How an idea born in Paris-Saclay can change the automotive industry

Co-founders V-Motech

Sébastien and Stéphane Olevier, winners of the Paris-Saclay Invest award for innovative entrepreneurship in 2013, together with motorization specialist Nicolas Bion, have designed a solution that is revolutionizing the world of automotive industry testing.

The time is right for outsourcing in the automobile industry, a movement which has spread to testing activities. Until recently, constructors and their equipment manufacturers had their own technical centers to test their new engines or any other equipment. Then the Great Recession came along. The trend now is to outsource this testing to external technical centers. The advantage of this is that the constructor or equipment manufacturer is no longer responsible for the cost of construction, operation and maintenance for these centers, now paying only for what they use. But even this solution is far from ideal: it effectively forces the project team, its engineers and technicians, to travel with whatever is to be tested. This involves considerable costs, including in terms of time.

Hence the idea of designing a mobile test facility! In simple terms, it is no longer the company which travels to a specific location, but the test facility itself. Another considerable advantage is that of confidentiality. The object is no longer tested in front of potential competitors who may be present at the same technical center…

The brains behind this idea are three young entrepreneurs, all car fanatics. The company V-Motech was officially created in October 2012 after a gestation period of several months.

Constructors are now focusing again on their sector, and think twice before investing in a technical center, for which amortization needs to be taken into account, as well as operation and maintenance costs, for relatively infrequent use. “In addition to which”, adds Stéphane, one of the co-founders, “you also have the increased requirements in terms of reliability and quality of tests, in particular to respond to longer warranties for vehicles, ever stricter regulations and increasingly complex technological developments. This results in a need for specific and complementary test facilities”.

The test facility designed by our three entrepreneurs is called V-ROAD. Respecting the dimensions required by traffic laws, it includes everything needed to perform vehicle testing in simulated road and weather conditions. If a constructor for example wishes to test an engine traveling at 120 km/h on a sloping road at an altitude of 2000 m, in high winds and a temperature of -15 degrees? Not a problem. The test bench can simulate everything, or nearly everything, and measure everything: greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter emissions, fuel consumption… In addition to this, the concept offers two further advantages: modularity and sharing: due to its mobility, it can be shared between the customer’s different R&D sites, wherever they may be, in France or abroad. And modularity because it is made available based on requirements, on customer sites or specific sites, with or without engineering and with or without measurement systems.

“Constructors have all the advantages of full possession but only pay for the time they use it. No more costs associated with construction, operation, and maintenance. Its mobility and the fact it can be shared allow V-Motech to improve productivity and reduce the factors which make a technical center a prohibitive and unpredictable expense”, emphasizes Stéphane.

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Jérémy Hervé
Head of Innovation & Economic Development

Speaks : French, English, Japanese and Spanish

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