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Renault invests €28 million in EV test centre

As part of Renault’s electric vehicle strategy, the car maker has opened a new electric test centre in Lardy, France this week.

The new centre will act as a cornerstone to the brand’s development of electric technologies and will house test facilities for electric motors and batteries. With the first two of four electric vehicles now arriving on the market, Renault’s latest investment forms part of the Group’s overall €28 million investment into electric car development. Although the centre has been operational since 2009, it has been gradually expanded to now cover 3,300 sq. metres and some 100 test benches.

Renault Lardy centre

Renault has recently launched Kangoo Van Z.E. and Fluence Z.E electric vehicles with the ZOE Z.E and Twizy Z.E to follow over the next year. Developing these highly has called for an extensive list of tests designed to cover the performance, safety and durability of the new components: the electric motor, power electronics unit and battery.

The Lardy centre will run a series of 15 different tests on the lithium-ion traction batteries, simulating the most extreme conditions (‘abuse’ tests). Short-circuiting, fire, immersion, accidental damage, just some of 100 such tests will be conducted in 2011 alone, either in-house or at the facilities of specialist partners.

Renault’s engineering staff at Lardy have benefited from building new skills as part of a staff re-training and mobility programme. They have developed new testing expertise in electric motor technology.

“The Lardy test centre is supporting Renault’s move into the electric vehicle market – now a concrete reality after the launch of our first electric vehicle, Kangoo Z.E. Our goal was to sell vehicles that are reliable, powerful and 100 per cent safe.

“Lardy has helped us to achieve that goal thanks to 170,000 hours of testing in 2011. Investing in this centre will enable us to pursue and support new developments in electric powerplant technology and make Renault the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles in Europe,” says Jacques Prost, Renault’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain Engineering.

The Renault Kangoo Z.E electric van and Fluence Z.E saloon car are available to order now, with deliveries in the UK to follow shortly.

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Faye Sunderland

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