VIDEO. A 100% electric car, consuming less energy, the Gazelle could become the “2CV” of the future

Manufactured in local micro-factories, this car is set to revolutionize the way we travel. Built with composite materials, it could consume half the energy of its competitors

Is Gaël Lavaud a visionary? He has been thinking about changing manufacturing methods in the automotive industry for years. He is now 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 technology.

Whether a technology based on simplicity, durability, made locally and more artisanal than industrial.

Unlike gigafactories that concentrate production in one place and then export to the whole world, we want to distribute microassembly workshops to the four corners of the world and create jobs where they will be used.

Gael Lavaud

France 3 Aquitaine

This model, he took eight years to develop.

This Monday morning, he welcomes us to the first “factory” he has designed, installed in the facilities of the Bordeaux Technowest startup incubator in Blanquefort, in the metropolis of Bordeaux.

Four containers are joined, no big machines, no robots inside…

It’s really ultra basic with three containers dedicated to assembly and one at the bottom for storing spare parts. You have a concept in the low-tech logic where we are going to make vehicle assembly and maintenance as simple as possible.”

With a toolbox and some compressed air you can build cars!

Gael Lavaud

France 3 Aquitaine

in force. The Gazelle’s chassis is assembled in an hour, like lego. And for good reason: there are only 10 elements to assemble compared to around 300 for a classic car.

The secret ? This is the material used. No steel, no expensive equipment.

It is a technology painting entirely in composite material. With fiberglass combined with other inexpensive materials that allow extraordinary mechanical behavior in terms of energy absorption and rigidity. “explains Gaël Lavaud who got the maximum score in the crash test.

Its technology is a patented and jealously guarded secret.

In addition to easy assembly, the composite material makes the car considerably lighter.

It weighs about 900 kg, we could still lower it to 800 “says the Girondino designer. Whereas a classic city car weighs at least 1.2 tons.

Lightness means less consumption, as three quarters of a vehicle’s consumption is its weight. By whitening as we did, we reduced consumption by about 40%.

“And then, one of the biggest costs of the electric vehicle is the battery. There, reducing the battery, we obtain the same autonomy as the others. It is thanks to this that we managed to have a vehicle competitive in price. It will come out around 20,000 euros”.

The battery can cover 180 kilometers. Recharges in 4 hours from a standard electrical 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 2 CV of the 21st century” explains Gael.

Its first objective is to equip local authorities and companies that will have to convert their vehicle fleets to fully electric in the coming years.

But quickly, it is these microfactories that he wants to commercialize. Sell ​​them, sell replacement parts and training to dealers or others.

They will provide assembly as well as sales and maintenance. It will cost them very little upfront investment. A microfactory costs around 250,000 euros“.

Gaël Lavaud intends this way create activity in all parts of the territory.

The advantage of microfactories is that they allow you to develop an economic activity with very little investment where there is nothing. They are adapted to create jobs in our rural environment and in emerging countries that do not have builders.

Gael Lavaud

France 3 Aquitaine

Before seeing the “Gazelle” running, one important step remains to be taken: obtaining official approval. It is scheduled for the end of 2022.

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