Today, a vehicle that consumes only two litres per 100 kilometres is a sweet dream for the thousands of drivers who go to the pump every day to fill their tanks. But tomorrow it could well become a reality.
The HEF group (2,500 employees, 2017 revenue: €200 million), based in Andrézieux-Bouthéon and Saint-Etienne, is working on this subject as part of the national project called IMOTEP with Total, University Jean Monnet de St-Etienne, l’Ecole Centrale de Lyon, Porsche, Volkswagen, Citroën and Peugeot. As part of the IMOTEP project, HEF hopes to succeed in reducing friction in vehicle engines through innovative coatings. Objective: reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles by 5 to 10% and reduce fuel consumption.
"To carry out this project, we lacked means to characterize friction," says Philippe Maurin Perrier, co-president of HEF Group. So the company decided to do things big. A 1,000 m² R&D platform specifically dedicated to these friction problems will be built on the site near the Cité du Design in Saint-Etienne. It will accommodate very high level equipment. This platform represents an investment of €7 million. It should welcome engine manufacturers from all over the world for their R&D and testing. The work is expected to start in a few weeks and will last a year.