1998-02-23

Electric Vehicle Cockpit and Lightweight Components Development 980436

Textron Automotive Company (TAC) has been selected to develop the cockpit instrument panel, front fascia and bumper beam to the Solectria Sunrise, an all composite four-passenger mass-producible electric vehicle funded by Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) and Boston Edison. The Sunrise meets many of the 1997 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for crashworthiness and has been designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle. Solectria Sunrise can be driven 204 miles without recharging1, can achieve a top speed of 75 mph, and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 17 seconds.2
TAC has developed the following components made from glass reinforced urethanes or lightweight urethane materials: structural cockpit assembly (including cross car beam and ducting), fascia, bumper beams, and other related components. These components require the lowest weight design, through part integration, and lightest materials as this vehicle will only weigh 2000 lbs with an 800 lb battery.
Key technology gains included a one piece structural cockpit which incorporates the ducting, steering column and cross car support into the ambidextrous (right-hand or left-hand drive) instrument panel, instrument panel cluster pods for interchangeability of drivers and passenger side pods, a structural reinforced polyurethane bumper beam without a separate energy absorber which meets the 5 mph impact testing, a filled urethane fascia weighing 7% less than conventional urethane fascia, and the use of low cost tooling.

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