Helping low-volume vehicle makers hit zero emissions

By Ian Cameron28 January 2021

A new scaleable aluminium platform which its developers say enables low volume commercial vehicle and car makers to go “zero emission” cost effectively has been launched.

Watt Electric Vehicle Company said the niche vehicle industry faces a considerable challenge in the transition to an electric future. Low-volume manufacturers wanting to go zero emission cannot buy a sophisticated, yet cost-effective electric vehicle platform “off-the-shelf” until now, it said.

PACES is an adaptable bonded aluminium platform specifically designed for low volume manufacture.

The company specialises in electric vehicle (EV) architecture and also manufactures vehicles. It has designed a platform which, it said, enables, low-to-medium volume manufacturers of cars and commercial vehicles to go electric “without the cost burden of investing in their own specific chassis technology.”

Based in St Columb Major, Cornwall, England, it said its Passenger And Commercial EV Skateboard (PACES) can support a broad range of future niche electric vehicles which, it added, are flexible, scaleable, lightweight and cost effective.

PACES is an adaptable bonded aluminium platform specifically designed for low volume manufacture. It can be applied to almost any size or shape of electric vehicles from sports cars to buses – across front, rear and all wheel layouts – and complies with all ISO regulations and European Small Series Type Approval crash standards.

The company said the key to PACES’ capability is its structure system. Whereas large-volume aluminium skateboard concepts use bespoke, complex and expensive corner-castings, PACES is composed of lightweight extrusions – flat, laser-cut pieces – that interlock and bond together, an innovation called FlexTech.

In this manner, PACES forms chassis that are low cost, extremely rigid and accurate, delivered to within 1mm of variability across the whole platform, requiring little upfront investment in expensive tooling or post-assembly machining, further cutting manufacturing cost, the company added.

To support niche vehicle manufacturers in accelerating their electrification transition, Watt Electric Vehicle Company said it has engaged a chain of component suppliers. Key technical development partners on the PACES project are UK companies Stalcom Automotive Technologies (based in Pershore, responsible for FlexTech, the lightweight, multi-material structure), Equipmake (based in Snetterton, responsible for state-of-the-art powertrain and battery systems) and Potenza Technology (based in Coventry, responsible for the project’s ISO26262-capable battery management, powertrain and body control systems).

Neil Yates, founder and owner of Watt Electric Vehicle Company, said: “As we rapidly accelerate towards 2030, electrification is a major challenge for niche manufacturers. With low sales volumes, it is difficult for these businesses – whether start-ups or established brands – to invest in their own new specific EV technology and develop it in-house”

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