Germany's Visio.M Group Aims for Ultra-Lightweight Electric Vehicle

By · February 05, 2013


Germany's Visio.M consortium is developing an extremely lightweight vehicle that showcases efficiency, safety and the impact of reducing weight on electric vehicle performance. The consortium consists of long list of major players, including BMW, Daimler, the Technische Universität München, Autoliv BV & Co., the Federal Highway Research Institute, Continental Automotive, E.ON, Finepower, Hyve, IAV, InnoZ, Intermap Technologies, LION Smart, Neumayer Tekfor Holding, Siemens AG, Texas Instruments and TÜV SÜD. The project is funded with $15 million provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The target is to develop, in less than three year's time, an electric car with a range of at least 62 miles, a top speed in excess of 75 mph and a base vehicle weight (not counting the battery pack) of only 882 pounds. The vehicle is logically named the Visio.M Electric Vehicle.

The Visio.M is based on the MUTE electric research vehicle developed by TUM. The base vehicle will be fitted with a 15-kW electric motor, which the developers claim will be sufficient due to the vehicle's low curb weight. Remember, we're looking at a vehicle that's expected to weigh around 1,200 pounds with its battery pack in place.

The Visio.M developers will rely on a carbon fiber monocoque body structure to keep weight to a minimum and will utilize carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics throughout the passenger compartment. Though expensive, the use of carbon fiber throughout will keep weight to minimum while maintaining a high level of overall safety. In fact, one of the specific goals of this project is to explore and develop methods for achieving maximum safety in an ultra-compact vehicle. The team will research various types of active and passive safety systems.

The first full-production EV from BMW, a participant in the Visio.M project, will be the i3, which is expected to have a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque body structure.

The Visio.M team says a research prototype vehicle passed initial chassis tests and that some of the systems, including electronic stability control and anti-lock braking, have been tested at a site near Munich.

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