In a recent press release, Peugeot gave us an inside look at its manufacturing facilities for electrified vehicles. Peugeot’s team of technicians are responsible for assembling and testing each battery that goes into its electric cars (100% electric or plug-in hybrid) and vans. These experts excel in their field, which is a key value of the Peugeot brand. They are specially trained before they join the European factories of the carmaker in Spain, Slovakia, and France. Each battery is tested to ensure its reliability, performances, and lifecycle.
“The electrification of the Peugeot range is a success: LEV (Low Emission Vehicles) models represent one out of four Passenger Car sales in Europe in the first half of 2022. PEUGEOT provides a wide range of electrified vehicles with the full-electric e-208 and e-2008,” said Jérôme Micheron, Peugeot Product Director. “The New 408, the New 308 (hatch and SW) as the 3008 and 508 (fastback and SW) come with Plug-in Hybrid engines. The LCV offer is complete with 100% electric versions, with e-PARTNER, e-EXPERT and e-BOXER.”
The new 408 is poised to enhance Peugeot’s plug-in hybrid option, which was already improved by the recently launched new 308. In 2022, over 70% of the Peugeot range will be electric across the world. In Europe, in H1/2022, Peugot’s electric cars make up one passenger car out of four, up from one out of every six a year ago.
By 2025, Peugeot says its whole model lineup will have an electric variant. This will necessitate a significant increase in battery production. By next year, according to Peugeot, it will produce around 10,000 batteries a month for its vehicle collection and up to 7,000 batteries a month for its LCV range.
It takes roughly 60 minutes for an expert crew to put up each 50 kWh battery unit (pre-assembled cells and components). 90 minutes are required for the bigger 75 kWh batteries. Each battery is subjected to a series of rigorous checks by the team, ensuring that each unit is guaranteed with an 8-year / 100,000-mile warranty coverage 70% of its charge capacity.
The team then takes the battery pack that was just assembled through a multi-step inspection process. The first test simulates how a battery would operate in a vehicle to verify its dependability. The battery is stimulated at full power use rate during a performance check. Finally, the last test is a seal check. To examine for leaks, the battery unit is pressurized with gas to detect pressure loss. A tight seal will keep water or debris from entering the battery cells and damaging its lifespan or ability to perform well.
The Stellantis Group employs experienced workers in its 5 battery assembly plants: Vigo & Saragossa (Spain), Trnava (Slovakia), Sochaux & Mulhouse (France), and Hordain (France). Both electric and conventional combustion engine vehicles are assembled on the same line.
The technicians who test and assemble the batteries for Peugeot vehicles come from Stellantis’ factories. They are selected based on their skills with electrification and given month-long, specialist training. In order to accommodate the energy transition and the increasing mix of electrified models, both Peugeot and the wider Stellantis Group are increasing how many technicians they have qualified to work on assembling and repairing these types of cars.
In 2022, Peugeot will be releasing several new electrified vehicles. The New 408 will have two different plug-in hybrid powertrains to choose from with 180hp and 225hp options. The New 308 offers these powertrains for both the hatchback and SW versions. All of these new cars are built using an EMP2 platform evolution which allows for 100% electric motorization. At the end of 2021, the LCV range will be completed by He-EXPERT which utilizes both electric and fuel cell technologies.
One Question This Raises
On the surface, it seems like a good idea to build production lines that churn out both EVs and conventional gas-powered vehicles. However, does this make sense in the long run? As more and more countries announce plans to phase out gas cars entirely, will these production lines have to be converted anyway? It seems like a potential waste of resources to build factories that can only produce a limited number of EVs.
Additionally, there’s the problem of being a “jack of all trades, master of none.” The best performing EVs have to be built on a very different platform than gas vehicles to both optimize for the heavy battery pack and to keep centers of gravity low. Can these production lines really churn out both types of vehicles without sacrificing quality?
One example from another article of how this can go poorly is the Mercedes-Benz EQC. The EQC, as we know it, is largely a facelift of the GLC with an electric powertrain. In theory, this makes perfect sense for a firm that mostly produces petrol-powered cars. They can convert to EVs without losing their minds by sharing components and platforms between gas and electric automobiles.
Given the chance, Mercedes could have manufactured a marvelous car with two motors that would handle and perform excellently. Instead, it mostly used the front motor, only involving the rear motor in circumstances such as full-throttle or other difficult situations. So, you’ve got a rather heavy vehicle that is most of the time front-wheel drive and does not have items as low as they could be if it had been a dedicated electric platform.
But, Peugeot could have come up with a better way to build a shared platform vehicle with better drivetrain optimization and batteries placed lower for better handling (among other things they’d probably keep close to the vest).
If the company came up with a better way to do this, it would make things a lot less economically challenging for the it. If they bungled it, they could be in for a rough ride.
Only time will tell if this approach is sustainable in the long run, but for now, it seems to be working well for Peugeot. With experienced workers and a commitment to quality, they are able to produce reliable battery packs for their cars, which puts them ahead of other players at times. And with a mix of both electric and gas-powered cars on their production lines, they are able to accommodate the needs of different markets as the transition happens.
All images provided by Peugeot.
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