Renault is working on hybrid technologies, including a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, that it may offer in its passenger vehicles by the end of the decade, a French newspaper said.
Les Echos quoted Marc Bodin, director of powertrain strategy, as saying: "We are studying the gradual introduction of hybrids in our range by 2020."
Renault's hybrid development work remains in the "exploratory stage," a spokesman told Automotive News Europe when asked about the report. "We have yet to make a decision about whether we will launch a hybrid car model," the spokesman said.
The spokesman said the automaker is working on a wide range of hybrid technologies, including a full hybrid drivetrain.
The spokesman said the automaker is also developing hybrid technologies for its low-cost Dacia division. "We want to make our technologies accessible, so we would, of course, offer a hybrid Dacia model as an affordable hybrid alternative if Renault were to ever decide to launch hybrid cars," the spokesman said.
Renault is also developing hybrid technologies with its alliance partner Nissan. Nissan plans to introduce its first hybrid models in Europe by 2014, according to Les Echos.
The production version of the Initiale Paris concept could be the first Renault passenger vehicle to get a hybrid drivetrain, Les Echos said. The concept was unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show last month and previews the replacement for the Espace minivan.
The Renault spokesman decline to comment on whether the Espace successor will have a hybrid powertrain variant.
The spokesman said Renault's focus on electric vehicles remains unchanged despite its work on hybrid engines. "We will continue to emphasize the development of low-emission combustion engines and EV cars," the spokesman said. "Our original strategy has not changed."
Michel Costes, from auto industry analysts Inovev, said: "I am sure Renault realizes there is a market for both EVs and hybrids."