Reliable Partner for Turnkey Vehicle Development

From a Single Source – Part III

5. July 2019 | Engineering Service

Part three of the series “Turnkey Vehicle Development From a Single Source”.

You find the first part of the series here.
And the second part of the series here.

Within the last decade, FEV has become an engineering service provider capable of covering the entire service spectrum of vehicle development. Three articles take a closer look at vehicle modules, body shell, interior/exterior, light and sight and chassis modules. Vehicle properties, such as NVH, driving dynamics, passive and active safety, and fatigue strength are considered. Virtual and real-life testing are the development tools here. The activities are accompanied by various control tasks such as benchmarking with subsequent target setting, test and prototype planning, weight management and homologation.

FEV assumes responsibility for the complete scope of turnkey vehicle development, as well as for the development of individual modules and for the selective design and calculation scope of individual components. The fact that the development competence for powertrain, transmission and vehicle comes from a single source makes FEV an ideal development partner – also for electrified vehicles. FEV offers particular expertise in the conversion of conventionally powered vehicles into electric vehicles. The ideal results here can be achieved only through the closely integrated and parallel development of powertrain and vehicle. Some turnkey vehicle development tasks will be introduced in the following:

Chassis and driving dynamics

For vehicles of all types, the chassis establishes the connection to the road, making it the assembly that transfers the force and torque which affect the vehicle. The chassis’ key task is therefore to always guarantee this contact, as otherwise the transfer of force is not possible. The fact that the road is never smooth and straight, as well as still having various friction coefficients, makes this task so demanding. Overall, the chassis is responsible for driving safety, driving comfort, and dynamic vehicle behavior, which can be broadly divided into longitudinal dynamics (brakes), lateral dynamics (steering) and vertical dynamics (suspension/absorption). There are conflicts of objectives, particularly in the conflict area between driving comfort and driving safety, which have to be resolved in the field of chassis design.

FEV also covers the complete development process in chassis and driving dynamics development. FEV is able to integrate its experience and skills into projects – from the development of new concepts and target values to the construction of parts and modules, right through to the testing and final approval of prototypes. A team of trained drivers is on hand for the tuning of dynamic driving properties to assess and optimize the vehicle subjectively and objectively with the aid of corresponding measurement technology. The close proximity of FEV to the ATC Testing Center in Aldenhoven (Germany) represents a major advantage here. An increasing number of electronic systems are also finding their way into vehicles. In addition to the ABS and ESP systems legally in force today, many advanced driver assistance systems affect the road holding and stability of the vehicle via the chassis. This again underlines the importance of the chassis for modern vehicles, as well as provides an explanation for FEV’s active role in the development of these new systems.

Alternative drive concepts with one or more electric engines offer a means of developing new chassis concepts that were previously impossible due to the installation space in conventional combustion engines.

Passive safety development

For years, there has been particular focus on passive vehicle safety in terms of development and is also in the special interest of buyers, as life and health depend on it in the event of an accident. In addition to legal provisions that have to be met for the registration and maintenance of a car (homologation), there are consumer protection organizations, such as EuroNCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme), which go beyond the minimum legal requirement – for instance, to assess the passive vehicle safety of cars.

In the past, the Consumer Protection Rating became increasingly important, causing the requirements for achieving a high rating (five stars) to increase steadily. The speed at which new test methods, test equipment, and crash dummies are introduced presents huge challenges for vehicle manufacturers every year. Globally active vehicle manufacturers not only have to meet different legal requirements worldwide, they also have to achieve a top rating in the different regional consumer protection ratings – for example J NCAP in Japan, C NCAP in China, US NCAP in the US and Bharat NCAP in India.

The introduction of the pedestrian protection leg impactor (aPLI) is a representative example of the rate of change of EuroNCAP for the implementation of new test specimens. The decision in favor of this new impactor was made in February 2019, resulting in the development strategy for projects already started with SOP 2022 having to be changed. However, the leg impactor currently exists only in the form of a physical impactor, with a virtual development model for the simulation expected to become available for the first time in the second half of 2019.

Thanks to the knowledge and the network of experts at FEV, customers can make the right adjustments to their projects at an early stage in order to implement farreaching development strategies in their development projects as soon as possible. FEV also provides the functional design during development in the field of passive vehicle safety. In addition to virtual crash simulations, part, component, and overall vehicle tests are organized, performed and evaluated. FEV facilities can be used for part and component tests. The company is working together with longstanding partners in the field of overall vehicle crashes. The integration of safetyrelevant components, such as airbags, is also managed by safety experts – constant and close communication between the virtual functional design, system suppliers, and construction is a given here.