Teijin Limited and its joint development partner Applied Electric Vehicles (Applied EV) have achieved a major milestone toward their shared vision for zero-emission future mobility. By utilizing Teijin’s lightweight, highly efficient material technology and expertise in composites manufacturing, Teijin and Applied EV have delivered a production-ready one-piece structural shell for Applied EV’s zero-emission robotic vehicle platform, the Blanc Robot.
The shell is a key component and enables AEV to reduce the weight and manufacturing complexity of the vehicle significantly, enabling AEV to achieve low mass, high energy efficiency and excellent structural performance.
The Blanc Robot is a programmable, autonomous electric vehicle (EV) platform, designed and engineered by Applied EV. It can integrate with many autonomous systems, carry a range of vehicle bodies and serve many purposes, including industrial, delivery and surveillance applications.
Teijin and Applied EV are continuing to work together to further utilize Teijin lightweight material technologies for a range of other components, including structural elements, glazing and exterior body panels for use in production EVs in the latter half of 2022.
The field of mobility is undergoing a significant transformation based on new concepts, including connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) vehicles and ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS). Electrification and autonomous technologies are rapidly being developed for next-generation automobiles, allowing a range of practical solutions that reduce environmental impact and address the changing needs of society, including the transportation needs in aging societies.
The move to electric mobility is also raising awareness of the benefit in taking a well-to-wheel approach that considers the total energy efficiency of vehicles, including how electricity is sourced as well as how it is used in driving. Teijin and AEV launched their joint development initiative in 2019 to establish a technological foundation for supporting multipurpose zero-emission vehicles for a future society.
Applied EV has unique foundations in both automotive and robotics, allowing it to bring a fresh offering to the new mobility market. With a focus on efficiency and sustainability, it is lowering the cost and environmental impact of transportation. The Blanc Robot “skateboard” designed and engineered by Applied EV is the basis for many autonomous use cases. Built around a core of electronics and mechatronics, running purely on software, the Blanc Robot is designed specifically for autonomous operation.
The Blanc Robot’s shell, or top cover, is the largest single component on the vehicle, measuring about four square meters in total. It is made from light weight, high-strength and highly-rigid GF-SMC and molding technology provided by Continental Structural Plastics Holdings Corporation (CSP), the Teijin Group’s core automotive-composites business.
CSP’s proprietary GF-SMC enables the Blanc Robot’s shell to weigh some 20% less than an aluminum equivalent component and significantly simplify the manufacturing process.
CSP’s molding technology enables the integral molding of a sheet in thin, complicated shapes that are difficult to achieve using metal. Moreover, molding requires around three minutes. The GF-SMC shell allows the Blanc Robot to achieve excellent structural performance to protect crucial equipment inside from damage and the shell achieves excellent fire resistance, dimensional stability and corrosion resistance.