The ELVA Project's EV Design Support Tool 2014-01-1967
The ELVA project (Advanced Electric Vehicle Architectures) was co-funded under the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme and had the goal of developing vehicle architectures specifically designed for electric powered vehicles. The consortium was formed by the Institute for Automotive Engineering (ika) of RWTH Aachen University (coordinator), Applus+ IDIADA, Volkswagen, Renault, Centro Richerche Fiat (CRF), Continental and the Swedish Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre (SAFER).
The main objectives of the ELVA project were:
To generate, investigate and analyze innovative design concepts for EVs
To deliver a wide range of advanced modular architectures that enable the same level of safety as today's best known practices
To minimize weight, maximize energy efficiency, optimize ergonomics and space at affordable costs with good levels of comfort and performance
To deliver best practices and evidence based design rules for modular lightweight and safe architectures specifically for EVs
The project, which was characterized by an intensive interaction among the partners, completed the design of three electric vehicle concepts, that were developed in parallel and doing iterative design loops. These vehicles were developed from the ground up, i.e. no modifications or adaptations of existing internal combustion vehicles were made. This allowed the design of the electric vehicles to take advantage of the new freedoms in design that the use of electric powertrains provide to the designers.
All the design process was fully documented and summarized so that the results of this project can be used as guidelines and best practices. Also, this information was used in creating a design support tool where the main attributes of an electric vehicle are associated, providing valuable tips on what are the cause and effect of modifying each of the variables introduced.
The interactive design tool was created using the association of variables that were the result of the previous work. The content of the tool can be accessed by engineers and designers, where the user can modify or request different values for the most important elements of an electric vehicle and learn about the effects in other aspects they impose and receive the best or advised practice. The results are given in graphical form, so that the user has a complete overview of how all elements of the vehicle interact with each other, complemented by 2D schematics of the optimal architecture and a 3D view of the proposed layout.
The design support tool was designed with a simple user interface, in which the designer can select the segment, the desired range, power, tire class, type of batteries, and some other variables that affect directly the characteristics of an EV. The output is a screen with the calculated results from the choices, and when not possible, a message warning that the selected criteria are not available. Equally, even if the criteria can be reached, but it can be optimized, a flag warns the user so that he knows about the improvement available.