PSA Peugeot Citroën and energy company Electricité de France (EDF) have formed a collaborative partnership to support the development and marketing of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The technological programs covered by the agreement include defining business models to drive the development of electric vehicles, developing new energy storage technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, and developing vehicle recharging systems and protocols. This would enable vehicles and the network to communicate during recharging. Producing standardized systems and protocols is also part of this process.
“We’re exploring a number of avenues for electric vehicles at the moment,” PSA spokesman Stuart Anderson told Automotive Engineering International. “In practical terms, PSA believes that the market for electric vehicles is clearly in the urban delivery field—short range, inside town, and intensive usage, so you can get your money back from the investment in the electric technology.
“Apart from the pure zero-emissions electric vehicle, we’re also looking at batteries in terms of hybrids, and we’re planning to introduce diesel hybrids from the end of 2010 [and] the beginning of 2011 onwards,” continued Anderson. “Clearly, if we are going to produce hybrid vehicles, and that would be one outlet for our battery research and development programs, we need to find a market for that. So working with EDF is a new way of trying to find that market. EDF as an energy producer would be responsible for putting part of the infrastructure in place.”
“Part of the interest for EDF is to investigate how they could work with a vehicle manufacturer to put in place a recharging station that allows customers to be identified and also deliver the charge in a reasonable amount of time. From our point of view, our interest is in how to capture and store that charge through the powertrain.
“More and more, companies are asking for these kinds of vehicles. We’re in partnership with the French Post Office, ‘La Poste,’ at the moment, running trials with French postmen with the Partner Origin and Berlingo First electric vans, the replacements for the earlier models," he continued. “EDF operates the largest captive electric vehicle fleet in the world—currently 1500 vehicles. We believe, and the evidence is playing out with companies approaching us, that this is going to be the takeoff point for electric vehicles, certainly in the short term.”
Peugeot announced in June that it would collaborate with Mitsubishi Motors Corp. to develop a powertrain for a small urban electric vehicle.
More recently the company has announced that it will partner with Robert Bosch Gmbh of Germany on the diesel-electric hybrid powertrain that PSA Peugeot Citroën revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October. Bosch will be responsible for the development, manufacture, and supply of electric motors and power electronics for the Hy motion 4 hybrid powertrain, which will combine an internal-combustion engine driving the front wheels with hybrid-electric drive to the rear wheels. Such a configuration would be readily adaptable to PSA Peugeot Citroën light commercial vehicles, which cover the weight range up to 4000-kg (8820-lb) gross vehicle weight and feature front-wheel drive across the range.