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L7e micro-car concept puts aluminium in the middle of mobility for future cities

Space limitations and carbon dioxide emissions are pushing conventional cars out of cities, while new mobility concepts are rolling in. One of these relies exclusively on aluminium.

The L7e vehicle class describes a small and light, battery-driven micro car. The requirements for such cars are:

  • Under 3.7 meters in length, 1.5 meters wide, and 2.5 meters high
  • Lighter than 450 kilograms (excluding the battery system)
  • Maximum continuous rated power 15 kW
  • Maximum speed of 90 kilometers per hour
  • A closed body with no fewer than three opening sides
  • Maximum of four non-straddle seats with safety belts
  • Cars within the L7e class normally do not offer the same passive safety system for passengers as larger models. As a result, customers have found such vehicles unattractive.

Aluminium is key for new L7e concept

Fka, which is a Germany-based research partner for the automotive industry, and the School of Design Pforzheim have worked together with us on developing a new concept car in the L7e class. The target of the project was to raise the level of passive safety while complying with L7e weight limitations.

This meant constructing an innovative body structure.

Building such a structure that would achieve the increase in safety, required extensive use of aluminium. The metal is characterized by good structural properties, an impressive level of weight-specific energy absorption, and light weight – light enough to keep the car within the 450-kg limit.

The main challenge was to create a deformation space sufficient enough to guarantee the safety of passengers in case of a collision. Consequently, aluminium – with its high energy-absorption capability – was crucial for the new body structure.

Increased safety with light weight

The project team accomplished its task.

The passive safety performance of the new concept L7e micro-car has been tested with Euro NCAP crash test methods. The vehicle passed every test for normal M1-class cars.

Read more about another fascinating e-mobility project: the London Electrical Vehicle Company’s all new zero-emissions black cab, the TX eCity.

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