Renault technology explodes! “Arcana” equipped with Europe’s first full hybrid is amazing

Amazing car in the world
I’m Mario Takano, an automobile writer who wants to continue driving cars powered by internal combustion engines as long as possible in the future. It is my sincere hope that, while reducing CO2 emissions and improving environmental performance, we will continue to offer cars that offer the same pleasing “engine feel” as in the past. The number of cars equipped with new powertrains that can be welcomed even by older car enthusiasts who have such aspirations is increasing.

One of them is the Renault Arcana. At first glance, it looks like a 4-door coupe stylish SUV for the city, and it really feels like a fashionable imported car of today. The domestic specification is only a hybrid, and from the sense of a Japanese car, it seems very ordinary.

However, in fact, it is the first European car (imported car) to be equipped with a full hybrid system, so it is a hot stock in the world’s automobile industry.

Although full-fledged hybrid vehicles have become very popular in Japan for a long time, this phenomenon is unique to Japan. The hybrid system is very suitable for the traffic situation in Japan, where there are many so-called “stop and go” and the average speed is the lowest in the world. It has exploded in popularity in Japan, but it is rarely used in Europe, where high-speed travel is the norm. Although luxury cars and large SUVs have hybrid settings, they are of the type called “mild hybrids” in Japanese cars, and the electric motor has played a supplementary role.

Looking at hybrid cars in Japan, fuel efficiency is best when driving in urban areas where it is easy to recharge with regenerative braking, and fuel consumption tends to be worse than non-hybrid cars when cruising at high speeds with almost no stops. there is. This is because in a hybrid vehicle without electricity, the drive battery becomes just a “weight”.

Therefore, Renault independently developed a new hybrid unit called “E-TECH HYBRID”, realizing the benefits of hybrid even during high-speed cruising. Arcana was the first to use this.
It can be said that it is a system close to Honda “e: HEV”
The “E-TECH HYBRID” uses only the electric motor as driving force from start to low speed driving, and can run almost like an EV in urban areas. The engine starts when the battery is low on electricity or when high torque is required, but the engine is mostly running to charge. Although I feel that it is similar to Nissan’s “e-POWER” so far, unlike e-POWER, when the accelerator is depressed strongly or when driving at high speed, the engine not only charges but also acts as a driving force. Become.

As a system that combines two motors for driving and power generation, it can be said that it is closer to Honda’s “e:HEV” than Nissan’s e-POWER, which is a partner.

When accelerating on the highway, the feeling that “the engine is accelerating the car” is clearly transmitted, and while cruising, it becomes the same as a conventional gasoline car,  There is none.

The installed 4-cylinder 1.6-liter engine has a little less output for a hybrid, but the rotation feel is lively, and the point where you can get the pleasant sound and pleasant vibrations of the old-fashioned “European ten-roku unit” is a point that makes you cry as a car lover. . I’m happy that even with the significant electrification, the engine still has a strong presence.
Dog clutch incorporated in hybrid
Although domestically produced hybrid vehicles are not dissatisfied with their power performance and fuel efficiency, there are still quite a few cars that only provide a disappointing engine feel when fully accelerated. TECH HYBRID” is impressive that there is no such disappointment or concern.

Also, the fact that it incorporates a mechanism that was originally designed for racing cars, called a “dog clutch,” is a point that will impress car enthusiasts. The use of a dog clutch, which has the advantage of being simple, lightweight, and compact, without a synchronizer to synchronize gears during gear shifting, is truly groundbreaking. Racing cars and tuning cars produce a strong shock when shifting gears, but with the E-TECH HYBRID combined with an electric motor, there is almost no shock or vibration.
Comfortable for driving enthusiasts
The driving characteristics of the Arcana car itself are basically gentle, like a practical car, and it doesn’t have a particularly high sportiness, but it has a robust feeling like a Renault car and an honest response that faithfully responds to the driver’s intentions. Such maneuverability is comfortable for many car enthusiasts and driving enthusiasts.

“E-TECH HYBRID” was installed in “Lutecia” (European name Clio) and “Capture”, starting with Arcana. The power train is smooth, responsive, and highly direct, so I would like to pay close attention to future developments as a hybrid system that provides a comfortable accelerator work when driving at high speeds or in a sporty manner.

You can also watch the video of this test drive.

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