Renaultsport is unlikely to develop a hybrid performance car until the base cars on which RS models are created are developed to accommodate the technology.
That’s the view of RS boss Patrice Ratti, who 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.
“That 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.”
However, Ratti had admitted he does see a future when electrification can enhance hot hatch and sports car performance. Speaking at the Formula E electric race car race in London, he said: "Today the problem of a fully electric sports car is that you need a lot of batteries, but we’re also working on hybrid for sports cars. Hybridisation could help because of the CO2 [savings]. What’s also great with electric motors is the acceleration. We’re working on it, but we cannot go too expensive with technology.”
Renault’s performance division, which is based at Les Ulis, near Paris, handles the French car maker’s motorsport activities as well its performance road cars and is closely involved in the new Formula E single-seater race series. Ratti said Formula E is playing an important role in accelerating the development of electric vehicles by improving battery technology.
“In a few years’ time, I am sure we will have three or four times the range we have today,” he said.
Despite this, Ratti also ruled out the likelihood of Renaultsport developing all-electric performance vehicles in the foreseeable future. “It will happen, but not tomorrow,” he said.
“To get the performance we need would require a large battery, and that performance would drain the battery, which would need to be bigger and heavier again as a result."