A report released by Autocar in August suggested that Renaultsport, the performance, motorsport and special vehicles division of Renault, may introduce hybrid models in the future. Now an updated version of the same report says that there won’t be a hybrid model from the division coming out in the near future.
A hybrid Renaultsport model isn’t arriving anytime soon, not until the Renault models of which the hybrid variants are created get hybridised. The Renault models must be developed as hybrid-ready first.
Speaking again to the British publication, RenaultSport Technologies’ Managing Director Patrice Ratti said: “The cost of investment is too great to justify for Renaultsport alone. We sell just a few thousand cars a year. Such a move would have to be part of a wider hybrid strategy within the firm.”
Mr. Ratti’s point is understandable. Renaultsport models are sold in limited markets and obviously, in limited volumes. Investing in such low-volume hybrid models naturally wouldn’t make sense because introducing hybrid powertrain won’t just require development of hybrid technology, but also separately building the RS models from the ground-up on a new platform that allows to do so. Additionally, the basic problem of incorporating hybrid technology in a way that doesn’t have a negative effect on performance still remains.
“That (using hybrid technology) would require a rethink, because there are also issues of packaging. The platform would have to be built to accommodate the additional weight, which in turn presents its own problems. It is not an easy thing to do – especially within price constraints.”
This doesn’t mean that Renaultsport has given up on plans for a hybrid RS model(s). When the time comes that Renault has mainstream hybrid vehicles, hybrid technology has progressed to a level where it doesn’t result in compromising on performance and adding too much weight, and is feasible in terms of costs, Renaultsport may introduce hybrid RS models.