As Pere Prat recalls, quoting Charles Darwin, the one who survives is not the strongest of the species nor the most intelligent; he is the one who adapts best to change. This has always been the case, even in the complex and exciting automotive industry.
For an industrial engineer born in Valladolid, like José Manuel Valentín, leading the project for a new car that is manufactured in Palencia, of the house brand, has to be a privilege and a challenge. But it is also something rare.
Because it is not common for a completely new car, of capital importance for Renault, and in a segment as powerful today as SUVs, to be manufactured in Spain, in Palencia, with Spanish engineering and engineers, engines manufactured in Valladolid and boxes exchange produced in Seville. Therefore, Austral E-Tech full hybrid has become the most Spanish Renault model of those manufactured in the long history of the diamond brand.
At the forefront of innovation and environmentalism
The Palencia factory has had to be transformed to become a highly trained plant to produce a car that requires the latest innovations and the highest quality requirements. And all with absolute respect for the environment.
In this way, the manufacture of Austral implies the use of a new platform and the modification, therefore, of the entire assembly line. In addition, new painting processes have been implemented, such as two-tone or satin paint, which produces a high-quality visual effect. The manufacture of the new Renault SUV also requires the production of aluminum or the installation of 400 new robots.
400 new robots to carry out this project
The Palencia factory is also in the lead in ecology, since all the energy consumed is green, thanks to an agreement reached with Iberdrola. It is also a model plant in select waste collection, with a waste recycling rate of 99.5%.
The Spanish engine that everyone is talking about
Austral uses a new platform designed for electrification, to be able to equip different types of hybridization and mount the new E-Tech full hybrid engine, the mechanical star of the range. This new hybrid engine is manufactured in Valladolid and is initially available in Austral in a 200 hp version. The E-Tech full hybrid technology has also had the participation of Spanish engineers who have contributed decisively to obtain an optimal result in driving pleasure and, at the same time, in achieving a low level of CO₂ emissions.
But the new E-Tech full hybrid engine stands out, above all, for having the best consumption/performance ratio on the market. For this, the hybrid set has a new 1.2 three-cylinder gasoline engine, with turbocharger, of 130 CV of power, which is connected to two other electric motors. One of the electric motors helps to drive the car, providing power to reach 200 hp. The other electric motor acts as an electricity generator, for the starter motor, speed changes and battery recharging.
Austral always starts in electric mode and the transitions are very smooth, without power drop, and the gasoline engine can always work in the optimal efficiency range.
On the other hand, the E-Tech full hybrid technology makes available to the driver 4 modes of energy regeneration that are activated with the paddles on the steering wheel, which in this case are not used to change. In the city or steep descents, maximum regeneration quickly charges the battery so that electric mode can be used for longer.
From national talent to the rest of the world
The circumstances rarely arise to be able to affirm that it is a Spanish car, almost 100%. And Renault, with Austral, has achieved it. And this is especially important at a time of transformation of the automotive industry in Spain. Renault has been able to show that a Spanish car can have the best possible quality. And with specialized labor, totally Spanish.
Valentín, an industrial engineer born in Valladolid, leads a successful project from the beginning
In this sense, it is important to emphasize that the new Austral is not only manufactured in Palencia for everyone, but that Spanish Renault engineers have participated in the development of the engines, the gearbox and also in the batteries. Therefore, it is a very important challenge for the French brand in Spain, a technologically advanced product that has to live up to what the demanding European customer expects.
Austral is destined to become one of the stars of the year, it has the ideal measurements to be a family car, practical and versatile: 4.51 meters long, 1.84 wide and 1.62 high. And a ground clearance of 18 centimeters so that driving off the asphalt occasionally is not a setback.