MUTE Debut at IAA: A Major Step toward E-Mobility

September 13, 2011 // IAV Develops Spaceframe for TUM’s Electric Car

Berlin. TUM, Munich University of Technology, is presenting an IAV development highlight of a special kind on the electric-vehicle stage at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt: MUTE – the prototype of an all-electric car that will not cost its owner more than a conventional subcompact. IAV engineered and computed the vehicle’s innovative spaceframe in lightweight aluminum design before constructing it at the company’s Munich-based operation. In an advisory capacity, IAV also contributed its expertise to the TUM project on the high-voltage safety and electromagnetic compatibility side.

Electric vehicles are still often seen as being expensive and only partially fit for everyday use – the concept behind MUTE opens up a new path: The two-seater with space for baggage (510 liters) is extremely lightweight (curb weight including battery: 500 kilograms) and guarantees a cruising range of at least 100 kilometers from its lithium-ion battery (with a zinc-air battery extending this range if need be). Limited to 15 kW for approval reasons, the electric motor accelerates MUTE to a top speed of 120 kilometers an hour. According to TUM calculations, this means the vehicle can handle over 98 percent of all distances covered in practice. So, combined with car-sharing for long distances, MUTE still gives its owner unrestricted mobility.

MUTE is a fully fledged car: Despite its low weight, the motorist is left wanting for nothing: MUTE is provided with numerous safety systems, such as ESP, and protects occupants with its sturdy passenger cell as well as crash elements in lightweight, strong carbon (CFRP). A touchpad displaying information from the infotainment and navigation system in clearly structured form provides the best in ergonomics. State-of-the-art electronics help to save energy too: On the road, MUTE’s also capable of computing the route that costs the least energy, maximizing its traveling range.

As an engineering provider, IAV made sure from the outset that MUTE was developed to meet practical needs and market demands. The automotive development partner – at home on the world stage – also engineered, computed and constructed the vehicle’s spaceframe in lightweight aluminum design. IAV also supported the project with over 20 years of expertise in electromobility –particularly in configuring the high-voltage vehicle electrical system from the aspect of safety and in matters of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

“MUTE is incredibly sophisticated in terms of the technology it uses“, says Steffen Lintz, head of IAV Munich. “The conceptual innovations in this case come from TUM. Theory and practice complemented each other very well through the joint project between university and industrial partners. The researchers’ theoretical knowledge was underpinned with pragmatic expertise from mass production. Only on this basis was it at all possible to construct the MUTE vehicle. MUTE shows that even today electric vehicles satisfy most mobility requirements which also means it will soon be possible to produce them at competitive prices.” In addition to IAV, many departments from TUM’s Science Center for Electric Mobility, project partners C-CON and Gerg RPT as well as 20 partners from industry were also involved in developing MUTE. The project is being funded by BFS, the Bavarian Research Foundation.