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Power In Motion

Proven and reliable engine

for innovative electric car

Posted on March 22, 2012 - ( views)

by Constanze Schmitz

The Mia is the first model sold by Mia electric. This electric car is designed for the city, and its engine needed to be compact, provide a good mass yield and reduced space and battery weight

Mia electric is a new car manufacturer which exclusively designs electric vehicles. The company offers economic mobility without emissions and accessible to the greatest number, to respond to the realities of individual towns and larger metropolitan areas and to face the increase in the oil prices. The company is owned by a Franco-German partnership and is based in Western France, in Cerizay, Deux-Sèvres where a state-of the art assembly plant can currently produce 12, 000 units in a full year, or 1, 000 cars a month. To date, the company employs 450 people. Mia electric was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010. The company was formed having been acquired from renowned car developer, Heuliez.

The Mia is the first model sold by Mia electric. Since September 2011, the Mia has been on sale to private individuals. This electric car designed for the city, stands apart by the requirements it intends to meet: "Compactness, spaciousness, driving simplicity, easy access, economy, and fun".

Patrick Largeau of Mia Electric explains: "Several criteria have guided our decision for choosing the right engine." First of all, the engine performance: It must be compact, provide a good mass yield and reduced space and battery weight. Then, the supplier´s ability to take part in an automotive development approach is essential. Finally, we needed a very reliable solution to make sure our customers have no problem. Moreover, for the Mia, we made the early choice to use a standard product, not only because the car needed to be developed quickly, but also because we needed a proven and reliable solution.

"Many suppliers have approached us." To our requirements, we thought that Leroy-Somer was the best choice. Leroy-Somer has a true technological mastery in motors for electric cars. They have been really supportive in all stages of development, be it for the technical aspects or in taking part in "competitiveness" working groups, and they also have a good knowledge of the complete drive train, which is an advantage to integrate into the solution. You feel they are reliable. I would add another advantage with Leroy-Somer, developments are possible: They are one of the few manufacturers with whom you can switch from asynchronous motors to synchronous motors, with the same technological guarantees", continues Patrick Largeau.

"The Mia was designed to meet a well defined need: To cover 80% of urban journeys." The mia offers 80 km of autonomy in model 8 kWh and 130 km in model 12 kWh. This is an elegant, economical and ecological solution for urban mobility with its own personality, a unique and attractive design. It is very practical: The sliding doors extend from the roof right down to the floor of on both sides making it easy to get in and out of the car, to load and unload, and they also make it simple for parents to sit their children in the car and to take them out. The central position of the driver seat ensures a wide visibility on both sides; ensuring a safe and careful driving.

Pierre-Emmanuel Sarre, CEO of the Drive Systems Division, explains: "We have invested the necessary resources to meet our ambitions in this sector."

Leroy-Somer has a multi-skills Centre of Excellence dedicated to electric vehicles, whose Design and Engineering offices are composed of 15 specialists fully mastering the quality standards required by the automotive sector. The company can also rely on the acquired experience and know-how of a 500 staff plant. "As an evidence of our commitment, we have dedicated a standalone manufacturing unit composed of two lines; one for the synchronous technology and another for the asynchronous technology", Pierre-Emmanuel Sarre adds.

Leroy-Somer has today many assets on the market, as evidenced by its CEO: "While relying on the expertise of the Group, we had to adapt to the specific quality requirements of the automotive market." We set up a technical test platform with a view to increasing the engine reliability and meet the specific constraints of the solution. For example, we have changed the winding impregnation to enhance the vibration resistance. "With more than 10, 000 marketed vehicles equipped with Leroy-Somer engines, the reliability of our solutions is widely proven". "Finally, we are a technically way ahead of the competition in terms of mass power and compactness."

Today, Leroy-Somer designs and industrializes very high efficiency motors with unparalleled compactness and mass levels. New technologies we will help us reduce the engine mass by 10 to 15%, which will help increase the vehicle autonomy".

A long experience in electric vehicles Leroy-Somer has been powering electric vehicles for 40 years. In 1995, for example, Leroy-Somer took part in the launch of the electric Peugeot 106, equipped with a DC engine and separate excitation. This technology offered the advantage of a maximum engine torque at low speed. Nearly 8, 000 engines were thus produced. At the time, the electric Peugeot 106 took part in the largest-ever experiment in Europe to develop a fleet of self-service electric vehicles, which took place in the city of La Rochelle. This was a real large-scale test for both manufacturers and equipment fitters!

The vast experience gained by the company through many projects allows Leroy-Somer to offer a complete package of motor technologies:
- The asynchronous motors, cooled by air or water, whose reliability and ruggedness are widely proven,
- The synchronous motors characterized by especially high performance,
- The new motors with permanent magnets offer unprecedented specification in terms of performance, compactness and noise level.

These engines are solutions in the areas of traction for vehicles and light quadricycles, heavy quadricycles, tricycles, utility vehicles, the traction for cars and hybrid vehicles, refrigeration in trucks or air conditioning in buses.

"Our target is the small and medium-sized series markets." "The share of the electric vehicle market in our sales is already significant, " Pierre-Emmanuel Sarre concludes. Considering the current development of the electric vehicle, Leroy-Somer may expect in the short term a strong growth in its sales by about 50%.


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