Electric vehicle design for the future

Electric commuter car design

As I watch the huge number of new designs come out I wonder if they have actually lost the plot.
Artistic, streamlined, fast, slow, and darn site ugly etc none really practical as a mass commuter car.
If we look at the race car of 100 years ago and look at what they have today.

It is obvious today that fat tires, space frames, and totally enclosed passenger space were the way to go, but not 100 years ago.

So what do we want today in a dedicated commuter car that needs only get to the city speed limit of 50 km to 60 km/h and 2 people to the 60 km daily commute.
It need not be the family car as it would only be used by the worker of the family and the other car can be any that suits the family situation.

It has to be safe and with the racecars they have what I call deflection safety where components like wheels etc are sacrificed to protect the driver.
VW had this with a solid metal central frame and it tended in a head on crash to push the car to one side allowing the mudguard and wheel to deflect the crash.
I have not seen a VW with a direct head on crunch. Always a sideswipe.

So the chassis of an electric car has to have substantial beams or construction in the front that allows approaching solid objects to deflect the cars front from the passengers.
In the 1970s a research team used foam filled alloy box or shapes as part of a car and tested them to destruction.
The result was a huge amount of energy adsorption for the weight and size of the foam filled light alloy components.
An ideal aerodynamic front for any car which becomes a bumper as well.

The battery box then would be the main object to have in front
( batteries are cheaper, can be insured, but dead humans are difficult to replace)

So a solid battery box with a foam filled impact streamlining front nose cone.

This should not be fiberglass as this is both heavy and brittle so at least a alloy foam filled box . The alloy having crunching energy adsorbing ability.
Behind the battery is the passenger’s compartment.
Now who wants to crawl down to the level of a snake and wriggle into a super slim car?
No we need to approach the car and lift a gull wing door that enables one to walk into the car with dignity even with a child or carry cot in arms.
The next thing is the holding of the passenger in place by the seat belts.
These should have a attachment that has some limited give so that the passenger in a crash is decelerated slower than the car.
The car will be a total mess after a crash but the passengers are more important

These are the obvious things in their design and to date only one, near impossible to make , design has a walk in door.
All seem to be artistic and good looking or practical and darned ugly.

My own design from 1978 has all the features I mentioned.
Is made from 3 sheets of alloy
And tubular frame
It is pleasant to look at but the design could be better looking with combinations of different materials.
Alloy where best used.
Fiberglass where prettiness is needed.
Steel or alloy box section or tube where strength is needed.
So here is my original design

click on image to enlarge

And here is the sketch of the newer chassis we never got to produce as we went on then to make an electric truck and all the buyers wanted a 2 seat electric commuter
Oh well we all make mistakes
sorry about the size dont know how to reduce it

this is an approximate drawing of the layout of the production car chassis
not a very good drawing as made from memory of 30 years ago but the general layout is shown

The use of a foam filled front and the batteries behind it meant most of the cars weight was in front of the passengers and adsorbed a crash energy
so with a air bag system in a modern version there would be a viable car suitable for today’s traffic

mobility scooters copied car design 100 years ago and still, believe it or not, all have the stupid tiller steering and no bonnet.

Lets hope that electric cars do not follow gas car designs and fail horribly in their practicality.

Interesting post … thanks for sharing

we had one of the design persons from the morris mini almost next door to us and he was a great help in getting the precise layout of the car.
his job back then was the fitting of humans to a car.
in particular the gull wing layout has never been duplicated and it gave a full head hight when open and did not encroach past the width of a human body sideways.
as well it shape allowed a solid bar at the bend to latch onto the front and rear roll bars and with a simple 3rd latch made the entire cab very secure.
as well the shape allowed water /draft proofing very easy and secure some thing even the most expensive cars dont tell about.