Electric and hybrid vehicle crashworthiness simulation
by R.G. Whirley, B.E. Engelmann
International Journal of Vehicle Design (IJVD), Vol. 18, No. 5, 1997

Abstract: The design of safe electric and hybrid vehicles (EVs) poses several unique engineering challenges. First, the large battery mass in an EV gives the vehicle significantly more kinetic energy to dissipate in a crash than a similar-size internal combustion powered (IC) vehicle. In addition, the rapid advances in EV technology yield a platform life for electric vehicles that is significantly shorter than for IC vehicles, thus requiring that physical testing costs be minimized. and shortened design cycles be developed. These considerations have emphasized the importance of integrating vehicle crashworthiness modelling into the 'Virtual Prototyping' design process and using physical testing for design verification rather than design development. This paper discusses crashworthiness simulation methodology improvements in automatic contact and shell element formulations and illustrates the role of these improvements in shortening model development time and improving simulation reliability. These capabilities are then used to examine several EV-specific crashworthiness characteristics of upfit vehicles, including a pickup truck and a passenger sedan. Concluding remarks address the extension of these virtual prototyping and crashworthiness simulation methods to lightweight vehicles constructed of advanced materials such as aluminium and composites.

Online publication date: Thu, 29-May-2014

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