Skip to main content

The Electric Vehicle revOLUTION enabled by advanced materials highly hybridized into lightweight components for easy integration and dismantling providing a reduced life cycle cost logic

Article Category

Article available in the folowing languages:

Advanced lightweight materials for lighter, more environment-friendly electric cars in cities

Fully electric vehicles (FEVs) are moving closer to reality thanks to the development of innovative body in white (BiW) architectures that use advanced lightweight aluminium and composite materials. An EU initiative introduced a lightweight, modular BiW concept that is highly recyclable and built with limited parts.

Digital Economy
Transport and Mobility
Climate Change and Environment
Industrial Technologies
Energy
Fundamental Research

To demonstrate the sustainable and viable industrial production of an FEV that weighs 600 kg, the EU-funded EVOLUTION project used the Pininfarina Nido concept car as a reference for its activities. With an emphasis on urban FEVs, the existing concept of the BiW was completely reviewed through a design strategy aiming to reduce the number of parts and employ innovative lightweight materials technologies. Development and manufacturing focused on five specific vehicle subsystem components: underbody, structural node, front cross member, side door and mechanical subframe. Structural engineering, materials and process technologies were considered as design variables in order to propose solutions that are feasible and optimised for specific performances while achieving 50 % weight reduction targets compared to equivalent steel solutions. Scientists selected materials and enabling technologies based on use, potential for further development, cost effectiveness and environmental impact. Their approach was to lighten structures overall, reinforcing only where necessary. Project partners designed an FEV with an aluminium BiW, and developed and up-scaled a set of new functionalised composite materials that are tailored to the specific automotive applications. They evaluated its industrial viability and sustainability. This was done from a technical point of view via a scalability study of the materials, technologies and physical tests, and from a cost and production time perspective. Lastly, the EVOLUTION team released a BiW that weighs 115 kg. The baseline car was 160 kg. By developing a multi-material BiW, EVOLUTION successfully demonstrated that it is possible to consistently reduce vehicle weight while maintaining structural performance through extensive use of new materials and process technologies. The innovative architecture and the integration of lightweight materials will ensure that the EU maintains its competitiveness against the American and Asian automobile industries.

Keywords

Lightweight materials, fully electric vehicles, body in white, EVOLUTION

Discover other articles in the same domain of application

Climate Change and Environment

18 September 2005