GROVE, England—Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and Italdesign are partnering to produce a modular electric vehicle platform for niche applications. The joint venture will enable both newcomers and established OEMs in the automotive sector to benefit from the expertise of two global leaders in EV engineering and design.

“We are delighted to join forces with Italdesign on this exciting and timely collaboration,” says Paul McNamara, technical director at WAE. “Demand for high-performance electric vehicles is continuing to show considerable growth, but to date, there has not been a complete EV production solution. This unique relationship brings together state-of-the-art EV rolling chassis technology with one of the world’s leaders in vehicle body engineering.”

The foundation of the new venture is WAE’s innovative EV architecture, which features a lightweight composite rolling chassis platform. The EVX integrates the battery casing with elements typically perceived as part of the body structure. Front and rear chassis structures mount to the carbon composite case and crash loads can be transferred via internal reinforcements to the integral side sills.

“The resulting higher profiled cross section achieves much of the torsional stiffness needed to deliver the full potential of the platform,” notes McNamara. “These two design philosophies reduce reliance on the upper structure, which then gives greater design freedom for a variety of ‘top hats.’”

Starting from WAE’s rolling chassis, Italdesign’s engineers will complete the vehicle architecture by adding safety systems and structures that will serve as a base to build up several different types of high-performances vehicles, including crossovers and sedans.

“[Featuring] reduced time to market, flexibility and affordability at low-to-medium volumes, the new platform is capable of supporting production runs up to 10,000 units,” explains McNamara. “Featuring a molded composite structural battery, EVX sets new standards, reducing both investment and part costs.

“The core pack…has the ability to deliver 1,000-kilowatts of power with 104 to 120 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy,” claims McNamara. “The flexibility within the module design enables expansion of the pack, [allowing] up to 160 kWh for a potential 1,000-kilometer vehicle range.

“As well as being a structural component of EVX, the platform can accommodate wheelbases from 2,900 to 3,100 millimeters, with customers able to choose rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive layouts,” explains McNamara.

“Combining recycled composite materials with aluminum, EVX is lightweight and sets new standards for static and torsional stiffness,” says McNamara. “With class-leading performance and mass targets, [it] will provide the perfect basis for tomorrow’s electric vehicles, supporting a flexible range of power train options with outstanding aerodynamics and safety performance.”

“The partnership will allow the premium vehicle industry to harness an unprecedented amount of
sector-leading expertise,” adds McNamara. “We will be able to support both new automotive entrants…and established OEMS bringing EVs to market…with turnkey project delivery across the board.”