Electrically powered vehicles

The move from internal combustion engines to electrical power in automobiles bring a new set of design and material challenges.

Electric vehicles are subject to exactly the same crash requirements as petrol/diesel vehicles in terms of occupant/passenger safety but with additional requirements for battery containment. Without an engine under the bonnet, the position of the front wheels could change. The distance from front wheels to the front of car could reduce as engine cooling radiator packs are not required, but battery cooling does need to be considered.

EVs’ batteries, motors and control electronics mean the front crash structure has to absorb more energy and the back-up structure needs to take more load. Hence vehicles will behave differently in crash as illustrated in the video clip below. Aerodynamics become more important for EVs, so they are longer and lower.  These factors impose additional requirements on materials in terms of strength, stiffness, formability and cost.

Over the last 50 years advances in steel design for automobiles have underpinned major improvements in vehicle efficiency, reduced emissions and passenger safety but the success of future designs requires further progress in this area.

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