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 Innovative carbon fibre clad extruded aluminium sills provide cooling and structural stability, below; solid carbon fibre suspension wishbones are achievable for future consumer market, inset; and large air intakes provide high airflow rates for cooling

“The platformis available as a ready-to-go

product for OEMs that run in small volumes. Bigger companies, like JLR [Jaguar Land-Rover], prefer to use their own technology butmay adopt some of the concepts,” he toldme.

Race tech formass EV adoption

concept, the FW-EVX. Born out of theWilliams Formula E electric


vehicle racing team, the platformembodies the lessons learnt fromdeliveringmaximum performance through innovations in electric powertrain and chassis design. According to PaulMcNamara,WAE’s technical

director, the philosophy is to bring its race-bred technological innovations in Formula E to consumer-benefitting automotive production.

READY-TO-GO PLATFORM TheWAE platformconsists of an in-house designed lightweight chassis combined with standard charger, motor and batteries, though there’s nothing ordinary about the way they’re held together. The chassis was designed to provide rigidity,

safety, cooling and space optimisation without compromise to any of those aspects. The robust, aesthetically appealing framework weighs 50kg less than a tonne. “You can put a body on it weighing 750kg tomake a standard Audi A4 or BMW3-series style car for the usual 1,700kg in total, thus incurring no weight penalties because of electrification,” saysMcNamara.

October 2017 /// Environmental Engineering /// 39

t this year’s Low Carbon Vehicle Show held in September at theMillbrook proving grounds,Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) was displaying its lightweight electric vehicle (EV) platform

Jonathan Newell talks toWilliams Advanced Engineering about how race track technology will affect future electric vehicles

STRUCTURAL INNOVATION Two aspects of the chassis had immediate visual impact, the widespread use of carbon fibre and the striking wave-pattern cross section of the body sills. The battery section, occupying the entire floor pan of the car, is heavy and structurally vulnerable as well as having the additional disadvantage of potentially generating excess heat.Williams has overcomemuch of this with a surrounding framework of sills, which act as heat radiators as well as providing structural support. Made fromextruded aluminium withmachined coolant pipes, air is

taken fromlarge intake ducts at the front of the car and sucked through the sills by a vacuumcreated aerodynamically at an outlet under the chassis at the rear of the car. Relying on pressure fromthe intakes alone creates drag. The wavy vanes within the aluminiumextrusion serve three purposes: heat transfer, air flow and impact absorption tomeet side impact and pole test requirements. Using aluminiumalone would create a bulky cross section so the sill profile has been reduced by placing it in a carbon fibremoulded casing.

AFFORDABLE CARBON FIBRE It isn’t just in the sills and battery casings that carbon fibre is used. The suspension wishbones are solid carbon fibre also. The use of suchmaterials inmass production cars has so far been unachievable, but WAE has perfected themanufacturing process to produce a component at a fraction of the usual cost. Using a combination of carbon fibre threads,

matting and recycled carbon fibre filler,WAE has pared down the forming cycle time to just 90 seconds for each wishbone, thereby reducing the cost to weight ratio andmaking the technologymore viable for consumermarkets. EE

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