Aerodynamics Are Key to EV Efficiency, Says Renault
Renault head of research, advanced studies and materials, Remi Bastien, doesn't think that reducing weight is as important for EVs as aerodynamics.
Is Black the Most Aerodynamic Color?
As Bastien told Auto Express, the BMW i3's lightweight structure is mostly for performance gains, not for efficiency. Bastien says that weight definitely hurts efficiency of ICE vehicles, but not so much when it comes to EVs.
The argument Bastien is trying to make is that Renault could develop an ultra-lightweight EV, but the buyer wouldn't necessarily see the benefits, aside from performance, which isn't a core value for Renault.
“Reducing weight is important for petrol and diesel cars, but less so for EVs – aerodynamics is more important for efficiency in electric vehicles. Weight can be used to help regenerative braking in an EV to harvest more kinetic energy when slowing down."
“I think the main reason BMW uses lightweight carbon fibre on the BMW i3, for example, is because of performance, because of what the brand stands for – not necessarily for efficiency.”
Several comments have been made of the BMW i3's expensive carbon fiber construction. Was it done just to boost performance? Or was BMW hoping to increase efficiency with its use of lightweight material too? Bastien's comment seems to suggest that if BMW's intent was to increase efficiency, then perhaps more focus should have been placed on the vehicle's aerodynamics, not on its weight.
Despite the i3 low-for-a-BMW price tag, we can't help but wonder if it would cost i3 buyers $10,000 less if carbon fiber wasn't used throughout.
Bastien's comments hint that any future Renault EVs will focus heavily on aero, as we see in the Nissan LEAF and to somewhat less of a degree in the Renault Zoe.
BMW i3's Costly Carbon Fiber Components Are Mostly There for Performance, Not Efficiency, Says Renault.
Source: Auto Express