Lotus Cars is partnering with Brunel University London and Sarginsons Industries to develop Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture (LEVA). The aim of the project is to accelerate innovation in the development of lightweight structures for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), acting as a showcase for new, cutting-edge chassis and powertrain concepts.
“This is great news for our industry and its transition to electrification,” said Matt Windle, executive director of Engineering at Lotus. “As a collaboration between Lotus, Sarginsons Industries and Brunel University London there is a wealth of talent involved, and we are excited to have already begun the project work.”
Brunel University London will be contributing research capabilities through its Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST), which has been expanding over the past two years with a new Advanced Metal Processing Centre and Future Metallurgy Centre.
One of the areas of focus for the LEVA project is to harness the lightweighting potential of an aluminum alloy developed and patented at BCAST for use in future advanced automotive architecture. “The alloy won a national innovation award in 2017 because of its high strength and ductility,” said Shouxun Ji, a professor in materials at BCAST. “I hope we can now use it to help U.K. industry realize their goals in advancing automotive manufacturing technology.”
The LEVA project recently received funding from the U.K. government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The funding was awarded as part of the APC’s Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator (ARMD) competition. Funded by the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the competition is delivered on behalf of the APC by Cenex, the U.K.’s Low Carbon and Fuel Cells Centre of Excellence.
“Following the launch of the Lotus Evija [pictured], our all-electric 2,000 PS hypercar, this project is a key building block in our vision to deliver a full range of electrified Lotus performance cars ‘For The Drivers,’” said Windle. “Funding of this nature is critical to stimulate the automotive industry and supply chain as both continue to adjust to a rapidly changing landscape.”