Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


OPERA4FEV Report Summary

Project ID: 285671
Funded under: FP7-TRANSPORT
Country: Monaco

Periodic Report Summary - OPERA4FEV (OPerating RAck For Full-Electric Vehicle)

Project context and objectives:

The OPERA4FEV project aims to develop thermoplastic battery racks on two functional demonstrators: one for a large scale vehicle from FIAT and one for a 'niche' car, the F-city from FAM .To improve deployment of electrical vehicles in Europe, large scale production processes for rack and electrical components need to be developed.

The innovative solutions proposed by OPERA4FEV will integrate electrical, hydraulic connections and component housing in a thermoplastic approach to reduce cost, weight and assembly time.

In order to show the relevance of the solution and meet strong industrial benefits, the two thermoplastics racks will be manufactured and assembled with industrial means.

The whole value chain will be addressed, including the eco-design (dismantling and recycling of critical materials), assembly and integration of cells and electrical components.

As safety of the onboard battery in electric, hybrid, and plug-in vehicles is of paramount importance to the international automakers, OPERA4FEV will pay particular attention to evaluate the effects of the rack characteristics regarding vehicle crash safety, and will focus on the potential risks for the vehicle and its occupants in case of failure of one or more batteries.

To sum up, the main issues relative to OPERA4FEV project are:

- the integration of cells into the thermoplastic rack;
- an easier mounting and fast connexions of cells;
- the reduction of assembly time;
- 25 % cost reduction on components (cells excluded) compared to existing rack;
- the improvement of dismantling for better maintenance;
- 50 % reduction of number of components;
- the eco-design of the racks and easier end of life (materials, dismantling) based on life cycle assessment;
- the plastics parts design to improve thermal regulation, guaranty safety / crash behaviour and deal with large dimensions;
- the use of recycled polymers (70 % in weight);
- 30 % weight reduction on components (cells excluded);
- a concept proposal adaptable to automotive industry and evaluated with an representative tools and assembly line (able to reach 20 vehicle/day).

Project results:

Since the beginning of the project, the main achievement is the formalisation of the specifications achieved through a functional analysis of the need and the product. This tool we used allowed us to identify all constraints at different stages of the product's life time from its conception to its end of life through its production and use phase.

After this, we were able to start the design concepts positioning in front of each constraint keeping in mind the objectives mentioned above. The design phase was initiated and the realisation of three-dimensional (3D) views of system modules and batteries of IVECO DAILY is well advanced.

In parallel, we selected a supplier for electric vehicles battery. The technical data of the cells and their use recommendations given by our supplier were also included in the specifications.

A first order has been done for the purchase of 400 cells to be used for the realisation of modules and packs prototypes. At small quantity of these cells will be first thermally characterised on a test bench made in the project frame. If the design of the bench is completed, its production will be done before the end of 2012.

Finally, we completed the first phase of the life cycle analysis. We conducted a rapid eco-scan based on assumptions about dimensions, materials, manufacturing processes and end of life.

Potential impact:

So far, the project has not much impact. But we have listed the expected impacts.

The major impacts of OPERA4FEV will be:

- 25 % production costs reduction and weight reduction of 30 % for battery rack with plastic use and cells integration directly into a rack without intermediate module;
- reduction of components and dismantling time by including cells directly into rack;
- development of the whole value chain, assembly / integration and production of cells and electrical components;
- development of electrical components with good performances and at competitive cost specially designed for FEV;
- greener production processes;
- extended knowledge on material recycling;
- study and development of new industrial materials applied to the automotive industry;
- increased security in the car with new materials and association of materials;
- reduction of other vehicle emissions (NOx, N2, hydrocarbons etc) on European Union (EU) air - associated with cleaner environment, better health and living for EU residents;
- development of advanced eco-design and manufacturing processes for large scale production of lithium-based cells;
- help structuring the very promising market of electric cars and establishing the basis for a world level European automotive battery and electrical components manufacturing industry;
- introduction of quality control of industrial process ISO 9001;
- contributions to EU low carbon vehicle policies according to CE/443/2009;
- position of Europe as a leader in key areas of underpinning science and engineering for future low-CO2 vehicles;
- increase competitiveness of EU OEM whilst underpinning EU automotive industry in readiness to tap future income in low carbon vehicles. The upcoming markets are mainly India, China, Brazil - 600 (India) and 500 (China) million cars on road, respectively, are expected by 2050 - while cementing low carbon vehicle philosophy;
- development of an approach of thermal management of the cells for electric vehicles with industrial solutions;
- development of an approach with calculation and measurements of gas venting management with industrial solutions;
- the energy storage remains the main sticking point for electric vehicles, the project is expected to remain among the leading manufacturers of clean technologies using the most successful battery;
- the project will respond to requests from manufacturers, the aim is to conquer 10 % of market share by 2020 (estimated to 800 000 FEV/year) in Europe.

In particular, in terms of environmental impact, the project aims at taking 10 % of the battery rack market. This will correspond:

- to the use of 600 tons of recycled materials which can contribute to the request defined in the directive 2000/53/EC;
- the weight reduction of 30 % for the rack is about 2,5 kg. 2,5 kg reduction is equivalent to 95 kW.h reduction in the life time of one vehicle. Thus, for 10 % of the European market (80 000 vehicles), the energy reduction is about 7,5 GW.h which corresponds to a reduction of 800 000 tonnes of CO2 emission in western Europe (considering that 1kW.h is equivalent to 110 g/eq. C -average European energy mix-).

Besides, in terms of economical impacts, if we consider the market of FEV in Europe as 6 % of the production in 2020, it will correspond approximately to 800 000 vehicles.

Each vehicle will corresponds to 150 to 300 cells with 5 to 10 kg of plastic housing and a business EUR 6000 to 12 000 per vehicles.

The corresponding figures for 10 % of the market are:

- 600 tons of plastic/year
- 18 millions of cells
- EUR 720 million (with about EUR 108 millionfor thermoplastic rack).

Project website:


Bruno NABETH, (Innovation and Sustainable Development Director)
Tel.: +377-92055179


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