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French Auto Makers Display Future EVs at Copenhagen Climate Summit

Renault is offering delegates to the conference test drives of its electric cars, while Peugeot is taking part in two side events, the Climate Exchange and the Bright Green Event.

PARIS – French auto makers Renault SA and PSA Peugeot Citroen, hoping to gain respect for their environmental stance, display future electric vehicles in Copenhagen during this week’s international climate summit, where 200 nations are converging to begin talks on a new accord.

Renault brings its Fluence Z.E. and Renault Kangoo Express Z.E., as well as the show car Kangoo Be Bop Z.E. from Frankfurt. PSA shows its Peugeot 207, iOn and 3008 HYbrid4. Only the Peugeot 207, emitting 99 g/km of carbon dioxide, actually is on sale, but the others all are planned for introduction in 2010 and 2011.

Renault has had a memorandum of understanding with Denmark since March 2008 for the introduction of EVs there in first-half 2011. Denmark and Israel will be the first countries to get the Renault Fluence Z.E., equipped with a Quick Drop battery-exchange system endorsed by the California firm Better Place, which is organizing the electric infrastructure in the two countries.

Renault is offering delegates to the climate conference test drives of its electric cars.

PSA has the second-best record in Europe for low CO2 emissions, after Fiat Automobiles SpA, and is trying to recapture the EV halo it held between 1995 and 2004, when it was making nearly 10,000 electric cars.

Automobiles Peugeot is taking part in two side events at the conference, the Climate Exchange and the Bright Green Event, and it will hold a press conference Dec. 13 at the Copenhagen Planetarium.

At the same time that the climate conference opened today, PSA is showing its latest concept car in Lyon, France: a 2-seat coupe convertible powered by a fuel cell and lithium-ion traction battery.

Built from a Peugeot 307, the car is being shown at a hydrogen conference and exposition.

A 70 kW electric motor drives the car. Electricity comes from either the 13 kWh Li-Ion battery from Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions LLC or the fuel cell developed with the French atomic-energy commission CEA that generates 23 kW.

With 9.3 lbs. (4.2 kg) of hydrogen stored at 10,150 psi (700 bars) onboard, the car has a range of 311 miles (500 km). The range on the battery, alone, is 47 miles (75 km).

The key technology in the car is the new fuel cell, a result of a public-private research project called FiSyPAC started in January 2007 and presented in November at the French Mobilis 2009 conference.

PSA says research has quadrupled the lifespan of the fuel cell and improved its efficiency 20%, using what it calls a hydrogen recirculation-ejector system.

In addition to working with the CEA, PSA is working with the fuel-cell laboratory at the Technological University of Belfort-Montbeliard; engineering-specialists Bertin Technologies SA and Sherpa Corp. Engineering; electronic-suppliers A2E Technologies and 3D-Plus; and steel maker ArcelorMittal and its subsidiary IMPHY Alloys.

In spite of the progress, PSA believes fuel cells will not be important commercially before 2020-2025 due to the cost of fuel cells and batteries and the lack of hydrogen infrastructure.

TAGS: Vehicles
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