Design of Composite Sandwich Chassis and Application to Urban Concept Electric Vehicles
Due to the concerns on climate change and Carbon Credit Program (CCP), most of the vehicle manufacturers have prioritized the development and production of electric vehicles (EVs) as a remedy to emission issues of internal combustion engines. However, one of the most challenging problems for EVs is the usage of limited battery capacity due to the high cost of it. This issue adversely affects the drive distance. The constraint is not only cost, but also additional weight and required sufficient space of the each cell are the limiting factors. For this reason, EV manufacturers prefer to reduce the weight of the vehicle body. At this point, fiber reinforced polymer composites can serve better alternatives rather than using the conventional light metal alloys. In addition, an advanced composite material, sandwich structure that provides high bending rigidity with lightweight can be very suitable for the EV chassis. In this study, chassis for two different urban concept EVs were designed using sandwich structures. The sandwich panels have consisted of carbon fiber fabrics and very light PVC foam core. Sandwich structure in the chassis provided approximately 49% and 82% weight reduction compared to former aluminum and steel chassis, respectively. Two different urban concept EVs having this kind of chassis wereproduced and the two-seated EV participated to two different efficiency oriented EV competitions. In both competitions, the vehicle obtained the first place awards with the best efficient scores. Index Terms: Composite Material, Sandwich Structure, Electric Vehicle, Lightweight Chassis Design.