Wil­liams’ new chas­sis

Rad­i­cal EV technology shown

Auto Car (UK) - - THIS WEEK - STEVE CRO­P­LEY

Anew com­pos­ite chas­sis con­cept, aimed at show­ing car mak­ers an ef­fi­cient way of chang­ing from petrol to elec­tric cars, is be­ing launched this week at the Cenex LCV show by Wil­liams Ad­vanced En­gi­neer­ing (WAE).

The new con­cept, dubbed FW-EVX, shows how car mak­ers can cre­ate all-new plug-in hybrid or full-elec­tric mod­els with­out go­ing through the com­par­a­tively in­ef­fi­cient stage of build­ing elec­tri­fied ver­sions of con­ven­tional cars.

FW-EVX is a highly op­ti­mised all-elec­tric rolling chas­sis — in ef­fect, a scal­able and self-sup­port­ing ‘skate­board’. It uses a rigid and com­pact com­pos­ite struc­ture to carry elec­tric mo­tors (up to four), to mount trac­tion bat­ter­ies in a low and safe lo­ca­tion, to man­age air­flows for both com­po­nent cool­ing and aero­dy­namic ef­fi­ciency and to pro­vide mount­ings for new, Wil­liams-de­signed car­bon­fi­bre sus­pen­sion parts (see sep­a­rate story, above right).

Other so-called skate­boards have been pro­posed in the past, but none ca­pa­ble of han­dling so many com­pet­ing car func­tions at once, or with such scal­able ver­sa­til­ity built in. The con­cept could work, Wil­liams en­gi­neers claim, for both com­pos­ite and alu­minium con­struc­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Craig Wilson, WAE’S man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, the FW-EVX con­cept can make an EV lighter, safer and greener than a con­ven­tional adapted de­sign. Its space ef­fi­ciency al­lows it to carry a big­ger bat­tery, for a longer range and bet­ter per­for­mance.

The whole sys­tem, sub­ject to Wil­liams patents, has been con­fig­ured for max­i­mum adapt­abil­ity, al­low­ing clients to fit it with a wide range of ‘top hat’ bodystyles. “We be­lieve there’s a busi­ness with high po­ten­tial here,” said Wilson.

In ef­fect, FW-EVX con­sists of a rigid cen­tral plat­form with lat­est-spec crash struc­tures mounted front and rear. It car­ries a long, wide but thin un­der-floor bat­tery box in its cen­tre. The box is en­closed by a pair of hol­low, load-bear­ing com­pos­ite mem­bers, form­ing sills at the edges. They col­lect air at the front of the car, di­rect it through al­loy ra­di­a­tors mounted inside, and ex­haust it rear­wards in a way that can cre­ate down­force via an aero­dy­namic dif­fuser.

Com­pos­ite chas­sis can un­der­pin a wide range of bodystyles

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