Automotive

Lightweight platform concept points the way to longer-range EVs

Lightweight platform concept p...
A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
View 5 Images
A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
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A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
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A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
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A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
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A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
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A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
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Just last month, Williams Advanced Engineering announced it would be teaming up with Singer Vehicle Design to create a 500-hp air-cooled flat-six. Now, the firm is demonstrating its versatility with a new electric platform concept. Dubbed FW-EVX, the chassis has been designed to make electric vehicles lighter, safer and more efficient.

According to Williams, the thinking behind FW-EVX is simple. The motoring industry is currently trying to plot a course from a reliance on internal combustion power to the wide adoption of electric vehicles, but battery technology (or the world, depending on who you ask) isn't quite ready. Williams has tried to extract more range and performance from EVs by taking a fresh look at how they're designed and built.

To start with, the engineers have developed a new process for building carbon fiber reinforced suspension components for the platform. It's highly automated, produces very little waste and provides a claimed 40 percent weight saving over a conventional aluminum wishbone.

A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 
A look at the Williams Advanced Engineering EV platform 

Williams is also using the chassis to showcase a production process where 2D materials are used to form a high-strength 3D exoskeleton for the battery module. The structure also serves to reinforce the battery pack. Although it's just a concept at the moment, the company is hoping it demonstrates its ability to make new technology a production reality.

"Vehicle efficiency has always been core to Williams – whether it be in Formula One or with Williams Advanced Engineering's customer projects," says Paul McNamara, Technical Director at Williams Advanced Engineering. "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."

The concept will be on show at the Low Carbon Vehicle Show at Millbrook, which kicks off today.

Source: Williams Advanced Engineering

View gallery - 5 images
7 comments
Don Duncan
Ok. Weight is one of the two fundamentals. Not enough engineers are working on the fundamentals. So, this is encouraging for those of us who wonder why cars are so energy inefficient and little progress is being made. That said, "Where's the beef?" A "40 % weight savings over a conventional aluminum wishbone"? WTF does that translate into? What is the % the platform comprises of the curb weight? What is this "new process for building carbon fiber reinforced suspension components"? How much stronger are they? How much cheaper?
In this case, pictures are not "worth 1,000 words", i.e., answer nothing.
YuraG
And they still use quite a bit of aluminium, or maybe that is titanium, or maybe ... they are serious about this project and IP in general
Grunchy
Looks an awful lot like Trexa, whatever happened to Trexa? Gizmag ("New Atlas") had this story Jan 30 2010.
jade_goat
Looks great! Clean, relatively simple and quite elegant.
Ok sure, it may not be the "Holy Grail" for EVs but it's a good step along the way......
Tom Lee Mullins
It seems similar to Trexa. It seems Trexa has a new system on their web site. https://www.trexa.com/
I can see how one could build a body on top of this platform. I remember reading about cars were made in the past where one company made the platform and another made the body. It could lead to some unique vehicles.
I wonder how this differs from GM's 'skateboard' concept?
VincentWolf
Looking more and more like my Viper slot cars of the 70s'......history repeats.......only full scale instead of 1:64, 1:32, 1:24.
Pete0097
EV are a great concept for the future, the big problem is that it is estimated that if 10% of our current cars were EV, it would crash the grid. Our power grid is just not capable of supporting electric cars as more than a "toy" that only a few wealthy children can own. Now if people want to really use electric cars, they need to put enough solar panels on their roof to charge these cars and not use them during the day. Sounds only practical for vampires. Also, the materials used for these batteries are of a limited supply and require a lot of waste to manufacture, where are the greenies on that? That's right, those materials will be mined overseas and not here so only THEIR country will get contaminated.