all photos and information about the future French hydrogen SUV

Long live the revolution ! Released in the early 90s after the Espace, the Scénic surprises again. Europe’s first popular compact minivan quickly became a bestseller and proved itself, combining practical aspects for a family with a reduced external footprint. A cocktail of strong arguments, which, unfortunately, will be eaten up by a wave of SUVs in 20 years. But Scénic fought back as he only leaves the catalog in 2022, taking advantage of the end of his career. Now, how to replace this myth with a diamond? The French manufacturer offers us the first element of the answer with the Scénic Vision concept.

Electric car, but hydrogen (in 2030)

If Renault got off to a good start with the modular CMF-EV platform to develop its concept, it’s still a very heavily redesigned version. It can indeed accommodate an electric motor, a battery, as well as a hydrogen tank and a fuel cell. So the architecture of this concept is very specific: front tank that can be filled with 2.5 kg of hydrogen replaces the electric motor normally found under the hood of the electric Mégane E-Tech. What’s more, the Scénic Vision takes on the most powerful block of its little sister. With a wound rotor and no rare earth elements according to Renault (logically, because there is no magnet!), this French-made 220-horsepower engine is therefore borrowed from Mégane, but placed on the rear axle. You don’t dream: it’s a movement! It is also the first Renault with over 200 hp rear transmission. since the Clio V6. Therefore, Renault is moving away from the traditional traction scheme due to layout issues, and the tank is noticeably easier to place at the front.

Tank in the front, fuel cell and battery in the middle, engine in the back.© Renault

The Scénic Vision is therefore first and foremost an electric vehicle, since under normal conditions the rear motor is powered by a 40 kWh battery.. But for longer trips, a 16 kW fuel cell located in the floor behind the battery turns hydrogen into electricity and powers the unit. Obviously hydrogen increases range, as does the REX on the BMW i3! And this could have a double benefit, as the hydrogen would also be used to bring the battery up to temperature in cold weather to improve energy efficiency. Continuing on this theme, remember that Renault is no stranger to fuel cells, as its joint venture Hyvia already produces lightweight hydrogen plants.

The advantage of this configuration is the weight: the battery is quite small, the Scénic Vision limits breakage, claimed at 1700 kg.. That’s more than a petrol or diesel Scénic, but we’re not chasing bullshit numbers for equivalent-sized compact electric SUVs. And most importantly, the hydrogen tank allows you to bring the total autonomy to 800 km. But it will still be necessary to refuel, and there Renault simply counts on the development of a network of filling stations distributing this fuel by 2030, to say nothing more. The problem of green production and sufficient hydrogen obviously still remains a problem.

Interesting concept from a technical point of view, but which will not continue in production until 2030. Renault will indeed update its Scénic in 2024 in the C segment, but the car will initially be devoid of a fuel cell (and will likely be fitted with a 40+ kWh battery to have decent autonomy).

First Renault after Peugeot 3008

SUV, but especially chunky!
SUV, but especially chunky!© Renault

From an aesthetic point of view, this concept, frankly, has nothing to do with Scénic. The short, sloping bonnet typical of a minivan has been replaced by a longer, wider, and very horizontal sedan-like front. The profile and stern are relatively cubic with pronounced angles and ribs. Well, wouldn’t there be some Peugeot 3008 in there? It is logical, since it is Gilles Vidal who stands at the origins of the concept. And it is to him that we owe the current 3008, a real commercial card. The most observant will not miss these fun 21-inch wheels: they are actually equipped with active dampers that open and close to improve air penetration or cool (up to 10 km/h) brakes.

Inside, it’s hard to learn a lesson from this concept, which is still very far from series production, but Renault still places a lot of emphasis on sustainability in its next vehicles. Scénic Vision uses 70% recycled materials and 95% recyclable materials. Leather is no longer part of the Renault program at all. Let’s not forget the platinum needed to make fuel cell electrodes: Renault explains that it uses platinum from used thermal and hybrid car catalysts, which the manufacturer recycles to recover precious raw materials.

Renault Scénic Vision in numbers

  • Power: 220 HP
  • Rear drive
  • battery 40 kWh
  • fuel cell 16 kW
  • Hydrogen bottle 2.5 kg
  • Autonomy 800 km (electric + hydrogen)
  • Length: 4.49 meters
  • Width: 1.90 meters
  • Height: 1.59 meters
  • Wheelbase: 2.83 meters
  • 21″ rims
  • The engine, fuel cell and battery are made in France.