8 F O C U S
The other approach is the kind of
work we do with Transdev – there
are fewer cars but they are much
higher tech. They are robot-cars, essentially.
But those cars will be used
with less freedom – they will be more
restricted in their use.
You could say the axis is ‘freedom of
use versus autonomy of vehicle’.
‹F.›: Fuel cells are considered to be
an effective means for range extension,
and there are many concept
vehicles that already demonstrate
that. But what about their potential
for being a competitor to batteries
and even fossil fuels? Do you
think that fuel cells could become
‹Kassai›: Discussions around this
have been going on for a long time
now. The speed of development of
that fuel cell technology is still very
slow; the speed of development of
batteries is much faster and is being
heavily invested in right now. The
main roadblocks of hydrogen are the
cost and the fact that the network
for distribution is still not addressed.
With the main investment going to
the distribution network of electricity,
I think the answer is very clear
at the moment. Having said that,
hydrogen fuel cell technology does
have huge potential: Daimler, Nissan
and Ford are incorporating the technology
and as a member of an alliance
with these companies, we know
that the technology is important. So
we’re still looking to see what happens
in this area.
‹F.›: What is the best way to make
cars cleaner and even more efficient
without using any means of electrification?
Do you think that new
types of transmissions are an effective
method of making cars cleaner
and more fuel-efficient?
‹Kassai›: Of course, the transmission
unit is still needed when running
electric cars so the efficiency
of the transmission still needs to be
worked out. The thing is, we need to
make sure the costs are competitive
in different markets across the globe.
As a side point, Renault realizes that
its customers all over the world de-
SVP, PRODUCT PLANNING AT RENAULT GROUP
Born in 1962, Ali Kassai is an engineer who studied at INSA-Lyon and holds
a doctorate in Turbomechanical Vibrations. He began his career at Renault
in 1990 as an Acoustics Research Engineer, before joining the Transmissions
Department as the head of the research unit in charge of clutches
and gearbox housing in 1992.
Ten years later Kassai left engineering to move to the Product Planning
Department as Head of Engines and Transmissions. In October 2008, after
a cross-functional assignment in reducing powertrain diversity, Ali Kassai
was appointed Head of the B Program, in charge of Clio, Captur and Twingo
models, and managed the Edison Project as part of the partnership with
Daimler. In February 2015, Kassai was appointed Vice President, Product
Planning. As of April 1st, 2017, he became a member of the Renault
Management Committee, keeping his role of SVP, Product Planning.