UK engineering firm develops lightweight and scalable EV architecture
With electrification becoming a new priority for the British automotive and motorsport industries, a wave of new technologies and projects are gaining traction – and Williams Advanced Engineering is a name that pops up in connection with quite a number of them.
Now, the UK-based automotive engineering firm has developed an innovative lightweight EV platform concept, named the FW-EVX. The Platform was on display at last week’s Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) Show 2017.
As manufacturers look to maximise vehicle efficiency, and work with the current limitations of technology, Williams says it has “reimagined how electric cars are designed and constructed.” Its approach is designed to make EVs lighter, safer and greener, with longer range and better performance.
The concept features several innovations in battery pack design, cooling systems and lightweight structures, which have each been cleverly integrated into a single, scalable vehicle platform, thanks also to support from partners YASA, Xtrac and Sevcon.
In one instance, it points out, its engineers have developed an automated near zero-waste process to create fibre reinforced suspension components on the EV platform, providing up to 40% weight reduction over a conventional aluminium wishbone.
It has also used forming techniques to create high-strength 3D structures from 2D materials which, in this instance, has been used to create an exoskeleton for a battery module that also contributes to the structural performance of the battery.
YASA Motors also supply high power and torque density, offering additional flexibility to increase vehicle range, load carrying capacity or performance when compared to alternative motors. The very short axial length of the motors solve the problem of restricted space in P2 hybrid and range-extended vehicle designs. Typically, custom designed motors are project integrated into the powertrain and additional functions such as clutches may be included within the motor package space. Meanwhile, Xtrac supplies high-performance transmissions and driveline components.
Williams’ technical director Paul McNamara said: “Vehicle efficiency has always been core to Williams – whether it be in Formula One or with Williams Advanced Engineering’s customer projects. These technologies, and our thinking around how to create a tightly integrated, light-weight chassis and powertrain package, have the potential to greatly increase the competitiveness of the next generation of electric vehicles. By making EVs more attractive to consumers, we can help accelerate their adoption and the air quality benefits they bring.”
Source: Williams Advanced Engineering