Renault mulls cooperation deal with Mitsubishi

Article by Anita Panait, on May 31, 2013

Renault is considering a possible cooperation agreement with Mitsubishi, according to French daily Le Figaro, citing a person privy with the matter. The report said that Mitsubishi is currently cooperating with Nissan, and could benefit from the latter’s strong presence in Asia. Nissan and Renault are currently in alliance.

The paper remarked that Renault is looking for opportunities. Le Figaro reported that Renault’s possible cooperation agreement with Mitsubishi could be similar to that with Mercedes-Benz. Renault has inked partnership agreements with Mercedes parent Daimler to develop future Twingo and Smart cars, commercial vehicles and engines.

Mitsubishi currently provides sports utility vehicles and electric city cars to PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and aims to strengthen their alliance via capital tie-up made in 2010. PSA sells the Peugeot 4008 and Citroen C4 Aircross that are both based on the Mitsubishi ASX.

The French carmaker also sells the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero electric cars, which are based on the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Mitsubishi and PSA operate a joint venture site in Kaluga, Russia.

While there are a number of fully electric vehicles on the market, the Citroën C-Zero manages to stand out as it is the only one that is equipped with a permanent magnet synchronous motor. This motor is capable of offering 64 bhp (47 kW) from a low of 3,000 rpm to as high as 6,000 rpm. Meanwhile, peak torque is measured to be 180 Nm and already available starting at 2,000 rpm.

All of the power generated are sent to the axle in the rear through the single-speed reduction gear. For the motor itself, it is powered with the current version of the lithium-ion battery system that offers 330 volts. This battery system is composed of 88 50-Ah cells, allowing for onboard 16 kWh energy, which has been mounted in the vehicle’s center. By utilizing lithium-ion technology, it made sure that the weight of the battery stayed the same.

Further, it also brings with it that equivalent performance. This technology is resistant when it comes to partial changes, something that has no incidence when it comes to battery longevity. On the inside, you won’t see the usual fuel gauge but instead, there’s an indicator that shows the current battery charge. Driving the C-Zero is simple as all the driver needs to do is turn the ignition key and after which a beep sounds if the car is already running.

Drivers will realize that this model works like a regular vehicle fitted with an automatic gearbox. Should the battery ever be drained, it is easy to perform the recharge. All that needs to be done is to look for a 220-volt socket and plug the supply cord to it. A full and complete charge would take 6 hours. However, it is possible to reach 80% of the full charge within 30 minutes. This can be done with an external station that uses 125 A single-phase current at 400 V to result in a maximum power of 50 kWh.

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