After Volkswagen's major change in strategy, Renault is also accelerating its conversion to a manufacturer of electric cars. The focus has shifted to fundamental changes from development to production and recycling. Classics such as the Renault 5 and what is currently known as the “4ever” are also expected to experience a renaissance as electric models. According to its own information, the Renault Group will bring ten new fully electric models onto the market by 2025.
The cornerstones of the realignment were announced at the “Renault eWays” event on June 30, 2021. An important cornerstone will be a strategic cooperation with Envision AESC to build a battery mega factory in Douai, France. In the future, the production of electric cars and batteries will probably only take place in huge production units from an annual production of 500.000 units for the mass market, as is already common at Tesla. While the development potentials of electric motors are already largely exhausted, technology and production costs will move more and more into focus in the coming years. In cooperation with the French start-up company Verkor, Renault expects to reduce battery costs by up to 60% by 2030 through standardization of the cell architecture.
New platforms and new powertrain
The structure of the drive train is also being completely revised and the production costs are to be reduced by another 30%. If you take these two essential factors into account, then the list prices for the new electric cars are likely to be significantly reduced again in the coming years.
“Today has historic acceleration for the Renault Group's EV strategy and for 'Made in Europe'. By building our compact, efficient and high-tech electric ecosystem Renault ElectriCity in northern France together with our E-Powertrain Megafactory in Normandy, we are creating the conditions for our competitiveness at home, ”said Renault CEO Luca de Meo
Switch to NMC batteries
The criticized lithium-ion batteries are to be replaced by NMC batteries (nickel, manganese and cobalt). From Renault's perspective, the advantages lie in range advantages of up to 20% and better recyclability. Expected at Alliance level RenaultNissan-Mitsubishi to be able to deliver up to one million electric vehicles with NMC batteries by 2030. There is a partnership with the battery manufacturer Envision AESC for this. Batteries with a capacity of 2024 GWh are to be manufactured in a new battery megafactory as early as 9 and expanded to 24 GWh by 2030.
ElecriCity industrial pool
The three production sites in Douai, Maubeuge and Ruitz in northern France will be combined under the new term “Electricity”. Up to 2025 electric vehicles are to be manufactured here by 400.000. But changes are not only targeted in the mass market. A 20% stake in the French start-up Verkor is to develop high-performance batteries for the C-segment and higher vehicle classes of the Renault brand as well as for the vehicles of the Alpine brand. Here, too, there are massive cost reductions in battery production, the most expensive component in electric cars. Clear objectives are already being set for this: "The goal is less than 100 dollars / kWh in 2025 and less than 80 dollars / kWh with the introduction of solid-state batteries in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which is planned from 2030."
New electric motor
A new motor based on the electrically excited synchronous motor (EESM) without Permanent Magnets and thus without the use of rare earths should already be produced in 2024. In addition, with the start-up Whylot, a new type of axial flow electric motor is to be developed initially for hybrid drive trains. Renault will combine the power electronics from the elements inverter, DC-DC converter and the on-board charger (OBC) in an 800 volt compliant box from its own production. This box should then be used across all platforms and powertrains (BEV, HEV, PHEV). The RenaultGroup also expects further cost reductions from this.
“Today has historic acceleration for the Renault Group's EV strategy and for 'Made in Europe'.Renault CEO Luca de Meo
The drive train is also being combined in a one-box project. This combines the electric motor, the reduction gear and the power electronics in one package. The installation volume is reduced by up to 45% and the cost savings should be around 30%. The biggest advantage for electromobility: Renault expects this to result in 45% lower energy consumption for the drive train and thus achieve an additional range of up to 20 kilometers.
In the end, two new platforms for electric vehicles were also presented. On the one hand there is the CMF-EV platform for the middle class and upper middle class. According to Renault, 2025 vehicles will be built on this technology basis at the alliance level by 700.000. Thanks to its low weight and state-of-the-art thermal management, the CMF-EV architecture should achieve a WLTP range of up to 580 kilometers. The new Megan E from 2022 is based on the CMF-EV platform.
In the small car segment, the CMF-BEV platform enables affordable electric cars to be offered to a wide range of customers. Compared to the platform currently used for the ZOE, the costs of the CMF-BEV platform are 33 percent lower. The CMF-BEV platform enables ranges of up to 400 kilometers. The new Renault 5 is based on this CMF-B EV platform.
# Updated April 2022
Separation of the business areas planned
At the moment there are reports in the media about the decoupling of the electric car division from the conventional drive, compared to the development at Ford. Here, the business areas “Ford blue” for the conventional drive and “Ford Model e” for the electric car have already been planned. At Renault, there should also be a clear separation between the two business areas in the future. This means that both divisions are significantly more efficient in terms of autonomous and individual development.
Update May 2023
CMF-B-EV Platform: Common Module Family
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has presented the new electric car platform CMF-B-EV. This platform is intended for future use in the B vehicle segment for electric vehicles. The basis of this larger platform comes from the already used CMF-B platform for the Clio and Captur. One focus was the cost reduction in production. With the new modular concept, vehicles with different wheelbases and track widths can be created for vehicles from the B segment. The new electric Renault 5 will be built on this new platform.
The official statement by Delphine De Andria, head of product development in the B-EV segment, reads: “The new CMF B-EV platform offers enormous potential, as it will make the future Renault 5 a lot of fun to drive and contribute to the high level of competitiveness in the future compact class.”
The new Renault 5 is powered by a separately excited synchronous motor, which also powers the ZOE E-Tech Electric and Megane E-Tech Electric. Not only is it more powerful than a permanent magnet motor, but it also uses no rare earth metals for magnets, which should reduce both the costs and the environmental impact of production.
The power electronics, the DC/DC converter, the battery charger and the battery management system are combined in a compact housing. This makes the drive smaller and lighter. The future Renault 5 electric motor is around 20 kilograms lighter than that of the ZOE. The new battery pack is compressed into four large modules, which saves an additional 15 kilograms in weight.
Renault sales figures in Europe
Year cars sold
Update July 2023
Renault and Nissan sign definitive agreements
The cooperation between Renault is to be further deepened by the end of the year. This includes further cooperation in the area of vehicle development, the electrification of the model range and sales
“Renault Group and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd have finalized the binding framework agreements announced on February 6, 2023. The transactions contemplated therein are subject to various conditions, including regulatory approvals, and are expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023.” (Renault Group press release dated 26.07.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX)
Update October 2023
Renault and Valeo are developing the new E7A engine
Renault is working with supplier Valeo on a new engine that does not contain rare earths and promises high efficiency. The unit will be significantly more compact than the units currently used and will reduce WLTP consumption to less than 16 kWh/100 km. By avoiding rare earths, the main aim is to significantly reduce the dependencies in the supply chains from other countries.
“The new E7A motor also helps reduce battery charging times, as the system is designed for 800 volts instead of the usual 400 volts today. The Valeo stator also increases performance and efficiency: the unit produces up to 200 kW and is therefore significantly more powerful than the previous generation of electric motors without consuming more electricity.
The E7A electric motor will go through further development phases until it is ready for series production. Series production will begin at the end of 2027 at the Renault Group’s Cléon plant.” (Renault press release October 26.10.2023, XNUMX)
Renault, one of the pioneers of e-mobility for traditional car manufacturers, is also accelerating the course in the field of e-mobility after Volkswagen. This means that competition among the hitherto conventional manufacturers will once again intensify significantly in the area of dominance in the electric car sector.
Cover photo Renault Zoe Logo – Renault 5 – Copyright Renault
Sources - "Renault eWays" information event on June 30, 2021 and current developments in 2022 / 2023