Lightweight Construction and Ecological Design for Electric Vehicles

EU Project ALMA (Advanced Light Materials and Processes for the Eco-Design of Electric Vehicles)

E-mobility and lightweight construction are drivers of the energy transition in modern vehicle development. Therefore, they stand in the focus of the ALMA project. Nine European organizations are now working in the EU project to develop more energy-efficient and sustainable vehicles. Companies from research and industry are optimizing the efficiency and range of electric vehicles, among other things by reducing the weight of the overall vehicle. At the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM, we are providing support with mathematical simulation expertise.

According to its strategy for low-emission mobility, the European Union aims to put at least 30 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads by 2030. More climate protection, new markets, less dependence on fossil fuels – mobility is to be rethought. To make transport more climate-friendly, EU measures are being taken to promote jobs, investment and innovation. The Horizon 2020 project of the European Commission ALMA represents one of these measures.

 

Concentrated Competence: Fraunhofer ITWM Supports With Simulation Expertise

The project brings together nine partners from four countries of the European Union. We contribute our long-standing expertise in the field of efficient multiscale and process simulation of fiber-reinforced composite components. Our customized simulation tools create a digital twin and support the optimization of lightweight structures during vehicle development. This includes the simulation of the forming process of SMC components to calculate the local fiber concentration and fiber orientation with FLUID and the subsequent multiscale simulation of the thermomechanical behavior with FeelMath to predict the strength and damage behavior.

Project Goals: Extended Range and Weight Reduction Thanks to Multi-Material Platform

To improve the efficiency and range of electric vehicles, the weight of the overall vehicle is to be reduced. In addition, the upcoming stricter EU regulations require the optimization of the production process towards a more sustainable circular economy – here, the entire life cycle of the vehicles and the supply chains are being looked at. In this context, the companies and research institutions are also working together on the sustainable life cycle of an e-vehicle platform. This includes intelligent recycling and possible options for material recovery.

ALMA Concept
© ALMA
ALMA concept in schematic representation.

The project defines very specific goals: To meet the challenges, ALMA will develop a novel battery-electric vehicle structure for a passenger car, resulting in a vehicle structure weight reduction of 45 percent compared to the current baseline – at comparable cost. To this end, the researchers are jointly developing a modular multi-material platform relying on a combination of Advanced High Strength Steels (AHHS, high-strength steel), Advanced-SMC and steel-hybrid materials and relying on multi-scale modeling tools.

ALMA Screenshot Kickoff
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Screenshot of ALMA's digital kickoff meeting in end of February 2021.

Project Partners

  • Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia (Spain) is responsible for project management and material characterization.
  • ArcelorMittal Maizières Research, AMMR (France) is dedicated to the development of advanced steels for automotive applications.
  • Ford-Werke (Germany) is working on the project from an end-use and CAE analysis perspective.
  • Innerspec Technologies Europe (Spain) contributes solutions for non-destructive testing.
  • BATZ S. Coop. (Spain) is on board as an automotive supplier.
  • RESCOLL (France) specializes in adhesives and polymers.
  • The research organizations TNO (Netherlands) is developing Live Cycle Management together with the International Solid Waste Association, ISWA.

Project Duration

The project is scheduled to run for three years from February 2021 to February 2024.

ALMA is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no: 101006675.