The ever-tighter carbon dioxide emissions regulations seem to have sealed the fate of yet another exciting car: the Renault Clio RS.
The French company’s representatives told AutoExpress that the hot supermini is no longer feasible in its current form. But don’t fret, because Renaultsport won’t simply pull the plug and forget it ever existed, as the plan is, apparently, to develop a high-performance version of the Zoe.
An electric hot hatch would allow it to roll in a league of its own, probably forcing Ford and Volkswagen to consider zero-emission versions of the subcompact Fiesta ST and Polo GTI too.
“Today, a Clio RS would need very elaborate technology to reach lower CO2 levels. And by keeping the high performance necessary for such a vehicle, you would have to charge such a big premium that those customers would be mostly unable to afford it”, said Ali Kasai, Executive VP of Product Planning. “At the moment, even if we love sporty cars, as is our history, we can’t find the solution to that equation – it’s impossible. Also, looking at the competition, we don’t see many rivals.”
Renaultsport tested the waters in 2017 with the 454 hp Zoe e-Sport Concept that received positive feedback, both from customers and journalists who drove the car. The prototype had a twin electric motor setup returning an impressive 0-62mph (100km/h) time of 3.2 seconds.
“We need to be in line with the current trends. We need to invent the future sport cars. This is the role of Renaultsport, to be innovative. Zoe, that concept, it is exactly what we were thinking and we still think”, said Kasai. “That car was appreciated by many people, they loved it, they want to buy it from the feedback we get.”
To make it, Renaultsport appears to have two options: adding a larger electric motor to the latest Zoe or a second unit to the rear axle. This would make it a lot more powerful than the regular electric hatchback rated at 133 hp (135 PS / 100 kW).
“The question is, what is the performance? What is the range of that car? How would it be on track?”, Kasai added. “Renaultsport is a serious player, so if we do the car, it has to have the performance. But if it can only do one lap of a track and then it has to go to a charging station, well, that’s not what we want to do.”
Note: Renault Zoe e-Sport Concept pictured in the Gallery