Aftermarket activity

Industrialization of innovative projects

Hydrogen webinar

Hydrogen webinar

Do not miss Antoine MONVILLE, our Business Development Manager, at the next webinar organized by DINAMHySE, the hydrogen industry cluster based in the Grand Est region of France.

On April 18 at 11am, Antoine will present our company and its activities. Find out how our company works closely with innovative start-ups to provide them with valuable industrial support, helping them to turn their revolutionary ideas into viable solutions for the future.

As a member of the DINAMHySE club, we are honored to be able to showcase our company and participate in the dynamics of this project. As a reminder, the aim of this project is to stimulate and accelerate the development of a hydrogen industry in the Grand Est region, covering the entire value chain, from production to use: mobility, buildings, renewable energy storage, etc., and to implement hydrogen as part of the energy transition. It is financed under the “Be Est Filières d’Avenir” call for projects of the Grand Plan d’Investissement.

Register now to reserve your place and dive into the exciting world of innovation: reserve your place.

Meeting with Mrs Soline GODET

Meeting with Mrs Soline GODET

Earlier this week, we were honored to receive a visit from Ms Soline Godet, Deputy Managing Director of Cosmetic Valley, the French perfumery and cosmetics cluster. This visit was a logical follow-up to the members’ meeting held last week in Strasbourg.

The program included a presentation of the EFI Automotive Group and our subsidiary, followed by a tour of our workshops and production lines. Our teams presented the “Flexiprod 4.0” project, an investment plan to be implemented by 2025, concerning the acceleration of the company’s digitalization and support for innovative companies. It was a very rich morning, thanks to the quality of the discussions we were able to have with Soline GODET, to whom we would like to express our sincere thanks.

For the past 2 years, our company has been a member of Cosmetic Valley, with the aim of promoting its second activity: the industrialization of innovative projects, in conjunction with start-ups.

With our partner Axandus, the industrial accelerator, we had the opportunity to turn the idea of a cosmetics start-up into reality, meeting the needs of one of the top 10 international players in the sector. The product, which will soon be available in stores, represents a minor revolution in fragrance testing.

This was an opportunity for us not only to provide the guarantees of controlled industrialization, but also to contribute to this innovation by offering a precision mini-pump that is perfectly neutral with regard to fragrance. This major project has enabled us to acquire new skills related to this buoyant sector, and we are now ready to use them for other applications.

The evolution of Euro standards

The evolution of Euro standards

In the automotive world, the expression ‘Euro standard’ is undoubtedly one of those most frequently heard today, along with ‘electrification of the fleet’ and ‘sustainable mobility’. However, while the subject is not new, dating back to the 1970s, it is still too often touched upon, even though it deserves to be explored in greater depth. That is precisely the purpose of this article, which we hope you will find interesting and informative.

Euro standards: what exactly are they?

It’s no news to anyone: a combustion engine, whether petrol or diesel, emits gases and particles. Even in the days of disco, this was an established fact, prompting the European Economic Community (forerunner of the EU) to tackle the issue head on. After a few mistakes – who said Brussels habit? – the first real binding regulations were introduced in 1988, initially for heavy goods vehicles.

In 1990, the term ‘Euro standard’ was coined, and little by little the limit values for pollutant emissions were lowered, now including nitrogen oxides (NOX), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and micro-particles.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until 2019 and a vote by the European Parliament that average CO2 emissions were also taken into account, with a target set at 95g/km in 2021, 81g/km in 2025, and 59g/km in 2030. This is actually quite logical – carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global warming, but it is not a direct pollutant as such.

In any case, new vehicles must comply with the Euro VI standard, in accordance with Regulation No. 595/2009 of the European Parliament and of the European Council of 18 June 2009 – and more precisely with its Euro 6d version, from January 2021. To appreciate the extent to which Euro standards have become progressively more stringent, we need look no further than the example of nitrogen oxide. In fact, between 2001 and 2014, the limit was lowered… by 92%!

Of course, with each new standard, carmakers – and equipment manufacturers – have to go back to the drawing board, which involves significant development costs. In any case, this structural trend has led to real technological advances in vehicle efficiency.

It is often said that the United States invents, China copies and Europe regulates. There is obviously some exaggeration in this statement, but there is also some truth, and ultimately, in this case, it is undoubtedly good news for the environment!

A slow, gradual and inexorable development

If you are interested in the details of the changes in Euro standards, here is a summary table:

As a reminder, Euro standards for passenger cars are divided into 9 classes depending on their date of first registration:

  • Euro 1 (from 1 January 1993 to 1 July 1996);
  • Euro 2 (from 1 July 1996 to 1 January 2001);
  • Euro 3 (from 1 January 2001 to 1 January 2006);
  • Euro 4 (from 1 January 2006 to 1 January 2011);
  • Euro 5 (from 1 January 2011 to 1 September 2015);
  • Euro 6b (from 1 September 2015 to 1 September 2018);
  • Euro 6c (from 1 September 2018 to 1 September 2019);
  • Euro 6d-TEMP (from 1 September 2019 to 1 January 2021);
  • Euro 6d (from 1 January 2021).

It should be noted that all the thresholds described above obviously depend on the way in which emissions are measured, and in 2018 the replacement of the NEDC cycle by the WLTP has had a major impact. The new type-approval system is based on tests that are closer to reality, which means that fuel consumption – and pollution – is up, at least on the surface.

At this stage of your reading, you may be wondering about a possible link between these Euro standards and the famous Crit’Air stickers that the ZFEs (Low Emission Zones) are gradually making compulsory. In fact, the relationship is direct and fairly simple to understand – depending on the fuel used and the Euro standard to which a vehicle was subject when it was first registered, a Crit’Air sticker is issued. So, in addition to 100% electric models (Crit’Air 0), Euro V and VI diesels are entitled to a ‘Crit’Air 2’ score, while petrol and hybrids meeting the same standards will be awarded a more favourable ‘Crit’Air 1’ sticker.

And what about the Euro 7 standard?

Initially, these new regulations were due to come into force in mid-2025, with a 35% reduction in NOx emissions from diesel engines and a 13% reduction in fine particles. However, manufacturers have been up in arms, claiming that the deadline is too close and that the necessary investment is being misused, since it could instead be used to deploy 100% electric systems by 2035.

In the face of opposition from eight member countries, not least France, Italy and Poland, the Euro 7 standard was radically revised, and in the end, after much debate… all the emissions thresholds remain the same as for Euro 6d! Once again, the mountain has given birth to a mouse. Only a reduction in fine particle emissions under braking has been added (for all engines), since they will not have to exceed 7 mg/km, then 3 mg/km from 2035. At the same time, the battery life of hybrid and BEV models will have to be ‘controlled’ by this Euro 7 standard.

What’s more, to date we don’t know exactly what this ‘control involves’, nor do we know the methodology used to calculate emissions due to contact between the tyre and the road. Let’s not forget that, all other things being equal, electric models are heavier than internal combustion models, and therefore risk, paradoxically, being penalised more by higher emissions of fine particles during braking… In fact, the Euro 7 standard could still evolve, not to mention the need to include, sooner or later, emissions linked to the manufacture of vehicles, and not just to their use. In other words, while the United States and China are increasing their lead in the all-electric field, the EU has not finished legislating on the subject!

Be that as it may, with combustion and hybrid vehicles still with us for several decades to come, preserving our environment requires not just new standards, but also careful maintenance of the existing fleet! In this context, the ranges offered by our company – particularly those designed to limit pollutant emissions, from DPF sensors to EGTS, for example – have a bright future ahead of them. So we are proud to have such a positive, tangible impact on a daily basis. It’s something that deserves to be highlighted a little more, and this article is a modest attempt to do just that…


Parking sensor kits

Parking sensor kits

We are delighted to announce the official launch of the parking sensor kits, designed to make parking safer and easier than ever!

Our kits include high-quality sensors and associated mounting brackets, providing a complete solution for quick and efficient installation on your vehicle.

But that’s not all! We also offer retail sales of the mounting bracket. So if you need to replace or add extra brackets to your existing equipment, you can now get them direct from us.

There are many advantages to our parking sensor kits:
✅ Ease of installation: our kits are designed to be installed without the need to be a mechanical expert.
✅ Reliability: our sensors use cutting-edge technology to detect obstacles accurately and reliably.
✅ Increased safety: reduce the risk of collisions and damage during parking manoeuvres, protecting your vehicle and those around you.

Supporting humanitarian projects: the 4L Trophy

Supporting humanitarian projects: the 4L Trophy

One of the most legendary rallies is back: the 4L Trophy! In a few figures: 2,400 young people, 1,200 crews, 12 days of adventure, 6,500 km covered, and 20,000 needy children who will receive school supplies.

The programme involves crossing no fewer than three countries in 12 days: the start is in Paris, followed by a stopover in Algeciras in Spain via Biarritz, then a crossing of the Straits of Gibraltar by boat, and 6 stages (averaging 150 km a day) in the deep south of Morocco. The finish is in Marrakech on 23 February.

This year, we will be supporting crew no. 1467, represented by Benjamin de Guigné and Thibaut Anicic – two students with a passion for sport, human adventure and adrenalin, keen to take on the ultimate challenge for young people under 28: the 4L Trophy.

After months of preparation and exchanges, they are ready today for the big departure! Our two participants are in the starting blocks, ready to brave the obstacles that await them over the next ten days. Benjamin, Thibaut, we are counting on you, have a good wind and make the most of every moment!

New range extension

New range extension

We are off to a flying start in 2024 with a new extension to our range. From 1 February, no fewer than 142 items have been added to our catalogue, taking our total to 3,000.

The programme includes a number of new families. These include wheel speed sensors, exhaust temperature sensors, ignition coils and MAP pressure sensors.

For the various ranges concerned, this extension means that 84 million additional vehicles will be covered on the European market.

You will be the first to discover our new parking aid sensor kits. We now offer brackets for fixing the sensor to the inside of the vehicle bumper. Very often, in the event of an impact, the sensor and its bracket are damaged, so it’s necessary to replace both elements – which you’ll find individually or in kit form in our range.

Do diesel engines still have a future?

Do diesel engines still have a future?

These are tough times for internal combustion engines, particularly in Europe – just look at our article from last April, on the scheduled end to their sale in 2035, for proof. However, while petrol engines still seem to have a few good years ahead of them, the same cannot be said of the ‘good old oil’, if you’ll pardon the expression. And yet, just a few years ago, it was (at least in France) the obvious choice, and seemed to be the obvious choice for most categories of vehicle. So what has happened, and is diesel really living out its final days?

Why is diesel no longer as attractive as it used to be?

Since the 1973 oil crisis, diesel has been seen as a particularly relevant fuel, and at the height of its appeal, it accounted for up to 70% of annual sales of new vehicles in France. The “king of fuels” has since been largely dethroned, by petrol on the one hand, but also by hybrid vehicles, and by 2022 it will account for barely 30% of total sales.

The acceleration in the deployment of LEZs (Low Emission Zones) is obviously not unrelated to this situation, since, as a reminder and as an example, the French “Crit’Air sticker” incorporates the problem of fine particles – which diesel engines generate more than petrol engines – so there is no ‘fuel oil’ that can be Crit’Air 1. What’s more, the future Euro7 standard, which is still under discussion, could well be fatal to diesel, which is obviously not likely to reassure potential buyers about the possible discount on their vehicles.

What are the assets – and liabilities – of diesel engines?

Having said that, a number of facts – indisputable in essence (sic) – are worth remembering, starting with the fact that a litre of diesel always contains more energy than a litre of petrol, and that a diesel engine is more efficient. The result is that, whatever we say, whatever we do, and all other things being equal, diesel remains much more fuel-efficient. This is true of petrol, but on long journeys it is also true of hybrids, particularly rechargeable hybrids, since these are extremely heavy vehicles whose fuel consumption soars once the batteries are flat.

For those who drive over long journeys, diesel is still a sensible choice, offering more range between fill-ups. What’s more, diesel engines are more torquey than petrol engines, which makes them a different kind of driving pleasure – no more exhilarating revs, but when it comes to towing large vehicles – did someone in the audience say ‘SUV’? – apart from 100% electric, and that’s another debate.

Let’s not forget either that if you drive with a right foot that’s a bit heavy – beware of the photomatons on the roadside – the fuel consumption of a diesel block can effectively double… when that of a petrol engine of equivalent power will triple, or quadruple!

What’s more, while diesel does unfortunately emit more fine particles and nitrogen oxides (NOx), it also generates less CO2… which, paradoxically, makes it more environmentally friendly, from the point of view of the fight against global warming!

However, diesel is penalised by a higher purchase price, which has always existed – with a production cost higher than that of a petrol engine – but which is no longer at all offset by the lower price of the fuel itself. At the time of going to press, the average price of a litre of unleaded petrol was €1.88, compared with €1.93 for diesel. At the same time, due to the presence of specific, very high-pressure injection rails and sometimes capricious pollution control systems, diesels have higher maintenance costs than petrol cars. What’s more, since diesel users tend, statistically speaking, to drive more than others, their cars are also logically more expensive to insure.

Last but not least, although it’s been a long time since ‘fuel oils’ lost – and rightly so – their bad reputation for producing a lot of nauseating fumes, these engines are still noisier, particularly when accelerating and idling. Nevertheless, anyone who has heard a BMW M5 (E60) V10 at tickover, or conversely a 335d in-line 6-cylinder diesel, will know that this subject is more subjective than it seems. So it’s not a real barrier to purchase.

So, should we send out the death notice for diesel? 

Before you dress in black to attend the funeral of this ebony hydrocarbon, don’t rush!

In fact, in the last few months of 2023, sales of electrified vehicles – hybrids and electrics – have stagnated, while interest in diesel vehicles has picked up again. Surprising though this situation may seem, it actually reflects the conjunction of two opposing underlying trends.

On the one hand, pressure from the public authorities to promote all-electricity is coming up against the concrete reality of the purchase price of these same vehicles and the difficulties of recharging them as easily as customers would like, and on the other, the very attractive – and very tangible – fuel consumption figures of the latest diesel units to go on sale.

To put it another way, when you have the choice between a Plug-in hybrid SUV, which the manufacturer claims to use 1.5l/100km in combined driving, as indicated by the WLTP homologation cycle, but which, in ‘real life’, consumes around 8l/100km because the batteries are empty after only about twenty kilometres, and that the same diesel SUV needs “only” 6l/100km … you’ve got to admit that there’s plenty of reason to hesitate!


IA and the autonomous car: a promising or worrying future?

IA and the autonomous car: a promising or worrying future?

In an environment characterised by a profusion of technological innovations, as much as by the uncertainties linked to the ensuing regulations, the integration of artificial intelligence into vehicles has become a structural movement, and one that is still in its early stages. However, it already raises many questions, which is why it is worth taking a look at the situation as it stands at the end of 2023.

The autonomous car, the vehicle of the future?

The subject of the autonomous car regularly comes to the fore, bringing with it a host of prejudices that are more or less rooted in reality, and which stem largely from the recurrent presence of this theme in works of science fiction. However, there is no doubt that research is advancing rapidly; after all, with AI (artificial intelligence) being the keystone of the autonomous car, and given the progress made in just a few months by a tool such as ChatGPT, doesn’t it seem more plausible than ever that we are on the brink of a real revolution on our roads?

Before attempting to answer this question, however, it’s worth briefly recalling that there are different levels of autonomy, which have been classified as follows:

  • Level 0: No autonomy.
  • Level 1: Light assistance, with cruise control.
  • Level 2: Automation of certain tasks, such as parking, braking and lane keeping.
  • Level 3: Semi-autonomous, with the car able – under certain traffic conditions – to accelerate, brake and overtake without driver intervention, but with the driver remaining attentive.
  • Level 4: No driver attention required, whatever the road ahead, with the presence of a steering wheel and pedals so that the driver can regain control if necessary.
  • Level 5: No steering wheel or pedals, so no driver attention required. Clearly, this level is still – precisely – the stuff of science fiction, because it hasn’t even been reached yet in the field of aeronautics…

Until recently, only level 2 autonomous driving was legally accepted in France, but cars equipped with level 3 systems are now also allowed on our roads. However, in practice, this level of autonomous driving can currently only be envisaged under specific conditions, notably on roads with separate lanes, in clear weather, without cyclists or pedestrians, and with a maximum speed limit of 60 km/h. In other words, ‘hands-free’ driving will only be possible on wide roads such as motorways and/or ring roads when they are congested. At the same time, manufacturers are stepping up the number of road tests to fine-tune level 3 autonomous vehicles by increments, before moving on to the next logical stage. Although level 4 involves very substantial costs to guarantee the safety of road users in all traffic conditions – including in the heart of urban centers – the emergence of vehicles of this type is only a matter of time.

Is the system 100% reliable?

Let’s be clear: artificial intelligence is already widely deployed in modern cars to improve driving safety, including systems that analyze signs of driver fatigue, mobile phone applications that reward the most cautious drivers with benefits, and ‘connected’ vehicles that can communicate both with each other and with the road infrastructure.

That said, AI is still in its “infancy”, and its application to the automotive industry can best be described as in its infancy. The accidents regularly recorded by Level 2 – or 2+ – vehicles unfortunately bear witness to this, such as the one that occurred on 24 November 2022, in San Francisco, when an autonomous vehicle caused a chain collision after braking suddenly on the motorway for no apparent good reason. There was also the time when the AI perceived the white trailer of a lorry, illuminated by the setting sun, as part of the sky, and therefore did not trigger the automatic braking, the car finally crashing into the obstacle.

This raises a number of questions about the degree of autonomy to be granted to the driving system, and conversely about the legal responsibility incumbent on the driver – or even the manufacturer – in the event of an accident. In fact, no matter how intelligent a robot may be, it is still not capable of filling in an accident report… and if there is bodily injury, isn’t there a systematic risk that the driver will accuse the designer of the system that is supposed to prevent him or her from having an accident? What’s more, there’s a concept in aeronautics that’s as old as the hills, as the saying goes, but which the general public is unfamiliar with: it’s called ‘tombstone mentality’. In practical terms, this means recognising that a non-negligible proportion of the progress made in (flight) safety has been achieved thanks to the analysis of accidents that have plunged (air) transport into mourning over the years. To put it another way, AI will experience failures, sometimes with sad consequences, but this is how it will be able to improve to the point of approaching the Holy Grail of 100% reliability in a few decades’ time.

Whatever the case, the gradual development of the autonomous car is – and will be for many years to come – a structural trend for the whole automotive sector, with a growing need for cutting-edge sensors. This includes the Automotive Aftermarket, because vehicles, whether autonomous or not (and perhaps even more so if they are), will always need high-quality maintenance to maintain their level of safety, both active and passive. So we’ll be there to equip them with these various sensors and do our part to ensure that this transition takes place under the best possible conditions.


Converting to bioethanol: not such an attractive option?

Converting to bioethanol: not such an attractive option?

Do you know anything about bioethanol?

Bioethanol is a biofuel that can be used in certain petrol cars, and is essentially made up of two components:

  • Unleaded: 15%, although the proportion is generally higher in winter to facilitate cold starts;
  • Ethanol, 85% of which is derived from the fermentation of sugar beet and sugar cane.

It is generally accepted that cars produced from 2000 onwards are compatible. However, this essentially depends on the engine, with some tolerating ethanol better than others. It should be stressed that bioethanol is drier and more porous than petrol, with a higher octane number. Admittedly, a few manufacturers have taken the plunge and offered engines directly optimised to run on E85, such as Ford and its Flexfuel models, but this approach has remained in the minority. What’s more, although the network has grown, E85 is not available everywhere, with only around a third of filling stations in France regularly supplying this fuel.

First of all, remember that only petrol cars put into circulation after 2000, unless contraindicated, can be converted to bioethanol. This conversion is actually an adaptation, which will enable you to run on E85 as well as unleaded 95, SP95-E10 or SP98. To do this, you need to update the engine control unit (ECU) to adapt the fuel injection. There are two ways of doing this… but only the first is legal!

In fact, the bioethanol box is the only approved solution, although it is preferable to wait until the end of the manufacturer’s warranty before carrying out this operation. What’s more, this box must be installed by an approved professional, who will issue you with a certificate so that you can obtain a new vehicle registration document showing that you are using E85. As for the price, depending on your car model, the box and the installation labour, you should expect to pay around €1,000 on average.

At the same time, reprogramming involves writing information directly onto your car’s map. It’s an operation that takes time and a great deal of trial and error to achieve the best possible optimisation. However, some unscrupulous professionals adapt generic maps that are potentially dangerous for the engine. What’s more, while E85 reprogramming is remarkably effective, it is not approved – because it alters the vehicle’s performance upwards – and is therefore illegal on open roads.

What you need to know to weigh up the pros and cons

Bioethanol generally allows you to make savings over the long term, i.e. once the cost of installing the box has been amortised – provided, that is, that you drive more than 20,000 km a year. In fact, although the price of E85 has risen sharply in recent months, the difference with SP95 petrol remains significant. So, of course, converting to bioethanol leads to extra consumption of around 15% on average, but with a difference of almost 80 centimes at the pump in favour of E85, it’s certain that filling up the tank is always cheaper! What’s more, unlike an LPG car, for which roadworthiness tests are more expensive, there are no additional costs to detract from the financial benefits of bioethanol, and in many départements, obtaining a new vehicle registration document is free – up to a certain level of tax power for the vehicle in question, of course; don’t think you can convert a Porsche Cayenne Turbo and not pay for its registration…

What’s more, E85 is eco-responsible … or, to be more precise, it is less of a problem for global warming than petrol or diesel. In fact, since it is produced from plants, it reduces fine particle emissions by 90% compared with petrol, and greenhouse gases by around 70%. That’s why a vehicle with a fuel box gets a Crit’Air 1 sticker. However, there’s a major downside to this flattering picture. Bioethanol only makes sense if it is not widely used, which is paradoxical, let’s face it! In fact, to run France’s fleet of cars on E85, we would have to use all the fields available… and therefore stop feeding ourselves, which obviously poses a problem!

Another point to watch out for is that the modification may invalidate the vehicle’s warranty, and although there is still some debate on the subject, such a conversion can actually damage the engine in the medium to long term. In fact, alcohol is capable of stripping the fuel tank and saturating fuel filters more quickly, while its greater ‘sensitivity’ to water generates corrosion – particularly if you leave the vehicle for some time without driving with a full tank. Cold-weather starts are also more complicated, with a few misfires very often – it’s not the end of the world, but it’s more painful than with ‘good old’ conventional fuel. In this respect, please note that our EFI Automotive Service products have not been developed to meet the additional constraints that E85 places on an engine originally designed to run on unleaded. As a result, we accept no responsibility for any failure of a vehicle that has been converted to run on bioethanol.


Celebration of our 45th anniversary

Celebration of our 45th anniversary

On 17 August 2023, our company celebrates its 45th year in business. To mark the occasion, we take a look back at some of the milestones in our history:

  • 1978: Creation of a remote workshop in Joinville (52) to manufacture OEM ignition wire sets for customers of the parent company in Beynost (Electricfil Automotive at the time – EFI Automotive today);
  • 2007: Distribution of OEM ignition cables and sensors on the Independent Aftermarket and expansion of the business through the distribution of spare parts worldwide;
  • 2013: Development and manufacture of ignition coils for the Independent Aftermarket;
  • 2018 : Launch of a secondary activity – the industrialisation of innovative projects;
  • 2021 : The company becomes an independent subsidiary of the EFI Automotive Group.

Over the past 45 years, we have continued to evolve and progress, both for our employees and for our customers. We have grown by overcoming obstacles that were obviously not always foreseen, but we have also celebrated many successes.

Today, EFI Automotive Service is a company on a human scale, made up of 80 people who work every day to continue to develop the site’s two activities: the manufacture and distribution of spare parts for the independent aftermarket, and the industrialisation of projects carried out in collaboration with start-ups and innovative companies.

So let’s blow out this 45th candle with a special thank you to our employees and customers, who keep the company going thanks to their commitment and loyalty. There are many exciting projects still to come, and we can’t wait to write a new page in our history!