OPTIBODY: A New Structural Design Focused in Safety 2013-01-2760
With electric vehicles becoming more and more popular, the classic “general purpose” vehicle concept is changing to a “dedicated vehicle” concept. Light trucks for goods delivery in cities are one of the examples. The European vehicle category L7e fits perfectly in the low power, low weight vehicle requirements for an electric light truck for goods delivery. However, the safety requirements of this vehicle category are very low and their occupants are highly exposed to injuries in the event of a collision. The European Commission co-funded project OPTIBODY (Optimized Structural components and add-ons to improve passive safety in new Electric Light Trucks and Vans) is developing a new structural concept based on a chassis, a cabin a several add-ons. The add-ons will provide improved protection in case of frontal, side and rear impact. Two mains issues also considered in both the chassis and the add-ons design were the crash compatibility and the interaction with the vulnerable road users.
The OPTIBODY project has proposed frontal, side, rear and pedestrian impact tests for improving self and partner protection for this vehicle category. The OPTIBODY vehicle has been designed using this test proposal as targets and the frontal crash test simulations showed an improvement in the cabin integrity and self and partner protection. This vehicle design will provide a new modular architecture for L7e vehicles that will improve self and partner protection and reparability in case of collision.