The motors will be built in Renault’s factory in Cleon, northern France, which produces the current generation of motors. As with Renault’s existing motors, they will be built without rare earth metals, which have raised concerns because of their price volatility and control by China.
The powerplants will be able to produce 200 kilowatts, which would represent a significant increase over Renault’s existing motors. The motor in the automaker’s latest electric vehicle, the Megane E-Tech Electric compact, has an output of 160 kw.
The new motors will appear by 2027, the companies said, without offering more specifics. Renault and Valeo said they had signed a memorandum of understanding to create a partnership.
Renault will outsource the design and production of the stator — the static component in an electric motor — to Valeo and Valeo Siemens eAutomotive, a joint venture that Valeo has just taken full control over. Stators, which use copper windings, are now produced in the Cleon factory.
The companies said Valeo’s expertise in copper wire assembly would allow it to use a higher density of copper in the stator, resulting in more power from the same amount of energy.
The rotor — the part of an electric motor that spins — and overall architecture of the motor will be designed by Renault, the companies said.
Renault’s technology, which it calls Externally Excited Synchronous Motors, is used on nearly all of its vehicles. A wound rotor replaces the permanent magnets found in the vast majority of motors in use today, and the rotor is excited by electrical energy rather than a magnetic field. BMW uses a similar technology.
The supply and distribution of rare earth metals is controlled by China, and many automakers are seeking to reduce their content in their electric motors, if not eliminate them altogether.
The Megane E-Tech Electric is the first salvo in a major EV offensive at Renault, which was a pioneer with the Zoe small car launched in 2013 but is in danger of falling behind mass market rivals such as Volkswagen.
The Megane will be followed by a compact SUV, three high-performance EVs from sports-car brand Alpine, the Renault 5 small car, and what is expected to be a small SUV inspired by the classic Renault 4L.