It is a nugget born in Bordeaux in Gironde. The Gazelle is made of composite material in micro-factories, in a very short time. Very light, it consumes almost half that of its competitors. Its designer wants to launch a new industrial model. This article was published on February 15, 2022.
Is Gaël Lavaud a visionary? You have been thinking about changing manufacturing methods in the automotive industry for years. Now it is very close to the goal.
A graduate of the prestigious Ecole Centrale de Lyon, former director of development for the Renault group, he is convinced that the future will be “low tech” the exact opposite of high-tech.
Whether it’s a technology based on simplicity, durability, made locally and more artisanal than industrial.
Contrary to gigafactories that concentrate production in one place and then export all over the world, on the contrary, we want to distribute micro-assembly workshops to the four corners of the world and create jobs where they will be used.Gaël Lavaud
France 3 Aquitaine
This model took eight years to develop.
This Monday morning he welcomes us to the first “factory” he designed, installed on the premises of the Bordeaux Technowest startup incubator in Blanquefort, in the Bordeaux metropolis.
Four containers come together, no big machine, no robot inside…
” It’s really ultra basic with three bins dedicated to assembly and one at the bottom to store spare parts. You have a concept in the logic of low technology where we will make the assembly and maintenance of the vehicles as simple as possible”.
With a toolbox and some compressed air you can build cars!Gaël Lavaud
France 3 Aquitaine
Indeed. The chassis of the Gazelle is assembled in an hour, like a Lego. And for good reason: there are only 10 items to assemble compared to around 300 for a classic car.
The secret ? This is the material used. No steel, no expensive equipment.
” is a technology of frame Entirely in composite material. With fiberglass combined with other economical materials that allow extraordinary mechanical behavior in terms of energy absorption and rigidity “explains Gaël Lavaud who got the highest score in the crash test.
Its technology is patented and jealously guarded secret.
In addition to the easy assembly, the composite material makes the car considerably lighter.
” It weighs about 900 kg, we could still lower it to 800 “says the designer from Girondin. While a classic city car weighs at least 1.2 tons.”
Lightness means lower consumption since three quarters of a vehicle’s consumption is its weight. Lightening as we have done, we reduce consumption by around 40%.
“And then, one of the great costs of the electric vehicle is its battery. There, by reducing the battery, we get the same autonomy as the others. It is thanks to this that we managed to have a competitive vehicle in price. It will cost around 20,000 euros”.
The battery can cover 180 kilometers. Recharges in 4 hours on a standard outlet. ” It is a car that does not exceed 100 km / h. The idea is really to have a simple and efficient vehicle for all daily trips, it’s a bit like the 2CV of the 21st century.” Gael explains.
Its first objective is to equip local corporations and companies that will have to convert their vehicle fleets to fully electric in the coming years.
But quickly, it is these micro factories that he wants to commercialize. Sell them, sell spare parts and training to dealers or others.
” They will provide assembly in addition to sales and maintenance. It will cost you very little in initial investment. A microfactory is around 250,000 euros“.
Gaël Lavaud thus intends create activity in all parts of the territory.
The advantage of microfactories is that they allow the development of an economic activity with very little investment where there is nothing. They are adapted to create jobs in our field and in emerging countries that do not have builders.Gaël Lavaud
France 3 Aquitaine
Before seeing the “Gazelle” roll, there is an important step to take: obtain official homologation. It is planned for the fall of 2022.
Here is the report of C. Albo and S. Delalot
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