By on February 28, 2011

Developing a new car with traditional technology costs an arm and a leg. Add future technology, and you are starting to talk real money. You need to spread the R&D costs across a lot of cars. The trouble is, massive sales of EVs are still just a dream. What to do in such a dicey situation? You look for partners. Renault and Daimler hammered out a new agreement. “Renault will supply the electric motors for the Smart and Twingo, we develop and make the batteries for both models,” Daimler’s head of research and development Thomas Weber told his hometown paper Stuttgarter Zeitung in an interview that will appear today in the print edition.

When Renault, Nissan and Daimler signed a three-way deal last April, batteries were not included. Each side thought they had the better one. Nissan has a Leaf, and what does Daimler have? Now they must have something. Daimler doesn’t want to rely entirely on Renault for the electric motors. They are talking with other suppliers, amongst them Bosch and Conti. “It is perceivable to sell the motors to other manufacturers,” said Weber, “in order to create more volume.”

Confused? You are not alone. Reuters got so lost in the fog of war when they wrote about the “battle for a foothold in the lucrative market for zero-emission vehicles” that they headlined their story with “Renault, BMW agree on Smart, Twingo supply deal.”

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7 Comments on “Electric Alliance: Motors By Renault, Batteries By Daimler...”

  • avatar

    The electric motors will help reduce the cars emission levels resulting in a much cleaner and healthier environment for all. Fantastic idea.

  • avatar

    You don’t get energy from nothing. There must be a source. Electric cars get their energy from either the electric grid or an IC engine. If gotten from the electric grid some process was used to make the electricity, like nuclear power or burning coal, oil or gas. A small, really small, percentage comes from other sources like solar. Most discussions about electric cars seem to ignore the pollution caused by creating the electric power to begin with. It isn’t clean power. We are deluding ourselves that electric cars are the future savior of the environment. Unless the electricity to charge the car is generated by solar power then there is pollution involved. When the MPG figures are calculated the cost for making the original electric power is not considered. Plug-in electric vehicles are not non-polluting. It’s just that the original power generating equipment is not in your backyard. Go watch a coal fired electricity generating plant. You’ll see the pollution all-electric cars generate.

    • 0 avatar

      This is the real impact of electric vehicles that the enviromentalists seem to convienently hide. You want ev’s, better start burning more coal, or burn the fuel oil that ICE used to burn in the powerplants. Yes, ev’s just move the pollution from the roads to the power station enviroment. To paraphrase “Pretty Woman” , its just a matter of geography where the pollution goes, unless you can guarantee that the electricy is totally green. Wind is ok unless (1) no wind, (2) too much wind or (3) enviromentalists have stopped wind farms for being too ugly and noisy. Solar, (1) no sun(?) (2) chemicals for storage (3) sheer expense (4) stopped by enviromentalist because they are too ugly to put in a field. Nuclear, lets not go there girlfriend. (1) dangerous, they blow up and/or burn (Remember Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island, Windscale), (2) Waste, long life plutonium (but the radon gas seeping from coal stockpiles puts more radioactivtiy into the air than a correctly operating nuclear plant), (3) Expense, (4) Stopped by  enviromentalists for the above reasons.
      In conclusion the enviromentalists want ICE to go away, but prevent ev’s by stopping most of the known power sources from being built or expanded.
      I think they still hanker for the horse and cart, but would probaly shy(!) away from all the methane pollution a small city would generate :)

    • 0 avatar

      LennyZ, pacificpom2: on a per mile basis, the pollution is much less in an electric vehicle, because a power plant is much less polluting in relative terms than a car engine. This is even true for the most pollution coal fired power plant.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup, here’s a writeup from some alternative energy folks on the subject:

      The answer of what produces less pollution depends on where you live (your local electric power generation mix) and what mileage you think a normal car gets.  (Prius drivers think anything under 50mpg is lousy; everyone else seems to pick other numbers.)

      Also emissions aren’t the only thing to consider.  Importing foreign oil dictates an awful lot of American foreign policy, and several of my college friends joined the military and have been charged with “implementing” that foreign policy with battleships, tanks, and guns and stuff.  Making a 1-1 substitution of coal for oil is a win in this respect.

      In my part of the country (a few hours outside of Chicago), the numbers are likely better than any of the ones on the chart.  Exelon is one of the major producers of power in this area, and they rely primarily on nuclear and natural gas.  Their CEO was even lobbying for carbon restrictions on the grounds that it would screw their competitors more than it would screw them — they dropped out of the US Chamber of Commerce over it and everything.  They aren’t exactly paragons of corporate virtue, but they seem to have done better than most WRT emissions.

    • 0 avatar

      Electric cars produce less local pollution than ICE cars and this is the main advantage as humans are often in the neighbourhood of cars

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    The electrification of vehicles appears necessary, though fossile fuels will remain the most energy dense storage media for vehicle propulsion energy for many years to come, and certainly the most cost effective.
    The best batteries still weigh on the order of 50 times the energy equivalent amount of gasoline or diesel fuel. And they are expensive. Fuel cells – really just a more efficient form battery, though even more expensive- will likely be the future vehicle propulsion energy storage choice. The simple reality is that you can refill a hydrogen fueled vehicle tank about as quickly as your gas tank. Battery recharging will never approach that convenience. 

    Today’s battery electrics vehicles are setting the stage for fuel cell technology deployment when costs are brought down.
    Projections of well over 400,000,000 cars each in China and India, on top of the hundreds of millions already in use around the world make electrification necessary. All vehicles contribute only 1/8 of human carbon emissions, a miniscule 1/2 of 1% (.0045!!)of all carbon emissions, since 96.4% is natural. But, a fast growing global vehicle population will change the equation, whether you believe vehicles or even humans presently play much of a role in “climate change” or not. Geometric vehicle population growth will double and triple populations in the coming decades.
    Conflation of the pollution issues of just one means to generate electric power, fossile fuel, with the issue of vehicle emissions is inappropriate and obfuscates the issue of the vehicle itself. Power generation is a separate factor to be considered. We will always have electric power. If it is necessary to move to non-emitting sources, so be it. An electric car does not care where the power was generated, and it certainly takes the vehicle itself out of the emissions equation.

    The best batteries

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