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Renault to introduce first hybrid in 2017

Renault's mild hybrid system will work as a more efficient start-stop system.

Many automakers around the globe see hybrid vehicles as a temporary solution to the emissions problem that will last until all-electric cars become a viable solution for everyone.

For France's Renault it is the other way around. After recently introducing four all-electric vehicles, the automaker announced at the Diesel Powertrain Congress that it is working on launching its very first hybrid-powered car.

Precise technical details were not given but Renault says that it is developing a mild hybrid system that will essentially function as a more effective start-stop system. Renault does not plan on dabbling in full hybrids, leaving that part of the market to partner Nissan.

The drivetrain will be made up of a small battery, a small electric motor and a reverse alternator that will be similar in concept to the Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) that is currently found in certain General Motors products. Renault's hybrids will also be equipped with regenerative braking.

The French automaker claims that its hybrid system will be able to work with both turbodiesel and gasoline engines. It will initially be fitted to small- and medium-sized cars.

The first Renault-badged hybrid vehicles are expected to hit showrooms across Europe in 2017 at the very earliest but technical details as well as prototypes will likely surface before that.

Photo by Ronan Glon.