is cautious in introducing the automobile due to high prices associated with hybrids.
According to Renault Chief Performance Officer Jerome Stoll, hybrids still represent less than 1% of the total automotive market which does not bode well in terms of pricing. The company has decided that they will only release a production version of the Eolab once prices have gone down and their market share increase.
Analysts consulted by ANE stated that premium brands will be able to benefit more from producing plug-in hybrids than mass market brands.
“Premium carmakers see plug-in hybrids as key bridging technology between EVs and traditional powertrains, but the cost remains high,” said automotive analyst Tim Urquhart.
Renault originally unveiled the plug-in hybrid during the 2014 Paris Motor Show as their answer to France's goal of making cars achieve 50km/l by 2020. By applying their expertise in aerodynamics and and using their own 'Z.E.' hybrid gas/electric technology, the Eolab has a combined consumption cylce of 100km/l.
This was made possible due to a hybrid powertrain that is comprised of a 1.0-liter inline-three gasoline engine, an electric motor and a 6.7 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The engine itself puts out 75 PS along with 95 Nm of torque while the electric unit generates 68 PS and 200 Nm of torque. It also has an electric range of 41 km.
Source: Automotive News Europe