Renault has unveiled a new electric car prototype that loads Nissan's fuel cell technology and lithium-ion batteries onto the popular Grand Scenic medium minivan.

The French carmaker says the Scenic ZEV H2 project is part of wider, continuing efforts with its Japanese alliance partner to develop and bring to market a range of zero-emission vehicles.

Renault engineers redesigned the Scenic's floor and raised its ground clearance by 60mm to accommodate Nissan's fuel-cell stack, a high-pressure hydrogen tank, and lithium-ion batteries.

The prototype incorporates full functioning of the Scenic's on-board comfort and safety systems, and remains true to the original five-seat configuration. "It's still a Scenic, and there's still room for three kids in the back seat, Renault environment director Alice de Brauer said.

Renault Scenic - fuel cell-powered prototype

Instrumentation has been adapted to the new powertrain. The fuel gauge has become a hydrogen pressure indicator; the temperature display shows the fuel's temperature, and the rev counter displays the electric motor's revolutions per minute.

Renault executives admit that the current lack of hydrogen filling stations and the relatively high cost of fuel cells will complicate any short-term bid to mass-market this type of vehicle.

Fuel cells may be "part of the complete mosaic of potential technological solutions to the question of sustainable mobility," de Brauer said.