Formtech launches the E1 research concept EV

Formtech created a vision of EV when they launched the E1 atFrankfurt’s IAA Motorshow in September.  The research study provides the base for a number of concepts in lightweighting technology using composites, high-end materials and machining.

Formtech’s EV started out as a concept for the companies CEO Franz Hilmer, “I wanted to develop a car that would provide me with a second vehicle that I can use to commute to work, but be stylish and provide the basis to exploit the technologies that Formtech is developing in lightweight materials, high-end precision manufacturing and other technologies.”

Designers: Satoshi Nakamura, Tomas Beres, and Rafael Gross, were given the brief to develop a number of concepts, “The chosen concept of the E1 came from the idea that a secondary car; where the customer already owns a vehicle, and considering an eco-friendly alternative especially designed for short commute, with the capacity to carry 4 passengers, should be simple and take full advantage of the electric drive train. The limited top speed and range will create a lighter, more efficient vehicle, perfect for a second car. The design features a short overhang at both ends to create maximum capacity within the given wheelbase dimension. The side surface wraps around to the front and rear end, creating a sense of security and strength to the overall form. “, said Nakamura.

“The future of EV’s will be based around a number of game changing technologies”, says Mark Preston, ex-F1 designer, “I forsee a change in the way EV’s are perceived with lightweight carbon composites and vehicle dynamics technology such as torque vectoring driving exciting new areas of customer interest.  We created the research study in order to create a platform from which Formtech can develop these new technologies and provide solutions for all areas of EV development”.

The Formtech E1 forms the basis of further development studies by Formtech into the exciting new area of EV’s.  Further studies will be released from Formtech that follow up on the beginnings created with the E1.  “Formtech is committed to working towards the future and welcomes discussions with interested companies and investors from the green sector“, says Hilmer.

Megacities and EV’s

I recently looked into what it would take to own a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt/Ampera in a city.  I live in the centre of Oxford in the UK and have a membership of a car sharing organisation (Commonwheels) which has a number of cars just nearby.  I have done a lot of research into EV’s as part of my involvement in Oxford YASA Motors spinout of Oxford University and an ongoing involvement in composites through Formtech which are quite relevant to weight saving in this sector.

Many of the market predictions on EV uptake reference Megacities and the likihood of a change in usage habits driving growth in the market.  However, it is quite difficult for me to own an EV.

I test drove the Nissan Leaf and much to my surprise, it was, just like a normal car!  I think I was mostly surprised that I should be surprised.  It had plenty of power off the line, had good build quality, did everything a normal car does and had plenty of extra electronic gadgets that go with EV such as SatNav with predicted ranges and other handy tools for managing range aniexty.

The big problem is charging an EV at home when you have a terrace house in the inner city!  There are currently no schemes for on street charging in Megacities.  Plenty of solutions for people with big houses, garages and off street parking, but not what I would call the areas that may drive EV growth.

As always, new innovations come from solving problems and this looks like the next peice of the puzzle that needs to be solved before I could look at EV in the centre of a city.