Renault has confirmed its plans to restrict the top speed of all of its new cars to 112mph from next year.
Luca de Meo, CEO of the French manufacturer, confirmed the brand will follow in the footsteps of Volvo by introducing speed limiters on all new Renault and Dacia models from 2022.
He also confirmed that the company expects 65 per cent of all new Renault Group sales by 2025 to be zero emissions vehicles, increasing to 90 per cent by 2030.
Mr de Meo is also believed to have told shareholders last week that the brand will cease development of diesel engines in a bid to increase its electrification drive and reduce costs.
No faster than 112mph: All new Renault and Dacia cars will have their top speeds electronically limited to 180kmh (112mph) from 2022, it has been confirmed
Renault said in a statement released on Monday morning: ‘As of 2022, the Megane-E will come equipped with an automatic speed limit adjuster, set by default.
‘The vehicle’s top speed will also be capped at 180km/h.
‘The speed will also be capped on Renault and Dacia models, and will not exceed 180km/h.’
German news outlet Spiegel claims that Mr de Meo told shareholders last week that excessive speed is the reason for a third of fatal accidents involving its cars, which is why it plans to prevent its newest models from exceeding 112mph.
While some drivers – especially those in Germany who often use unrestricted Autobahns – will be angered by the announcement, many will argue that the highest limits of 70mph in Britain mean top speeds of 112mph shouldn’t be within the grasp of the public in the first place.
For some Renault Group cars this won’t be too much of an issue. For instance, the top speed of the new Dacia Sandero is just 111mph and Renault’s electric Zoe doesn’t get close to 100mph.
However, the restriction could be more frustrating for fans of Renault Sport models, such as the £33,585 Megane R.S which can reach speeds of 158mph.
Volvo has been selling new cars with electronic top speed limiters since the start of last year.
The Swedish brand became the first mass-producing car maker to install speed limiters in all its new models, which means no new Volvo sold to the public from 2020 is able to exceed a speed of 180kmh (112mph).
It added that only cars provided to police forces around the world would have the electronic speed limiters disabled.
The decision by Volvo – and now Renault – comes as new rules, provisionally agreed by the EU in 2019, could see Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) systems become mandatory for all vehicles sold in Europe from next year.
The Department for Transport say that the UK will also make the same requirements of new models, despite Brexit.
Renault CEO Luca de Meo (pictured) on Monday outlined the ‘Renaulution strategy’ at the annual general meeting
ISA systems work by using speed sign-recognition camera and GPS-linked speed limit data to advise drivers of the current limit and automatically slow the vehicle as needed.
They do not automatically apply the brakes but instead limit engine power to prevent a vehicle from accelerating past the current speed limit unless overridden.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has proposed for all ISAs to have an on/off switch to be installed at first, which would allow the system to be countered if a driver pushed down hard on the accelerator.
This override would allow motorists to speed up in case they are half way through completing an overtake or need to go faster to avoid an accident.
However, if a driver continues to drive above the speed limit using the override function for several seconds, the system will sound a warning for a few seconds and display a visual warning until the car slows to adhere with the speed limit again.
If this is ignored, an automated system can slow the car or even bring it to a complete standstill.
The ETSC believes ISA systems will reduce collisions on European roads by 30 per cent and save around 25,000 lives within 15 years.
The Intelligent Speed Assistance technology is variable and can respond to changing zones using speed camera recognition systems and/or GPS data inside the car
As well as speed limiters, Renault said it will also introduce a suite of new safety tech to its cars, including a black box-style telematics systems that uses sensors inside the vehicles to analyse an individual’s driving data to determine if they are acting dangerous at the wheel.
It will also use a virtual ‘Safety Coach’ to process road and traffic data to inform drivers of potential risks on their route and will give real-time warnings on danger-prone areas.
And it also says a ‘Safe Guardian’ system will be installed that acts as a ‘fail-safe mechanism’ to prevent accidents. When triggered – if, for example, a driver makes a dangerous turn, takes their hands off the wheel or falls asleep – it will automatically slow the car down.
Renault says electric vehicles will account for 65% of its sales by 2025, and 90% in 2030 in Europe
Nine in ten Renault car sales in Europe will be electric by 2030
The decision to limit top speeds and increase the availability of safety features to its new cars is part of Renault’s wider environmental and societal strategy, which was put forward by Luca de Meo this morning.
It comes after other car brands – including Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Mini and Volvo – earlier this year laid out their proposals for removing vehicles with internal combustion engines from their showrooms.
But while rivals earmarked 2030 as the date they will no longer sell petrol and diesel cars to the public in Europe, Renault said that one in ten of its models by the end of the decade will have an internal combustion engine under the bonnet.
However, it added that it intends to achieve carbon neutrality in Europe in 2040 and worldwide in 2050.
‘Our commitments to reduce our carbon footprint, to the safety of people who use our vehicles and of employees in the workplace, and on inclusion meet our strategic challenges and support value creation,’ Mr de Meo said.
It was also reported late last week that de Meo told shareholders that Renault will not invest in developing a new engine to fit the last generation of diesel vehicles it will produce and will instead adapt its existing model as a means of cutting costs.
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