Development of the All-Aluminum Light Body Structure for the Hybrid Electric Vehicle 2000-05-0267
Global environmental problems have become the focus of much attention in recent years as an issue to be dealt with on an international scale. To alleviate these problems, automobile manufacturers are attempting to develop recyclable body parts and reduce vehicle exhaust emissions. These efforts have spurred the development of Low Emission Vehicles (LEV) and recyclable materials. One type of LEV is called the Hybrid Electric Vehicle which functions as either an electric car or an internal combustion vehicle and can operate as either type according to driving conditions. This hybrid vehicle is superior to conventional automobiles due to reduced exhaust emissions yet has the disadvantage of increased weight since it holds motors, batteries, and drivetrain control systems as well as a conventional internal combustion engine. We succeeded in eliminating this disadvantage by developing a lighter body using aluminum structural material. In this paper, we describe distinctive features of the aluminum body structure and its development.