Electric mass mobility for urban environments

May 2, 2012, Technical University Munich
The electric vehicle prototype MUTE developed by the TU Muenchen will serve as a test carrier for the consortium partners to explore innovations and new technologies for vehicle safety, propulsion, energy storage, and operational concepts. Credit: Florian Lehmann / TU Muenchen

Electric vehicles powered by electricity from renewable energy sources are an attractive option for mobility within the urban area and beyond. However, previous approaches lead to vehicles that either are too heavy and too expensive or do not meet mass-market safety requirements. Within the joint research project Visio.M scientists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), in cooperation with engineers from the automotive industry, will develop concepts to produce electric cars that are efficient, safe, and inexpensive. Lead manager of the project is BMW AG. The project has a total volume of 10.8 million euros and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

Electric cars are silent and cause no emissions where they go. Therefore, they are considered an important option for future individual mobility in urban areas and beyond. But on the way to mass production of , there are still significant technological hurdles to overcome. Previous small electric vehicles offer only a minimum level of vehicle safety and therefore are not mass-marketable. that were derived from gasoline-powered models are usually too heavy and require large and expensive batteries.

Within the joint research project Visio.M well known companies of the German automotive industry, together with scientists from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, explore how the price and safety of small, efficient electric vehicles can be brought to a level enabling them to achieve a significant share of the mass market. The mobility concept deriving from these visionaries will be a vehicle with a power of 15 kilowatts and a maximum curb weight of 400 kg (without battery), meeting the requirements of the European regulatory category L7e.

As their test carrier the consortium partners use the electric vehicle prototype MUTE developed by the TU Muenchen to explore innovations and new technologies for vehicle safety, propulsion, energy storage, and operational concepts for implementation under the framework requirements of large-scale production. Special attention is given to safety-related design issues. Despite minimal weight, Visio.M is expected to achieve a level of protection equal to that offered by conventional cars with combustion engines.

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not rated yet May 02, 2012
Want a safe car? Reduce road speeds and make the cars lighter.

That's exactly what the L7e vehicle class is. It's a "heavy quadricycle". Typically an ATV or a similiar vehicle.

I didn't find clear information on whether you're required to wear a helmet while driving one though.

5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2012
@Eikka: You don't need any helmet neither for heavy nor for light quadricycles, but you are required to use safety belts.
not rated yet May 03, 2012
but you are required to use safety belts.

In the case of ATVs, wouldn't that be a bit suicidal?

Anyways. It seems that if you classify as a goods transport vehicle, an L7e can weigh up to 550 kg plus batteries, and can carry 1000 kg on top. Without that, you only get the 400 for the vehicle and 200 kg for passengers and cargo, so it's a two-seater at most.

not rated yet May 03, 2012
What they suggest already exists though.

It's the G-Wiz electric car, or the REVAi which is the newer model. It has 13 kW of power and it goes up to 50 mph, and weighs 665 kg with batteries, and 395 kg without, and it's crash tested to 25 mph.

It isn't exactly very safe though. With that sort of weight, you can't really afford things like crumpling zones, so the Germans have a tough challenge in actually making the thing safe.
not rated yet May 03, 2012
@Eikka: Motorized quadricycles are not ATV. See http://en.wikiped...dricycle
not rated yet May 03, 2012
Motorized quadricycles are not ATV.

But ATVs can be L7e class vehicles, and often are.

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