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Danish startup produces carbon-fiber lightweight chassis

11 April 2014

Danish start-up ECOmove has developed a technology which it says makes it possible to manufacture a carbon-fiber chassis without using special equipment. The first unit has already been shipped to a company in Germany.

The greatest challenge for most electrical car manufacturers is to increase the overall range. One solution is to decrease the overall weight of the car, hereby reducing the energy consumption. We have acquired extensive knowledge and competences in manufacturing lightweight-chassis for electrical cars, which can help reduce the total weight. We design, construct and manufacture lightweight-chassis in composite materials—as for example carbon-fiber—at our Vehicle Lab in Vitus Bering Innovation Park in Horsens—all without using expensive tooling and special equipment.

—Mogens Løkke, CEO at ECOmove

The delivered chassis is for a 356 Speedster replica, making it possible to install a battery capacity for a claimed range of more than 500 kilometers (311 miles), Løkke said. The chassis also improves the stability and strength of the car compared to the original chassis. ECOmove cooperated with VIA University College in terms of the initial 3D-scan and strength modeling of the chassis.

Qstrung-small1
ECOmove calls its carbon-fiber technology Qstrung. Click to enlarge.

Qstrung offers manufacturers and designers the possibility of working with composite materials like carbon-fibre right from the start offering more freedom in shaping, economy and in the time it takes to build the first vehicle models./em>

—Mikkel Steen Pedersen, Development Manager at ECOmove

According to Pedersen, the new method is suitable for both prototyping and volume production. The short production time combined with an attractive material-cost per unit provides interesting perspectives for larger vehicle manufacturers as well.

ECOmove was founded in 2009 with an ambition of developing and building a compact, lightweight electrical car for city environments: QBEAK. The company changed course in 2013 by fully focusing on external projects.

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Comments

The use of long lasting composites, magnesium and aluminium alloys for future lighter e-vehicles, instead of heavier steel, may be the way to get more e-range with todays low performance batteries.

The extra cost could be mostly offset with lower battery and operation cost.

I hope the people at Nissan are reading this. Might be time for them to seriously consider lighter materials.

They started out fine in the 2011MY with some aluminum body components; then consolidated their drive line in 2013MY and saved weight there; but, switched back to all steel which put weight back in.

BTW, How about replacing the Lead secondary battery with Lithium..should be some weight saving there.

@HarveyD I wouldn't count steel out yet. Flash Bainite steel is pretty remarkable and, IMO, a better material for the safety structure because of its failure mode. What we'll probably see in the future is an amalgamation of materials in vehicles:

-advanced steel safety structures possibly integrated with composite foam for energy absorption.
-cfrp cosmetic panels
-aluminum and magnesium suspension components as well as miscellaneous components (seat frames etc)
-carbon fiber drive shafts and probably other applications I can't think of at the moment.

Yes GP...10+ materials are already used in todays cars. Lighter materials will find their way in the total composition and steel % iron percentage will go down.

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