Williams Advanced Engineering has just released the first details of a new Lightweight Electric Platform. This new scalable platform could go on to underpin the next generation of electric vehicles and features a raft of new technology designed and engineered by the team in Grove.
By starting with a blank sheet of paper, Williams Advanced Engineering is intending to make EVs lighter, safer and greener by utilising a ground-up approach to its development. Being scalable, the new platform could find itself underpinning a variety of new vehicles, although WAE has yet to go into any detail as to its future applications.
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At the core of this new platform is an innovative battery exoskeleton. This module not only protects the batteries, but also contributes to the overall structural rigidity. Engineered via a process of forming high-strength 3D structures from 2D materials, this battery casing will also support integrated battery cooling, a capability that is increasingly important as batteries become more powerful and temperature sensitive.
WAE has also developed new composite suspension components, including carbonfibre-reinforced wishbones that reduce weight over aluminium wishbones by up to 40 per cent. These composite components are not only light, but are also constructed via a new, heavily-automated process that produces almost zero waste.
The development of these new composite-rich electric platforms is still in its infancy, but ironically the notion of platforms being developed by a different party to the main manufacturer is a technique that was very common in the past.
If we rely on engineering firms like Williams Advanced Engineering to develop the platforms that underpin a variety of different vehicles, will the benefits outweigh the reduction in the car industry's diversity? Whatever the case, the proliferation of this type of technology will become increasingly important as the pressure to go electric continues to grow.