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Super Light Architectures for Safe and Affordable Urban Electric Vehicles

Final Report Summary - URBAN-EV (Super Light Architectures for Safe and Affordable Urban Electric Vehicles)

Executive Summary:
After a series of optimization loops, a design freeze (ready to manufacture design) has been achieved at the end of the second reporting period considering crashworthiness criteria, stiffness, dynamic and weight targets. An additional assessment of the applied joining technology by EMPT crimping was performed by a coupon test program defined during the review meeting after the first reporting period. The results of the coupon tests confirmed the applicability of this joining technique with a reliable behaviour under service loading for URBAN-EV.
For all relevant sections of the vehicle a detailed component design was derived from the developed concepts. Highly loaded design elements have been assessed by Finite Element calculations regarding their load characteristics and front module crash behavior was assessed.
The work within WP2 has been performed according to the different technologies and covers the application of wrought (forming) processes for light alloys (mainly forging, hydroforming and extrusion), the application of advanced casting processes for light alloys and is focused on thermoplastic composites.
Within WP3 testing and validation has been performed on component, sub-system level and validation has been confirmed in order to ensure the validity of the components for URBAN-EV. After the assembly of one totally functional vehicle prototype for performance tests and two vehicle prototypes for crash tests without battery and power electronics in WP4 testing of the full vehicles will be done both for validation of the safety requirements applying a lateral and frontal crash and for measuring the performance in terms of autonomy range, acceleration, velocity and consumption.
Joining and assembly of the above mentioned vehicle prototypes have been done according to the frozen design. Final assembly of sub-assemblies has been performed at PST and Casple, while the final full assembly takes place at Casple and Cidaut in Spain.
During the last period of the project the key aspect of the activity was focused on manufacturing of the particular components and assembly of the vehicle. Manufactured main components: A-node, roof joint, half axle, rear nodes, hydroformed tube and rear control arms.
Thus, besides the further improvement of the dynamic and crash characteristics, also further weight savings by optimization of the aluminium parts have been investigated. Here, the roof joints can be mentioned as an example for additional weight savings by applying hollow casting and the rear nodes have been redesigned with respect to additional weight savings.
Assembly of the tubular structure was realised applying the EMPT technology with still some challenges regarding alinement of the tubes respectively sub-structure and crimp sequence considering for some of the crimp joints a split tool.
Project Context and Objectives:
URBAN-EV project (Super Light Architectures for Safe and Affordable Urban Electric Vehicles) aims to demonstrate the feasibility of key vehicle light weighting technologies for the manufacturing of light urban electric vehicles with new standards of mechanical performance and occupant safety. The URBAN-EV main approach is to combine innovation-driving advances in high volume affordable manufacturing of lightweight components with pioneering joining technologies as well as testing and simulation capabilities. This would be done in combination with a full vehicle design approach where all these building blocks are integrated into innovative design solutions.
In the current state of the art (SotA), the components belonging to the major structural systems of automotive vehicle - chassis and body in white which account for about 70% of the weight of the vehicle - are mostly produced by using one specific material and one specific manufacturing technology. In this regard, wrought steel has been, and still is, the dominant choice (aluminium being restricted to some high-priced segments). But in spite of some promising developments, the potential for light weighting of one single material alone (not in combination with other materials) is quite limited. As an alternative, European automakers are beginning to rely on multi-material technologies for vehicle architectures. These structures are characterized by combining different materials or manufacturing processes. In this way, a synergic effect is pursued: on one hand the technical or economic draw backs of the different materials or processes alone are compensated, and their benefits are mutually enhanced.
By bringing together 10 partners including 6 automotive company suppliers (5 of them SME's) and 4 major research centres, URBAN-EV will apply innovative manufacturing technologies and materials to produce three prototypes of a 2-seat urban electric vehicle with considerably enhanced autonomy with respect to the SotA EV of its kind, and a similar occupant safety level like in normal passenger cars. Specifically, a minimum purely electric range (in urban conditions) of 150 Km is targeted as well as an acceleration time of 7.8 s for 0-80 kph and an energy consumption of maximum 65 Wh/km. This stringent requirement calls for a realistic maximum weight of 450 kg (without RESS). This target, although deemed ambitious, is found feasible for the Europe’s leading companies and research centres that compose the URBAN-EV consortium. The platform where these innovative lightweight architectures will be introduced is the 2-seat Casple-EV, supplied by the Spanish automotive company Casple, with an overall weight of the current version of about 573 kg (without RESS).
In order to achieve the goals, the consortium has designed, manufactured and demonstrated new lighter architectures with enhanced engineering reliability for the principal systems of the vehicle such as chassis and body in white as well as several interior parts. Main construction materials have been light alloys and low cost, high integrity polymeric composites, which have been combined using an advanced multimaterial design approach. A series of technologies have been selected on the grounds of their ability to produce high integrity components, their affordability and liability of assembly-line, with the final aim of achieving a real breakthrough in the production of light and safe electric vehicles for urban use. URBAN-EV has carried out an intensive introduction of magnesium as an optimum structural solution for light weighting. The use of advanced, low cost thermoplastic solutions has also been accomplished. Furthermore, cost efficient, high integrity manufacturing processes have been applied, with a special focus on those able to deliver complex components, therefore being liable to execute more functions without increasing cost. An important characteristic of the manufacturing technologies of URBAN-EV is its degree of maturity, being actually “off the shelf” technologies. This enables the car manufacturer Casple, as well as the supply chain of URBAN-EV consortium, to set the feasible objective of starting the series production of the new vehicle in about two years’ time from the conclusion of the project. As a key factor to reach this goal, URBAN-EV has heavily relied on physical tests of the developed components, systems and the final prototype with respect to all its relevant requirements, including mechanical requirements, safety, acceleration and autonomy range.
Project Results:
Will be updated after finalizing all tasks of the project by mir of 2018 as agreed by the project officer.
Potential Impact:
Will be updated after finalizing all tasks of the project by mir of 2018 as agreed by the project officer.
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