With the aim of becoming a center of excellence in electric vehicle development, Applus IDIADA is bringing its technical capability in that arena to the SAE 2012 World Congress in Detroit April 24-26.
Located in Spain outside Barcelona, the company calls itself “an engineering partner to the automotive industry providing complete solutions for product development projects world-wide.” Its team of more than 1000 engineers and technicians—along with its lab, development, and testing facilities—is geared to “a constant drive towards innovation.”
An example of that drive is the (e-born)3 project, which consisted of designing an innovative electric vehicle concept with functionalities at the center of the process. It’s a demonstration of the company’s capability to manage a complete vehicle development project focused on “functional excellence.”
The concept vehicle uses in-wheel motors for traction, allowing designers to explore new ways of packaging. There is a single front seat, and the second- and third-row seats are positioned face to face.
Each of the four doors is of a different type, the left front one being the only one that features conventional swing-forward technology. The right front is a vertically opening hatch that provides access to a storage compartment. In the back left is a sliding door, and in the back right are suicide doors.
(e-born)3 is designed so it could be used as a taxi or urban family transporter or, with the rear seats removed, as an urban delivery vehicle.
Vehicle designers worked closely with engineers in the areas of homologation, integrated safety, pedestrian protection, and aerodynamics. The design engineering department relied on the engineers’ extensive experience in vehicle functionalities, introducing them into development phases in line with the company’s “design led by functionality” motto.
The early integration of the styling, CAD, and CAE teams reduced the number of optimization loops, timing, and budget.
Some of the engineers involved in (e-born)3 will be on hand at the SAE Congress to discuss the project and the company’s general capabilities.
In its application to exhibit at the SAE Congress, the company’s Director of Corporate Integration & Innovation, Ignasi Ferrer, stated: “We demonstrate to our clients that we are a different engineering company. We conduct vehicle development projects from the beginning towards functional excellence, which is the essence of what our clients are demanding.”
Product development functionalities include passive safety, active safety, powertrain, NVH and comfort, reliability, electronics, and materials and processes.
The Barcelona-area headquarters complex is home to the company’s main technical center. Applus IDIADA has an international network of 28 subsidiaries and branch offices.
The company takes great pride in its homologation activities, which it says are recognized worldwide. Homologation is undertaken in accord with European EC directives and ECE regulations. Applus IDIADA is an accredited homologation service for Japan, Brazil, Australia, and many other countries in South America and the Middle East. It also performs project management of homologation programs in China, Korea, and India and for companies in self-certification countries such as the U.S.
Its large proving ground offers an array of test-drive circuits and features to try out vehicle performance in variable conditions. Twenty-eight fully equipped shops are available for client use.