The facility, which covers 3,300 square meters and includes 100 test benches was inaugurated on November 14 with a formal ribbon-cutting and champagne-quaffing ceremony.
Automaker Renault is accelerating its drive into EV technology with a €28 million investment in its electric test center in Lardy, France. The facility, which covers 3,300 square meters and includes 100 test benches, has been operational since 2009, but was inaugurated on November 14 with a formal ribbon-cutting and champagne-quaffing ceremony.
Renault has recently launched two new EVs: the Kangoo Z.E. panel van and the Fluence Z.E. compact sedan, which features an interchangeable battery that can be swapped using Better Place’s EV network. The company plans to release two more EV models over the next year.
At the Lardy test facility, Renault’s 30 boffins test every component of an EV for durability and safety. Electric motors are subjected to the equivalent of 300,000 kilometers of operation in punishing extremes of heat and cold. Special environmental chambers simulate accelerated aging of lithium-ion batteries by repeated full and partial charge/discharge cycles under different temperatures. The real fun takes place in the battery abuse department, where engineers run a series of 15 tests simulating short-circuiting, fire, immersion, crash/impact damage and other potential disasters.
“The Lardy test center 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 percent safe. Lardy has helped us to achieve that goal thanks to 170,000 hours of testing in 2011. Investing in this center will enable us to pursue and support new developments in electric power plant technology and make Renault the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles in Europe,” says Jacques Prost, Renault’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain Engineering.