Williams Advanced Engineering will showcase its world-leading capabilities in composites technology at JEC World 2018, taking place from the 6th to the 8th of March in Paris, the largest event of its kind in the world. The company will present its lightweight electric vehicle platform, which also demonstrates its proprietary capabilities in composite materials and processes as well as in battery technologies.
With the automotive industry currently focused on how it transitions from the internal combustion engine to a fully electric future, a major challenge for manufacturers is how to maximize vehicle efficiency, given current limitations. Responding to this challenge, Williams Advanced Engineering has reimagined how electric cars are designed and constructed. This new approach is designed to make EVs lighter, safer and greener, with longer range and better performance.
The new platform is called the FW-EVX, and it’s an integrated design that includes the batteries and their associated cooling, suspension for up to four motors, and crash structures in a scalable design that could be used in midsize or larger electric vehicles.
What makes the FW-EVX particularly interesting is that it’s extremely lightweight, thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber, not just structurally but also in the suspension.
Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering, said: “As society looks to solutions for more sustainable mobility our industry needs to focus on lightweighting, aerodynamics and electrification. Williams Advanced Engineering’s people and capabilities offer our customers solutions to each and all of these challenges. We look forward to sharing our technologies with delegates at JEC World 2018.”
“An electric vehicle constructed on the FW-EVX platform can be lighter, safer, greener and much more cost-effective… than a design adapted from a conventional vehicle or one assembled from individual state-of-the-art systems from technology supplier,” said Paul McNamara, technical director at Williams Advanced Engineering.
Some clever aspects of the platform include using high-strength battery modules that contribute to the overall strength and stiffness of the “skateboard”-style chassis. Here, Williams used some of the know-how it gained building the batteries for Formula E cars. “We have invented a method of creating an engineered hinge embedded in a single composite preform that allows 3D structures to be created from 2D materials, then folded when required, called 223TM, and it opens up the potential to use new types of assembly processes alongside much lower cost, more flexible logistics,” explained McNamara.
As an example, Williams’ engineers have developed a highly automated, near zero waste process. It is being implemented to create fiber reinforced suspension components on the EV platform, such as providing up to 40% weight reduction over a conventional aluminum wishbone and at comparable cost. Williams says that the parts cost no more than conventional ones forged from aluminum, yet weigh 40 percent less. In total, the FW-EVX weighs just 2,193lbs (995kg), including a 772lb (350kg) 80kWh battery pack.[source: Williams Advanced Engineering]