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Thursday 11 July 2019

Volkswagen tests AI-informed design process to cut weight—and flaunt it

Electric vehicle makers face a weight dilemma. Shoppers want more range, and each extra kilowatt-hour of lithium-ion battery-pack capacity adds as much weight as carrying 2 or 3 gallons of extra gasoline around all the time. Yet the more a vehicle weighs, the more energy it takes to move it and its occupants from place to place.

Without the extra cost of advanced alloys and carbon fiber, what are companies like Volkswagen who are setting sights on affordability and mass-market electric vehicles to do? A software tool called generative design could be the key to dropping precious extra pounds in the next decade’s EVs.

 In the Type 20 Microbus Concept that Volkswagen showed last week, celebrating its Innovation and Engineering Center California (IECC) in Silicon Valley, VW featured some unusual-looking parts that look like they might have come from an eccentric aftermarket accessory maker. 


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