Urban e-Mobility - Challenges and potential solutions using the example of the "E3W" concept vehicle
Due to the increasing number of people in urban areas, there is a need for affordable individual transportation. Limited space in cities together with the need for a significant reduction of pollution will lead to new mobility concepts in the near future. The aim of these concepts is not replacing the car itself, but to supply an additional personal transportation solution with local zero emission. Therefore, electrical powered vehicle concepts may be used. Due to the limited energy density and high cost of current Li-ion batteries, a significant weight reduction of the vehicle could lead to acceptable range and cost. In order to develop an affordable urban concept, the requirements for this kind of vehicle also have to be adjusted in comparison to conventional cars. This concept, the so called "E3W", combines the advantages of a two-wheeler with those of a four-wheeler, resulting in a lightweight and compact vehicle. This concept accommodates space for two persons with luggage and guarantees a high level of safety including wind and weather protection. The overall measures of this vehicle are smaller than current compact cars and allow therefore better use in cities. In order to fulfill technical and commercial requirements, a load carrying, short fiber reinforced thermoplastic body structure is chosen, combining good weight specific mechanical properties and low production costs. This highly integrated body structure also provides the body cover all in one. Pultruded glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) beams are used as the backbone for the vehicle by carrying the main loads, the front crash structure and the rear swingarm. Finally, two prototypes are built to investigate the driving behavior, proof the concept and the suitability for daily use.