The European Project STEEL S4 EV, funded by the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) has successfully completed the first half of research and development activities. This item has coincided in the time with the presentation of the design of the second vehicle of the project: the threewheeler. The design presents several parallelism with the four wheels vehicle defined in the first stages of the project. The objectives behind this similarity are multiple, on one hand to simplify and make cheaper the manufacturing process, making possible to assembly both vehicles in the same assembly line, on the other hand to warranty the same level of integral safety as in the four wheels vehicle.
The solution adopted for the threewheeler is a two in line seats vehicle, with one wheel in the front, the electric motor in the rear axle, under the rear seat, and the battery pack under the front seat. The structure of the vehicle is made of different grades of Advanced High Strength Steel, where the geometry of the tubes and their thickness have been optimized to maximize the energy absorption in the frontal part of the vehicle and to warranty the undeformability of the safety cell, where the occupants are allocated.
In order to get this target, in parallel to the optimization of the crashworthiness through the finite elements methodology, advanced research is been done about the optimization of the welded joints of the advanced high strength steels. In every welding joint, not only the weld seam, but also the heat affected zone, suffers an important loss of mechanical properties due to the melting and uncontrolled cooling of the material. In the case of the Advanced High Strength Steels, this loss of properties is still more critical due to the special characteristics of the material. One of the objectives of STEEL S4 EV Project is to optimize the welding parameters, to improve the heat treatment of the joints in order to improve the static, dynamic and fatigue behavior of the welding joints of the complete structure of both vehicles, the three wheeler and also the four wheels vehicle.
In April, it has been held the Midterm Review Meeting of STEEL S4 EV Project, between the Project Coordinator, the Project Officer and some technical experts from the TGA 4. After a successful meeting, the activities of the project go on with the focus on the prototype manufacturing and the preparation of the different tests.
The international Symposium on Impact Engineering, ISIE 2019, aims to establish a professional dialogue between cultures, scientists and industry engineers on the field of experimental and computational mechanism with focus on impact and other dynamic problems.
The 2019 edition was hold in Gmunden in Upper Austria on 2-5th July 2019, the location offers a relaxed atmosphere, a beautiful environment, and a high-class service for the conference. Cidaut was there as Coordinator of Steel S4 EV project, presenting the preliminary results obtained in this project funded by the European Commission in the frame of the H2020 initiative. The presentation was focused on the crash results taking advantage of the participants’ expertize in impact engineering, mainly coming from Asia and Europe, but also with representative from America. The advances on the vehicle structure design and the evolution of the crash behavior from the starting of the project to the nowadays situation was presented.
The project has covered the first year out of three, its main target is putting high strength steels at the forefront of a new trend in electric vehicles: light vehicles with three or four wheels that comply with crash regulation and with more restrictive Euro NCAP demands. Weld joint design and welding methodologies research to maintain the material properties in the weld area, assuring the robustness and long term durability.
Cost effective low-investment manufacturing will be achieved by a modular and flexible structural design: a complex 3D skeleton frame of welded tubes, bent with high accuracy using programmed laser cuts will enable the production of different vehicles sharing the same tooling.
The six partners of the Consortium (Cidaut, IFEVS, Belgian Welding Institute, Lulea Technical University, Magnetto Automotive and thinkstep) have met at thinstep’s facilities in Stuttgart to discuss about the evolution of the project. STEEL S4 EV aims at putting high strength steel at the forefront of a new trend in electric vehicles: light vehicles with three or four wheels that comply with crash regulation and with more restrictive Euro NCAP demands. Weld joint design and welding methodologies research to keep material properties along the joints assuring robustness and long term durability. To do this cost competitively low investment manufacturing will be achieved by a modular and flexible structural design: a complex 3D skeleton frame of welded tubes, bent with high accuracy using programmed laser cuts will enable different vehicles sharing the same tooling.
Representatives of the six partners involved in STEEL S4 EV project
This is the First Steering Committee Meeting and it has been hold in the fifth month of the project. All the project activities are running in accordance to the timing. This time special attention has been paid to the input data needed for the Life Cycle Assessment.
STEEL S4 EV is our last recently approved e-mobility project. Building from our experience in previous projects such as FP7 e-light “Advanced Structural Light-Weight Architectures for Electric Vehicles”, FP7 PLUSMOBY “Premium Low weight Urban Sustainable e-MOBilitY” or the soon to be finished FP7 Urban EV “Super Light Architectures for Safe and Affordable Urban Electric Vehicles”, STEEL S4 EV focuses on very competitive structural concepts made with high strength alloy steels. It is funded by the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (Grant Agreement-800726).
STEEL S4 EV aims at putting high strength steels at the forefront of a new trend in electric vehicles: light vehicles with three or four wheels that comply with crash regulation and with more restrictive Euro NCAP demands. Weld joint design and welding methodologies research to maintain the material properties in the weld area, assuring robustness and long term durability. Cost-effective low-investment manufacturing will be achieved by a modular and flexible structural design: a complex 3D skeleton frame of welded tubes, bent with high accuracy using programmed laser cuts will enable the production of different vehicles sharing the same tooling.
The STEEL S4 EV project was kicked off last September at CIDAUT premises. The Consortium is coordinated by CIDAUT, and includes INTERACTIVE FULLY ELECTRICAL VEHICLES (I-FEVS), the Belgian Welding Institute, the University of Lulea, Magnetto Automotive, and Thinkstep. 6 partners with two vehicle prototypes in mind and many different use cases. Soon our project website will be up and running!
The Aachen Body Engineering Days (ABED), which took place on the 20-21st of September in the facilities of the ALIVE partner IKA, at the RWTH Aaachen University, became the platform to present the final results of ALIVE and ENLIGHT, being the flagship R&D projects funded by the EC in the domain of vehicle lightweighting. A workshop on the 22nd of September and a booth with the demonstrators was dedicated to the SEAM cluster projects. ALIVE demonstrators were showcased in this event, which was a success, counting on the presence of more than 100 attendees during the conferences who generated interesting debates related to project results. Different dissemination audiences targeted in the project also did attend and contribute to the event, including policymakers (European Commission Project Officer Mr. Maurizio Maggiore) and external industrial and research peers form the wider lightweight community. The final plenary session was also wrapped up with specific guidelines and recommendations towards future policy making and follow-up R&D initiatives in the field.
During this project CIDAUT has developed an innovative magnesium casting methodology, its control an application to automotive components, which was demonstrated in this project by prototyping a component on the roof (roof node). Magnesium is currently the focus of the Remaghic project were the high pressure die casting is featured as the manufacturing process, and recycling of magnesium and rare earths, and alloying both recycled sources to form a better and cost effective alloy is being carried out. After the ALIVE experience, we will be looking forward to new collaborations opportunities to increase magnesium utilization in the industry.