PARIS – President Francois Hollande encourages Valeo to develop products for the electric cars and hybrids “made by different auto makers but prepared by French suppliers,” during a visit to the company’s research and development center in La Verriere, outside of Paris.

Delighted Valeo executives presented the president with a model of a new thin light-emitting-diode taillight in which optics inside give it a 3-D appearance.

Hollande was shown a number of Valeo technologies ready for the market and was taken into a closed laboratory where future products are under development.

La Verriere, one of four research centers in the Paris area, specializes in internal-combustion and visibility projects.

Claude Leichle, who heads Valeo’s propulsion research, showed Hollande the electric motor inverter it developed for French and American customers and the electronics and generator for a range-extended electric vehicle that has been ordered by a German customer.

“The approach (to electrification) is different in Germany,” Leichle says. “The French OEs are more focused on urban usage where range is not as big a concern.”

Hollande spent time questioning Nabil Hentati, business manager-infotainment systems, about e-skin, a large tactile screen that interfaces with a portable phone to display the phone's screen. The system filter allows navigation, music and telephone functions to appear.

It reduces driver distraction, Hentati says, because the screen is large and in a good location, and it prevents such applications as email from appearing in front of a driver. It also allows drivers to use inexpensive, up-to-date navigation programs.

Valeo CEO Jacques Aschenbroich says French suppliers are strong because their research is of world-leading quality and industrial base is solid.

France has promised to aid the domestic auto industry with research tax breaks and bigger bonuses for consumers buying electric vehicles and hybrids.