Renault learned after stripping down a Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive unit that the cost of the parts used was close to what they spent on their own device, the e-tech hybrid. How similar, then, you ask?
“Well, Renault boss Luca de Meo said that the hybrid technology of his business was” very similar “to Toyota’s device in terms of cost, despite the Japanese carmaker getting a head start of more than 20 years in terms of this technology, Autonews Europe says.
“On the cost side, we estimate that we are very close to the cost of Toyota,” he said during an online media interview.
For the e-tech system, whose configuration is identical to Toyota’s in the sense that it uses a series-parallel system that can drive the vehicle with electric power alone or even use the combustion engine, De Meo continued to pledge that his business will “dramatically decrease costs in the next 2-3 years.”
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The Renault CEO also said that the cost of the system was further reduced by the fact that the carmaker doesn’t use a conventional gearbox, but rather a clutchless ‘dog’ gearbox, along with a second electric motor to synchronize the combustion and electric engines. Toyota uses a similar system, dubbed E-CVT.
If you’re curious how Renault was able to keep up with Toyota since Toyota introduced its first hybrid scheme in 1997, well, look no further than Formula 1.
De Meo stated that Renault has been working on this system for 10 years, utilizing the engineering skills of the Renault F1 Team.
Is sharing about caring?
It’s interesting to note that Renault isn’t sharing its hybrid tech with alliance partner Nissan. When Meo asked about this, de said: “This was the same question I asked the people here when I joined – Why don’t we have the same solution? But history is history.”
He added that e-Tech was “more adapted to European conditions,” than Nissan’s ePower system.