Renault - Centrale Nantes Chair

On 12 September 2016, Centrale Nantes and Renault launched the first Research Chair on the propulsion performance of electric vehicles. A second contract was signed in 2022, extending the chair for a further four years.
2016-2022: Improving the performance of electric vehicles
  • Budget: €4.6M
  • Staff: around thirty people

2022-2025: Improving and validating the performance of electric vehicles. Prospects with hydrogen storage
  • Budget: €1.8M
  • Staff: around twenty people
"Renault has worked with electrification systems for several years. This Chair will be tasked with putting advanced propulsion system technologies in place in order to explore new avenues to optimise the performance, robustness, safety and costs of electric and hybrid engines", explained Philippe Schulz, Director of Design for Electric and Hybrid Powertrains at Renault Groupe.

50,000 new electric cars were registered in Europe in the first half of 2016, an increase of 11% compared to 2015. France is the largest market, followed by Norway, where electric vehicles have captured 13% of the market, the highest market share in Europe. In this context of electric vehicle growth, manufacturers are speeding up the development of their zero emissions vehicles. As the pioneer of the 100% electric vehicle, Renault has already sold more than 100,000 units and is the European leader, with 27% of the market for electric cars and commercial vehicles.

"The decision to combine the resources of Renault and Centrale Nantes will prove decisive in the rise of electric vehicles in France. This new Chair will benefit from the excellence of Centrale Nantes, combined with the expertise of Renault", added Arnaud Poitou, Director of Centrale Nantes.

New initial and in-service training programmes

Further to the research work, two new training programmes are available:
  • Initial training courses for engineering students at Centrale Nantes and international Master's students, dedicated to electrical energy and its generation, management and storage.
  • In-service training programmes for employees of Renault Groupe specific to the control and observation of electric energy.

30 brains in start-up mode
The start-up will be located on campus for the five years that the Chair will operate. A team of about 30 international researchers, engineers, professors, PhD students, post-Doctoral and Master's students associated with teams at Renault will work on three scientific areas:
1. Robust control of electric drive motors
2. Control and management of on-board charging systems
3. Optimising the potential energy of hybrid engine systems.

Centrale Nantes, with its laboratories, is the world leader in hybrid systems and synchronous and asynchronous machines without sensors, offering unique platforms for each area within an academic environment.
With a budget of 4.6 million euros over 5 years (2016-2022), this Chair on electric propulsion performance is led by Malek Ghanes ( University Professor at Centrale Nantes. In 2015 Malek Ghanes received the prize for applied research from the Federation of Electrical, Electronics and Communications Industries (FIECC) for his pioneering work on the development of robust and inexpensive automation. The previous year he was awarded the prize for best article in Control Engineering Practice, a journal of IFAC (International Federation of Automatic Control) for his work on the management of fuel cell energy for electric vehicle applications.

photos: Vincent Jacques
Published on September 14, 2016 Updated on April 22, 2024