Renault and the CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, le Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives) have signed a cooperative research and development agreement that encompasses work on electric vehicles, new energies, and cleaner combustion engines.
Under the terms of this agreement, cooperation between Renault and the CEA will take the form of joint project teams working together at several sites. A Renault/CEA Strategic Steering Committee will be responsible for management. It will identify areas of synergy and the corresponding objectives, approve the three-year research and development program and ensure that a win-win balance is maintained for each party, particularly with respect to results and their use.
The committee will be chaired jointly by the head of the DREAM (Research, Advanced Studies and Materials division) at Renault and the CEA technological research director.
Following the detailed studies conducted by Renault and the CEA in 2009 to identify possible synergies, four main areas of research have been set out:
- new energies in transport;
- upgrades in electrical and electronic architecture;
- improvements in the competitiveness of combustion engines; and
- connected vehicles.
The two partners are committed for a period of three consecutive years, extendable by tacit agreement from one year to the next. To ensure that the teams remain in place over the long term, Renault and the CEA have set what they describe as up a “significant” provisional annual budget.
The aim for Renault is to achieve technological breakthroughs by developing a broader view of mobility in order to offer users cleaner vehicles, affordable by the greatest number. The CEA will provide input and suggestions to help Renault reach these objectives. The CEA has multidisciplinary expertise in several key areas of sustainable mobility and will draw upon all its resources in the area of technological research.
The studies must create value for customers as part of a win-win balance with Renault.
Sustainable mobility is one of the key issues of our time. Developing solutions that respect users and the environment is an aim that can be achieved only through close cooperation between the public and private sectors, and we are delighted that the CEA is committed to working with us.
—Odile Desforges, Executive Vice-President, Engineering and Quality, at Renault
The CEA is a French government-funded technological research organization active in three main fields: Energy; Information and Health Technologies; and Defense and Security. Mainly through its labs based in Grenoble, the CEA aims at developing new energy technologies and focus on three keys areas: electrical technologies for transportation; solar energy and low energy consumption buildings; nanomaterials for energy.
This strategic cooperation with Renault perfectly illustrates the CEA’s new mission in the field of alternative energies. The innovations we aim to develop together will contribute to a form of automotive mobility that respects the environment and delivers benefits for the largest possible number of our fellow citizens, through a major industrial partnership.
—Bernard Bigot, Chairman of the CEA
In November 2009, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, CEA and the French Strategic Investment Fund (FSI) signed a letter of intent to set up a joint venture company that will develop and manufacture batteries for electric vehicles, under the patronage of Christian Estrosi, the French Minister for Industry. (Earlier post.)
In December 2009, the CEA and its industrial and financial partners launched the first phase of construction of a pilot thermochemical biomass-to-liquids (BTL) unit in Bure Saudron, which is located 80 km from Nancy in northeastern France. (Earlier post.)