• The Gironde start-up Gazelle Tech has developed a light electric vehicle in composite materials, whose assembly is simplified.

  • With a range of 180 kilometres, the car, intended for suburban commuters, will be able to reach a maximum speed of 110 km/h.

  • If approved in 2022, the first Gazelle Tech vehicles could be on the road as early as 2024.

Does the car of the future sleep in a hangar in the Bordeaux suburbs?

It is in a container installed within the walls of the Technowest incubator in Blanquefort, near Bordeaux, that the latest prototype of an electric vehicle with low energy consumption, developed by Gazelle Tech, was assembled.

Instead of the jaguars and lions that populate the imagination linked to the automobile, the start-up chose "a female figure breaking with these values ​​which highlighted lightness and agility", points out Gaël Lavaud, founder and director of Gazelle Tech.

Doctor engineer trained at the central school of Lyon, he has been working on this project for eight years with his team.

“We are increasingly classed in the low-tech category because we made common sense choices [ease of maintenance and simple assembly, for example] and we were subject to significant budgetary constraints.

The first prototype was created in 2015 and the latest has just been subjected to all internal security tests.

If approved in 2022, the first Gazelle Tech vehicles could be on the road as early as 2024.

A difference in weight

“The basic idea for aiming for energy efficiency is to lighten the vehicle because three-quarters of a vehicle's consumption is its weight, in urban and suburban areas,” argues Gaël Lavaud.

Gazelle Tech's electric model currently weighs 900 kg and the start-up is already working to make it lose another hundred kilos, when a petrol Clio weighs 1.3 tonnes and an electric Zoé 1.6 tonnes.

Gazelle Tech plans to offer several types of engines, but the first to be approved will be 100% electric.

"Lightening and local assembly are possible thanks to a chassis technology [complete structure of the vehicle] entirely in composite materials that we have developed and patented and which allows us to lighten the vehicle while maintaining comfort and safety,” says the leader.

The vehicle has been lightened but not the safety, insists the one who spent ten years improving crash tests at Renault "It was not easy, he admits, but now that we absorb five times more energy in crashes than steel per kilo, we have top-notch safety, with costs that remain reasonable.

»

A Lego-style assembly

Contacted by emerging countries interested in home production, the start-up imagined a model of micro-factories based on converted containers which represents a very low investment cost.

Simplicity and efficiency, this is Gazelle Tech's credo at all stages.

“To make a classic chassis, you need 200 to 300 stamped steel parts which represent large investments, explains the founder.

We have ten that can be assembled anywhere, without tools and in one hour.

It's kind of a big Lego.

» An additional asset for shipping vehicles in spare parts.

Three projects for setting up these micro-factories are taking shape in France, including one in Gironde.

"Gazelle Tech does not sell cars but micro-factories, spare parts and training", clarifies Gaël Lavaud, in discussion in particular with various operators, including dealers, for marketing.

Offered at 20,000 euros

The speed at the wheel of this car will be limited to 100/110 km/h.

“To have more power, you need a bigger battery, which has an impact on the price, justifies the manager.

It's a happy medium to offer a vehicle suitable for daily travel.

“Offering a range of 180 km, it will be marketed at 20,000 euros.

He argues that it is only 3,000 euros more expensive than the Dacia Spring (the cheapest electric on the market), which is smaller and entirely made in China.

Renault's Zoé is displayed at a price of 33,000 euros.

Gazelle Tech claims to have found the right balance to offer a more economical vehicle, while meeting the requirements of suburban travel.

“Thanks to the lightening, the reduction in the quantity of battery for the same autonomy and the assembly in micro-factories, the overall environmental impact of this vehicle, taking into account its manufacture and its use, will be 40% lower than all other electric vehicles,” argues its manager.

The company is already considering a new version of its model with fixed solar panels on the roof making the vehicle energy self-sufficient.

It will be able to recharge the equivalent of 30 to 35 kilometers per day, knowing that the average displacement of the French is about 38 km per day.

Our start-up file

Gazelle Tech is looking for investors to secure its production, before moving on to the approvals necessary for marketing.

She comes up against the lack of appetite of French funders for industrial projects and has already turned abroad to make her project a reality, which she had so far managed to carry out only in France.

A compressed air vehicle, presented Thursday in Lille, could be manufactured in the North

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