This company transforms old Renault Clio into plug-in hybrid cars, to reduce pollution

A French company offers conversion kits to transform a petrol or diesel car into a plug-in hybrid. In sight: the old Renault Clio III from 2005. A miracle solution on paper, but which does not only have advantages.

Article updated on June 5, 2023 : Our colleagues on the site Challenges collected some very interesting information on the French company GCK’s project to retrofit diesel cars into plug-in hybrid cars. The first two cars that will be compatible with the transformation kit are the Renault Clio 3 and Renault Kangoo.

The original diesel or gasoline engine will be supported by a 48-volt electric motor with a power of between 25 kW (34 hp) and 30 kW (41 hp). A boost mode will increase the approval at low revs, for accelerations and pick-ups that we imagine more lively. The 80 kg of the whole are divided between the battery with a capacity of 7 to 8 kWh, housed in place of the spare wheel, and the engine. The original manual gearbox is replaced, which transforms the car into an automatic.

The first deliveries are scheduled for the beginning of the year 2024during the first trimester.

Original article from June 2, 2023 : From 2035, all cars leaving the dealership will have to be electric, or almost. But before that, the government will tighten the screw against thermal vehicles, in order to increase sales of zero-emission models (exhaust). This notably involves the multiplication of ZFEs throughout France.

An innovative solution…

Indeed, from 2025, all of the municipalities with more than 150,000 inhabitants will have to become low emission zones. To enter and be able to circulate there, it will be necessary tohave a suitable Crit’Air sticker. A system which is solely based on the age of the car and its Euro standard, which aims in particular to prohibit diesel access to cities.

In Paris, for example, cars with the Crit’Air 3 sticker, i.e. diesels before 2011 and petrols before 2006 will be banned from the end of 2024. This concerns approximately 380,000 automobiles according to 20 minutes. A colossal figure, which includes many motorists who cannot afford to go electric.

Because even if the prices fall, they remain for the time being higher than for an equivalent thermal vehicle. But now a French company, Green Corp Konnection (GCK) announces in a press release the arrival of an innovative solution that could make life easier for many drivers. Called Twin-E, this one is actually a retrofit.

But instead of converting a thermal car to electric, this alternative offers a plug-in hybrid engine. The main interest of this technology is its price, since the company asks 7,500 euros for the installation of this kiti.e. two times less than for a classic retrofit.

… but not miraculous

Expected for 2024, this system is quite simple on paper, since installation would only take a day. The electric motor is integrated into the car and associated with an epicyclic train which replaces the original gearbox. The battery is installed in the trunk, as in a standard retrofit. In total, 1,000 partner garages would be approved to carry out the modification.

This kit then offers an electric range of 70 kilometers according to the WLTP cycle and is initially suitable for diesel cars with the Crit’Air 3 sticker, such as the Renault Mégane or the Dacia Sandero. This makes it possible to transform the car into Crit’Air 1. The government would already be interested and could set up financial aid a bit like the ecological bonus. According Clean Automotiveit could reach 2,000 euros, but nothing has been confirmed.

If on paper, this solution is very clever, it will rather have a financial advantage if not ecological. Because a recent study had proven that plug-in hybrids are very harmful to the planet, especially because drivers never plug them in. Some manufacturers have even implemented solutions to encourage their customers to do so, like Porsche with its Cayenne E-Hybrid.

Once the battery is empty, the diesel heat engine will take over. Except that the weight of the car will be increased due to the addition of the battery and the electrical system, which should cause fuel consumption to skyrocket. This system would only be virtuous if the driver uses it correctly. However, the European Union would like to put an end to the plug-in hybrid and this technology could quickly become obsolete. But properly used plug-in hybrids can reduce pollution.

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