“There is a struggle to fight for the popular electric car.”

Did you know? One of the world’s leading automotive technology nuggets is French, which is equipment maker Valeo, a company that generated a turnover of more than 17 billion euros in 2021 and employs 103,000 people worldwide.

It has 64 Research and Development centers and works with all car manufacturers, to which it provides technological solutions ranging from simple headlights to the latest generation of Lidar equipped with the Mercedes EQS and the S-Class, which paves the way for autonomous driving. Valeo is the world’s leading manufacturer of automotive electrical equipment, and equips 30% of the cars produced.

The company estimates that the electric vehicle and new mobility market is expected to account for 90 billion euros in 2025, and reach 200 billion in 2035. As for driving aids (Adas), they should increase by 25 billion in 2025 to 120 billion in 2035.

Valeo regularly organizes confidential events ” Drive and drive », Where it invites car manufacturers to present the equipment they work on. From the third generation Lidar, scheduled for 2024, to the system ” odorless which neutralizes bad odors in the passenger compartment by stimulating the olfactory nerve, by driving at a distance that, for example, allows cars to move in a parking lot or when they reach the end of the chain at the factory, the company launches a wide network .

On Thursday, March 24, Caradisiac had the privilege of being able to participate in one of these days Drive and drivewhich was attended by representatives of German manufacturers.

The meeting took place at the Jean-Pierre Beltoise Circuit in Trappes (78), where under a beautiful spring sun, engineers from all over the Rhine had plenty of time to discuss with their Valeo counterparts and test the various prototypes available. .

Interesting phenomenon, we could see that the guests spent a lot of time looking at prototypes of electrical models low cost also presented by Valeo.

Among the models available in Ride & Drive Valeo, an unbridled version of the Citroën AMI at the wheel of which yours was really able to exceed 80 km / h!
Among the models available at Drive and drive Valeo, an unbridled version of the Citroën AMI at the wheel of which your servant could even exceed 80 km / h!

If the company is very involved in high technology, it also works hard on electric mobility solutions accessible to everyone. Caradisiac thus had the opportunity to speak with Michel Forissier, the group’s chief engineering officer, a man as passionate as he is fascinating to listen to, because he has a 360 ° view of the challenges of tomorrow’s automotive industry. Interview.

Michel Forissier assures us: the car industry is experiencing a revolution.
Michel Forissier assures us: the car industry is experiencing a revolution.

Is the thermal broken?

We do what we do in the thermal, we will not go below 80 g of CO2 / km. Electrification is the only solution if we want to move towards “zero carbon”.

The problem is that electric mobility is still expensive.

There are two types of mobility. The first refers to long journeys on the motorway, but is a minority. Daily commutes, or daily commutes, account for 90% of use. That’s why 35 hp electric cars, with our 48 V propulsion system, are more than enough. It is useless to pay for an escalation of power and weight.

Cars like the Citroën AMI, is this one of the solutions you recommend?

For the AMI, the Golf starter alternator acts as the engine. It was grafted with a belt-driven gearbox, and that gives us a cheap powertrain (or GMP, editor’s note). There is a battle to fight for the popular electric car. We have to fight this tropism of getting on the market.

Would this be the end of the “ever more” in automotive?

The larger the mass, the more energy is consumed. We make electric tanks that are certainly beautiful cars, but whose design works at the expense of efficiency. We are at the beginning of the electric age. Batteries will lose weight and gain in efficiency. However, streamlining leads to efficiency leading to tidy (range of action, editor’s note).

Does this mean that manufacturers have to make their revolution?

Life is not easy for car manufacturers. Cars are subject to multiple regulatory restrictions, which involve a significant investment. Added to this are the costs of raw materials and new technologies … However, when we look 10-20 years ahead, we realize that we can no longer continue as we have done so far. The ” business as usual “Global warming is a reality and the car industry is experiencing a revolution.

Will this lead to a change in supply?

Michel Forissier (Valeo):

We’ll get back to the sedan, because the SUV is an aerodynamic aberration. At the same time, we can look at the case of a small Chinese electric car, the Hongguang Wuling (pictured), which will arrive in Europe. We can imagine what you will like: it combines electricity, style and accessibility.

Recycling is another line of work to reduce the car’s carbon footprint.

According to our studies, we could recycle on average 90% of the components of the parts that garages are content to replace. In an alternator, to put just this example, it would usually be enough to change the pads for it to start again! And when we can no longer repair, we can still recover the materials. Now that there is growing pressure on raw materials, recycling and reuse solutions will be increasingly important.

So is there hope for the car?

The car is in the process of being reinvented, and it’s exciting. Let’s make it fun, clean, safe and smart. I’ve been in the car for 42 years and we have fun today!

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