Best Possible Occupant Protection at Low Weight

August 16, 2012 // IAV is working on a new safety concept for electric vehicles in cooperation with Daimler, Autoliv and Munich University of Technology (TUM): As part of the German Education and Research Ministry’s “Visio.M” research project, IAV’s experts are developing solutions that combine minimum weight with the best possible protection for occupants. The aim is to build extremely lightweight e-cars that provide a level of safety similar to that of conventional vehicles.

In developing electric vehicles, engineers face a dilemma: Although electric cars need to be light as possible to maximize their driving range, this must not come at the expense of vehicle safety – protecting occupants has top priority but usually increases vehicle weight. This is a challenge that is being taken up by IAV, Daimler, Autoliv and TUM: For the electric microcar planned in the Visio.M project, the partners are drawing up safety requirements and a safety concept validated by simulation and testing.

Crash Safety on a Par with Conventional Passenger Cars

Without battery, the vehicle has a weight of no more than 400 kilograms and a rated power output of 15 kilowatts (max. power output 30 kilowatts) – putting the e-car in type approval category L7e that only makes low demands on vehicle safety. Although the legal standards are lower here than in the usual type approval category M1, consumers naturally expect maximum safety in an electric vehicle too. This is why a concept is being developed that rivals conventional passengers cars in terms of occupant safety – because only then will consumers accept electric vehicles.

Without battery, the vehicle has a weight of no more than 400 kilograms and a rated power output of 15 kilowatts (max. power output 30 kilowatts) – putting the e-car in type approval category L7e that only makes low demands on vehicle safety. Although the legal standards are lower here than in the usual type approval category M1, consumers naturally expect maximum safety in an electric vehicle too. This is why a concept is being developed that rivals conventional passengers cars in terms of occupant safety – because only then will consumers accept electric vehicles.

IAV and Daimler Responsible for Simulation and Experimental Testing

IAV has teamed up with Daimler to develop the concept behind the vehicle’s structure. IAV, Daimler and Autoliv are responsible for integral vehicle safety – where various components from active and passive safety systems will be integrated into the vehicle. In the final development step, IAV’s experts and Daimler will work together on verifying the safety concept in simulations and test it in experiments using a demonstration vehicle.

The “Visionary Mobility Concept (Visio.M)” is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research to the tune of € 6.2 million (total budget € 10.8 million) and has been running since March 2012. The project ends in July 2014.

About Visio.M:

Alongside the automobile corporations BMW AG (lead partner) and Daimler AG, Visio.M also involves Munich University of Technology as scientific partner, as well as Autoliv BV & Co. KG, the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BAST), Continental Automotive GmbH, E.ON AG, Finepower GmbH, Hyve AG, IAV GmbH, InnoZ GmbH, Intermap Technologies GmbH, LION Smart GmbH, Neumayer Tekfor Holding GmbH, Siemens AG, Texas Instruments Deutschland GmbH and TÜV Süd AG. The project is being funded under the "Key Technologies for Electric Mobility – STROM” priority program of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

About IAV:

Employing over 4,500 members of staff, IAV is one of the world’s leading providers of engineering services to the automotive industry. The company has been developing innovative concepts and technologies for future vehicles for over 25 years. Core competencies include production-ready solutions in all fields of electronics, powertrain and vehicle development.  Clients include all of the world's premier automobile manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to development centers in Berlin, Gifhorn and Chemnitz, IAV also operates from other locations in Europe, Asia as well as North and South America.