European researchers and manufacturers developing smart urban light vehicles

A European consortium of leading vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and research institutions is developing a comprehensive solution for the next generation of electrified, cost- and energy-efficient light vehicles.

The unrivalled modular development approach of the collaborative EU-LIVE (Efficient Urban LIght VEhicles) project will provide a complete range of different electrified powertrains and vehicle bodies with different designs that are cost-efficient and easy to produce.

Across the globe, the urban population continues to grow. While around 750 million people lived in cities in 1950, this number reached almost 4 billion in 2014. As this rapid increase continues, 73% of Europe’s total population currently resides in urban areas, which leads to increased traffic congestion, as well as higher noise and air pollution.

The demand for individual mobility remains high in cities as well. Motor vehicles in the L-category (motorized light vehicles with 2, 3 or 4 wheels) on a modular basis offer a com-plementary, individualized mobility alternative to public transport and “soft” modes of mo-bility, such as walking and cycling.

New concepts such as car sharing and carpooling will take on an even more important role in urban mobility in the future. For this purpose, novel vehicle types are needed that are designed for these systems and can be integrated into the infrastructure in an optimal way.

The problem: The development and production of L-category vehicles is relatively complex and expensive because, compared to traditional passenger cars models, only quantities lower by a factor of 10 to 100 can be produced in the market. As a result, it has not yet been possible to devise a cost and resource-efficient development and series production process.

The EU-LIVE research and development partnership is working on a comprehensive Eu-ropean solution for the next generation of electrified, cost- and energy-efficient urban light vehicles. To this end, for the first time for light vehicles, the focus is on continuous modularity in full and partial electrification of powertrains (including in-wheel motors), but also of car bodies for different purposes and users. The modular design and production enables a significant cost reduction, which will make these vehicles far more attractive to end users.

Unique: The “EU-LIVE modular platform”

The overall goal of the project is the development and application of a comprehensive, user-centric, European approach for the efficient design, development and production of a whole range of L-category vehicles: the “EU-LIVE Modular Platform”. This modular plat-form comprises a wide variety of powertrains, car bodies and components within this vehi-cle category, as well as the integrated co-simulation of the full system including the usage of standardized interfaces from the automotive area.

The open design simplifies re-usability and flexibility, as well as the mutual exchange of different vehicle components and systems of all L-category vehicles with a special emphasis on the electrified power-train. This open design can also be applied to a wide range of vehicle types. Whether they are designs similar to the current market or radically new vehicle designs, the modular EU-LIVE platform provides the solid foundation for quiet, clean, energy-efficient and safe individual mobility in urban areas.

Project overview

The EU-LIVE project has a total budget of 6.7 million EUR. It is coordinated by the VIR-TUAL VEHICLE Research Center in Graz and combines the know-how of 12 partners from six countries, including two large European vehicle manufacturers (PSA Peugeot Citroën, Peugeot Scooters) and numerous renowned suppliers and prestigious research institutions.

At the end of the 3-year research project, prototypical demonstrators for a full-fledged plug-in hybrid tricycle, a purely electric motorcycle as well as a concept of a four-wheel vehicle (selected from an “Open Innovation Competition”) will be presented.

www.eu-live.eu

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