Peugeot Citroën, Exagon, Hydro-Québec & Others Partner On New Electric Drivetrain

FEB 27 2016 BY MARK KANE 13



Québec Premier Philippe Couillard announced at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, a research and development initiative between the Gouvernement of Québec, Hydro-Québec (with its subsidiary TM4), PSA Peugeot Citroën and Exagon Motors.

Their goal is to develop a new high-performance electric drivetrain that will be manufactured by TM4 in Québec.

“TM4 will act as the developer of the electric powertrain in the pre-development phase of the project.

During this process, TM4 will develop a new, highly efficient and high performance drivetrain. This system will be a state-of-the-art evolution of the TM4 MOTIVE series, consisting of permanent magnet electric motors and power electronics. Specifically designed for passenger cars and light-duty vehicles, these systems are effective turnkey solutions created expressively for electric vehicles. This new powertrain will be designed and manufactured at TM4’s headquarters in Boucherville, Quebec.”

The government promised $10 million (CAD) equity interest and a $6 million (CAD) loan for the project, while Hydro­Québec will contribute another $4 million (CAD). In total, the project will cost nearly $31 million (CAD) .

Our concerns of commercialization of the product arose when we found that the $31 million is only for a feasibility study, but hopefully companies like PSA will introduce some high-performance plug-in DS-series model using those drivetrains.

“The resulting joint venture will bring together PSA Peugeot Citroën, French SME Exagon Motors, Investissement Québec and Hydro-Québec subsidiary IndusTech. Its first mission will be to conduct a feasibility study for an estimated CAD 30.8 million. In an initial phase, the study could lead to the development of components for high-performance electric vehicles.”

PSA Peugeot Citroën would lend its expertise in integrating the electric vehicle components, for which it would become the main customer for worldwide distribution.

The Québec electric drivetrain project seems to have many supporters:

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said:

“My government intends to make Quebec a standard-bearer in the campaign to electrify transport. Our commitment to the project announced today and our 2015-2020 Transportation Electrification Action Plan are another milestone in the drive to develop the electric car sector, and they will help to spread a culture of innovation throughout Quebec.”

The Hon. Navdeep Bains commented:

“Canada’s government is determined to promote innovation within the Canadian economy and fully assert its role as an advocate of new investment, exports and growth. The financial backing provided to the joint venture formed by PSA Peugeot Citroën, Exagon Motors, Investissement Québec and Hydro-Québec is a powerful example of our determination to support companies that are focusing on innovation and collaboration.”

Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the PSA Managing Board remarked:

“The agreement with Investissement Québec, Exagon Motors and Hydro-Québec demonstrates that we have the agility to seize every available opportunity to boost our technological lead. The partnership also underscores our interest in developing parts for high-performance hybrid and electric vehicles.”

Luc Marchetti, Chairman of Exagon Motors said:

“I am really looking forward to this unique partnership, which will enable us to deliver a technology that meets both performance and environmental criteria, without taking the fun and excitement out of driving. This amazing adventure, which got started here at Exagon, is taking shape thanks to the unwavering commitment of the partners, especially PSA Peugeot Citroën and Investissement Québec, which has been a real catalyst for the project.”

Pierre Gabriel Côté, President and Chief Executive Officer of Investissement Québec added:

“When we met with Exagon Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroën, we instantly saw the natural connection between their project and the opportunities available in Quebec to make it happen. We were able to leverage a number of strengths to get this remarkable project up and running, including our own source of clean renewable energy, our existing manufacturing base for the transport industry and, in particular, our advanced aerospace industry expertise.”

Eric Martel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Québec said:

“Hydro-Québec is delighted to be supporting a real-world project in the field of electric transport, which is a priority for our company. We play a very active role in the sector with, for example, Electric Circuit, our public charging network for electric vehicles, and our leading-edge technologies developed at the Hydro-Québec Research Institute. The fact that a major carmaker like PSA Peugeot Citroën is taking an interest in TM4 products is a testament to their quality and enviable reputation at the international level.”

Robert Baril, COO of TM4 commented:

“TM4 is thrilled to be working with partners recognized for their technological expertise vanguard. Already well established as a supplier of electric powertrains in the commercial transport sector, this partnership represents a major breakthrough for TM4 in the passenger car industry”.

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13 Comments on "Peugeot Citroën, Exagon, Hydro-Québec & Others Partner On New Electric Drivetrain"

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Some mid weight player’s with political partner!
Hum, I just don’t see it happening.
But I like to be wrong.


It’s interesting they are pushing for permanent magnet motors, which means rare earth. I would have thought Tesla’s success would make people avoid them as unnecessary.

Perhaps neodymium has become cheaper.


Renault has forgone any magnets in their motors entirely, or atleast the original Zoe motor. They use slip rings to power a coil (to replace the magnet) in the rotor.

This also why they can use the motor controller for the AC charger.

Bill Howland

Wound rotor motors have been made for over 100 years, being much more common 100 years ago. That is what you are describing here.

How Peugeot can avoid an American Propulsion Lawsuit, while newer teslas have superfluous additional chargers is a bit puzzling. I was under the impression that only Roadsters were exempt.

Perhaps the fact that their MAINS input is 3 phase (as is any regeneration in any ev) allows them to claim their design is TOTALLY Different.

Bill Howland

Totally Different in this case means 2 more diodes and 1 more wire.

Big Deal.


Canada’s north holds lots of rare earth deposits including neodymium.


Remy has a PM motor that does not use a lot of rare earth elements. They also have an inductive.


The search for the “God Battery”

Hydro-Quebec is also into batteries. The company spends about 100 million a year in research, some for batteries. They have a well-known and respected battery researcher, electro-chemist Karim Zaahib. “Hydro-Québec, Canada’s largest hydroelectric utility, already holds dozens of patents and has licensed out some 40-odd battery and energy-storage technologies to companies worldwide, including Sony and BASF.”

For anyone interested, this Feb-2016 article below discusses some of their current battery research.


Ok. This sounds like a crony siphon of tax dollars. What is the usefulness of a feasibility study for traction motor technology that’s already proven in commercialization for close to a decade.


“PSA Peugeot Citroën would lend its expertise in integrating the electric vehicle components”

What expertise?
At this point, PSA’s total experience in EVs is limited to rebadging the i-MiEV (as the recently discontinued Peugeot iOn and the Citroën C-Zero) and the recently announced, not yet produced, e-Méhari. There was also one concept PHEV last year.


PSA has been selling the 3008 & 508 Hybrid4 systems since 2011 which used a diesel engine to drive the front wheels and a Siemens electric motor to drive the rear wheels, but it had no plug.

I believe Siemens also supply the same unit to the Volvo V60 PHEV and the more recent XC90 PHEV.

All Peugeot has to do is increase the Panasonic supplied battery pack from 1.6kwh to the usual 8-10kwh to join the band of low range PHEVs


Sounds like a political boondoggle. EV motors are a known quantity and readily available cheap.
And why use RE’s when they limit performance and raise costs? There is a reason Tesla doesn’t use them.
And why are the pictured ones so big? Are they for buses? For cars should be 50% of the size.


Like jerryd I was amazed at how big the motors were in the picture. The TM4 website says they make motors for commercial vehicles like garbage trucks and buses that are designed for low rpm – high torque.

According to Siemens:

“Permanent magnet synchronous torque motors typically have 30%-60% higher torque capacity and 30% better torque utilization with faster acceleration and deceleration, compared to asynchronous induction type motors…”

The drawback for PM motors has been that they employ rare earth materials.