Is it possible to dramatically reduce the weight of an electric car while also maintaining the best possible safety protection?
That is the aim of the Visio.M consortium in Germany, which is developing a mobility concept for an efficient electric vehicle (such as the prototype, pictured).
At its heart is the MUTE electric research vehicle that has a targeted range of more than 62miles and a top speed of 75mph. It is hoped the vehicle will have a 15kW output with maximum empty weight of 400kg without its battery pack.
To achieve this, the engineers of the Visio.M consortium are focusing on an innovative monocoque body structure that is typically found in racing cars. It combines lightweight materials with good stability.
For example, the passenger compartment is set to be made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic; while the drive system will have an efficient asynchronous electric engine. Its transmission system will employ very light gears with hollow shafts and they alone could be 15 per cent lighter than conventional designs.
Safety will not be compromised, however. For example, the carbon fibre structure is set to feature specially adapted seatbelts and other innovative concepts that could minimise injuries should an accident occur. The engineers hope they will be able to maximise safety levels by the conclusion of the project.
Funded by €10.8million over a two and a half year period, it will focus on the research area of Key Technologies of Electromobility, outlined by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The Visio.M consortium is made up of: BMW AG; Daimler AG; Autoliv BV and Co KG; the Federal Highway Research Institute; E.ON AG; Finepower GmbH; Hyve AG; Innoz GmbH; IAV GmbH; Intermap Technologies GmbH; Neumayer Tekfor Holding GmbH; LION Smart GmbH; Siemens AG; TUV SUD AG; Texas Instruments Germany GmbH; Continental Automotive GmbH; and the Technische Universitat Munchen.
Paul is a freelance writer with a background in everything from motoring to finance; and holidays to women's undergarments he just writes about them, honestly! He has now sadly crept into his early 30s and seems to have forgotten everything learned at school Still, he's a green car fanatic and isn't that what counts?
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