NEWS – Associated before the coronavirus with the world of trade fairs, the concepts have not disappeared. The latest from the young luxury brand of Stellantis is an electrical technology laboratory.
DS, it seems to us, missed the boat when this label, which designated a parallel line of premium models, cut the umbilical cord with Citroën in 2014 and decided to strike out on its own. At the time, to stand out in a particularly competitive universe, choosing electric power to become the French Tesla was a daring bet, but not meaningless. It is not obvious that DS would have sold many fewer vehicles than at present. As a bonus, the new brand would have played the role of a technology laboratory for the whole group.
A single-seater chassis
With four Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles won in the Formula E (FE) electric single-seater world championship, its legitimacy in this market could not be called into question. Finally, on the production front, DS entered through the back door with a DS3 Crossback that shares its electric platform with the Peugeot 208. It is only from 2024 that DS will only launch vehicles electrical. The DS4 E-Tense will be the first model of this new generation of zero-emission vehicles. It is not excluded that this vehicle benefits from the expertise acquired in Formula E and from the test bench that constitutes the E-Tense Performance, the brand’s latest concept.
Launched last year, the design of this coupe prototype, which we were able to follow, gives clues to the style of future DS models, but also to future technological developments. As much for cost reasons as for deadlines, the DS Performance and style office teams started from an existing base, the 2015 E-Tense concept, on which only the monocoque carbon cell was kept. The new front and rear bonnets prepare the evolutions of the DS style. This study is especially valid for its technology which owes a lot to the world of competition.
The engineers have grafted the running gear and electrical systems of the DS FE21 single-seater entered in the current FE championship, the final of which is scheduled for Marrakech on July 2, onto the existing structure. Both electric motors come from the FE. That of the front of 340 hp is combined with that of the rear of 475 hp borrowed from the third generation of single-seaters which will come into force in 2023. With the trifle of 815 hp, the DS E-Tense Performance thus becomes the car the most powerful of the Stellantis group. Those responsible for the project announce breath-taking performances for the pilot: only 2 seconds to reach 100 km/h. A vigor which would result largely from a controlled mass. Barely 1,250 kilos.
An experimental battery
The relative lightness of the DS concept is based not only on the carbon structure and bodywork, but also on the adoption of a battery weighing barely 250 kilos. Developed by Saft and placed at the rear in a central rear position in a carbon-aluminum composite casing, these accumulators present solutions that could enable the world of electricity to make significant progress. The partners remain silent on the technology, but both the battery chemistry and the cooling system are innovative. Thermal management, one of the key factors in battery performance, relies on a custom-designed cooling system. Cells and electronics are immersed in a fluid that regulates temperature.
By avoiding overheating, this system permanently guarantees the perfect performance of the battery. This has a capacity of barely 25 kWh. For comparison, that of the DS3 Crossback E-Tense provides 50 kWh. If the engineers dispensed with installing a large battery, it is because the concept has breathtaking regeneration power: up to 600 kW. About six times higher than what the best electric models on the market offer. Finally for recharging, thanks to the 800 V installation, the power reaches 350 kW. Five minutes are enough to fill up. Through the DS concept, we already perceive that the world of electrics is becoming more tamed every day. He is still far from having revealed all his secrets