Redesign the Transportation Industry

Carbon emissions have officially been declared public enemy #1, causing governments to set ambitious targets to begin phasing out combustion engine vehicles completely. As an automotive designer, you face new challenges designing and manufacturing your electric and hybrid vehicles while keeping pace with deadlines and competition. How can Virtual Prototyping get you to your targets, on time and even predict future maintenance and support all without a physical prototype?

by Céline Gallerne
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Electric Vehicles (EV) are here. Driven by entrepreneurs in a technologically ready and connected world in which carbon emissions have been declared public enemy #1, transportation has begun a violent and fundamental shift from the combustion engine and into the next era; one in which the very function of vehicles is being reinvented. Nations are setting ambitious targets and making commitments that would have been unthinkable only ten years ago. China, Japan, India, Norway, and a considerable part of the European Union have announced their intention to phase out combustion engine vehicles in a matter of years. In this context, automotive OEMs have set aggressive timelines to electrify their entire fleets. Spurred on by Elon Musk’s passionate efforts to achieve what was recently deemed impossible, scores of new EV startups are pushing forward the technologies that will make reliance on fossil fuel a thing of the past; not only for cars and trucks but also planes and hyperloops!

Fully electric and increasingly autonomous cars and trucks have moved quickly from the pages of science fiction novels to our roads, placing established OEMs in a challenging position. Suddenly the fundamentals of the automobile are being redefined. Fuel tank, engine, gearbox, transmission and exhaust line are being replaced by control units, battery packs, and electric motors. We are witnessing a transformation in vehicle design and manufacturing, and a disruption in the way vehicles are distributed, used and powered. Even matters as basic as vehicle noise need to be fundamentally revisited as Electric and Hybrid Vehicles present many new challenges to automotive designers who previously focused on the engine as a dominant noise source for both interior and exterior noise emissions.

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ESI VA One can accurately predict the overall acoustic performance of an electric vehicle to address the challenges of ensuring passenger comfort and pedestrian safety

In this context, today’s automotive OEMs are hard-pressed to take a sharp turn while at the same time ensuring continuity in their fleets’ recognized identity and staying on track with their established vehicle development schedules. They are developing new and lighter cars that deliver increased range and interiors that are safe and comfortable for the modern and connected traveler. Of course, they must address the new noise balance and mass distributions, and be equipped with the sensors, hardware, and software that enable assisted and autonomous driving!

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ESI Pro-SiVIC™ allows OEMs to virtually test the operational performance of various perception systems (sensors) onboard a vehicle, thereby supporting the development of functions such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Driving

While today’s OEM’s struggle with their transformation, newcomers in the industry face their own challenges. Typically endowed with tight funding and limited experience, EV startups strive to understand and meet regulations that established OEMs have dealt with over decades. Challenged with the imperative to catch up with all that expertise and market innovative vehicles that deliver the experience and safety that consumers expect, they need to find the right partner to help them grasp a short window of opportunity with confidence.

Applications of electric vehicle development and testing with ESI’s system simulation solution SimulationX

As illustrated in this article, ESI has anticipated this need through the acquisition and development of specific solutions, highly relevant for next-generation vehicles. We have launched a specific initiative that takes a holistic view of electric vehicle engineering.

Caroline Borot, Industry Solutions, Marketing & Business Development Manager at ESI, comments on an end-to-end solution provided by ESI that is highly pertinent to the development of next-generation vehicles:

The efficiency of climate and heating control systems can significantly impact the range of an electric-drive vehicle. Ventilated, heated or “Climate” seats have the potential to improve the thermal comfort of occupants while reducing the thermal loads. The use of interior and virtual seat prototyping combined with digital human models can predict the thermal comfort of a driver or passenger seated in a heated or cooled seat. It allows engineers to address not only the thermo and energy management but also the comfort and the ergonomics of the interior space *

The development of such Virtual Prototyping solutions has been achieved by ESI in partnership with the leading OEMs of the industry, as well as tier-1 and tier-2 suppliers, over the past 40 years. From a humble start, we see Virtual Prototyping enabling vehicle program managers to achieve their objectives in engineering and manufacturing and to prepare for future maintenance and support, all before any physical prototype is built. More than just offering tools, ESI works with industrial manufacturers to make sure they are breaking development silos, leveraging cutting edge technologies, and delivering on the expectations of the Industry 4.0 revolution.

ESI Virtual Performance Solution saves us time and money. We are able to validate the performance of our innovative composite vehicle virtually before even manufacturing the first real prototype.

Gaël Lavaud
CEO, Gazelle Tech
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What’s next?

Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) has historically focused on solving problems encountered in the design and use of products. We have moved to a new paradigm in which we build virtual prototypes that allow us to not only anticipate and correct design problems before they occur but also to build a virtual twin of the “as manufactured” product. This now opens the door to building a complete and continuously updated virtual representation of the product – a Hybrid Twin™ – which can co-exist throughout the lifecycle of the actual product – from creation (manufacture), through operational life and, ultimately to decommissioning and disposal. This
can provide essential insights into both the design of the product and its overall quality but most importantly provides a platform for smart operation, maintenance, and support.

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Water management is becoming even more essential to the development of new car models, for instance in preventing water-related issues for electric and autonomous vehicles.

ESI delivers Virtual Prototyping as the foundation for the Hybrid Twin™, synchronized through the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data to receive real-life product feedback to maximize the longevity of a product through intelligent predictive maintenance. Considering, for example, what will be needed to manage and support a fleet of green vehicles in a smart city, it is evident that the Hybrid Twin™ will deliver significant value to the automotive industry as it transitions into a new era.

*Further reading: “Development of a human thermal model to predict seat occupant thermal comfort”

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