La Gazelle, the 2 CV of the 21st century, is a low-tech and electric car designed in Bordeaux

This is a nugget born in Bordeaux in the Gironde. The Gazelle is made from composite material in micro-factories, soon. Very light, it consumes almost half the volume of its competitors. Its designer wanted to launch a new model in the industry. This article was published on February 15, 2022.

Is Gaël Lavaud a visionary? He has been thinking about changing manufacturing methods in the automotive industry for years. He is now close to the goal.

A graduate of the prestigious Ecole Centrale de Lyon, former development director of the Renault group, he is convinced that the future will be “low tech” the exact opposite of high-tech.

Even a technology based on simplicity, stability, made locally and more artisanal than industrial.

Contrary to gigafactories that concentrate production in one place and then export worldwide, on the contrary, we want to distribute the micro-assembly workshops in the four corners of the world and create jobs where they use.

Gael Lavaud

France 3 Aquitaine

This model, he took eight years to develop.

This Monday morning, he welcomed us to the very first “factory” he designed, which was set up in the area of ​​the Bordeaux Technowest startup incubator in Blanquefort, in the Bordeaux metropolis.

Four containers are connected, no big machine, no robot inside…

It is very rare to have three containers dedicated to assembly and one underneath for storing spare parts. You have a concept of low technology logic where we will make the assembly and maintenance of vehicles as simple as possible”.

With a toolbox and a little compressed air you can build cars!

Gael Lavaud

France 3 Aquitaine

In effect. Gazelle chassis are assembled in an hour, like a lego. And for good reason: there are only 10 elements to assemble compared to about 300 for a classic car.

The secret? This is the material used. No iron, no expensive equipment.

It is a technology of town center entirely of composite material. With fiberglass combined with other cheap materials that allow exceptional mechanical behavior in terms of energy absorption and stiffness. “explained Gaël Lavaud who got the highest score in the crash test.

Its technology is patented and closely guarded secret.

In addition to being easy to assemble, the composite material makes the car very light.

It weighs about 900 kg, we can even lower it to 800 “said the Girondin designer. Whereas a classic city car weighs at least 1.2 tons.”

Lightness means less consumption because three-quarters of a car’s consumption is its weight. By simplifying as we have done, we reduce consumption by about 40%.

“And then, one of the big costs of the electric vehicle is its battery. There, by reducing the battery, we get the same autonomy as the others. Thanks to this we were able to have a competitive vehicle at the price. comes out about 20,000 euros”.

The battery can cover 180 kilometers. It recharges in 4 hours on a standard power outlet. ” This is a car that does not exceed 100 km / h. The idea is to have a simple and efficient vehicle for all daily trips, it’s a little like 2 CV in the 21st century” Gael explained.

Its first purpose is to equip local authorities and companies that need to change their fleets to all-electric vehicles in the next few years.

But quickly, these micro factories are what he wants to sell. Sell ​​it, sell spare parts and train dealers or others.

They will provide assembly in addition to sales and maintenance. Their initial investment costs are very low. A micro factory is around 250,000 euros“.

Gaël Lavaud thus refers to activity in all parts of the territory.

The advantage of micro-factories is that they make it possible to develop an economic activity with very little investment where there is none. They are adapted to create jobs in our rural areas and in developing countries where there are no builders.

Gael Lavaud

France 3 Aquitaine

Before seeing the “Gazelle” in action, an important step must be taken: obtaining official homologation. It is scheduled for the fall of 2022.

Here is the report by C. Albo and S. Delalot

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