Design Exploration and Optimization News
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October 23, 2014
At the Technical University of Munich (TUM), BMW, Daimler, TUM scientists and industry participants recently showcased a lightweight urban electric concept vehicle. The design included all-plastic car windows, made of LEXAN resin from SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation).
The use of this resin reduces the weight by over 13 kilograms (23 lbs.) and extends the vehicle’s driving range by up to two kilometers for a single battery charge, a company press release states. The LEXAN resin is a polycarbonate material. By incorporating it into the design, the vehicle maintains a weight minimum, achieves gains in energy efficiency and extended range.
The electric concept vehicle is the culmination of over two and a half years of research and development as part of the Visio.M (Visionary Mobility) project. The goal of the project is to develop and produce a light electric car that is efficient, safe and mass-marketable. The current electric vehicle (EV) features a 15kW electric motor and a weight of 450 kilograms (992 lbs.).
“A significant share of an EV’s energy consumption depends on its weight,” said Stefan Riederer, BMW Research & Technology. “A low vehicle weight allows for smaller and lighter battery designs, in addition to lighter designs of the electric motor, the chassis and other components. The weight savings that we were able to achieve across our EV concept, including the significant drop in weight from the windows with SABIC’s materials and development support, allowed us to significantly reduce the amount of energy required to move the car and meet the design intent of the vehicle.”
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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