Williams Advanced Engineering teams up with Italdesign on premium EV platform

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Italdesign and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) have formed a partnership to provide the upper premium automotive sector with a complete high-performance EV production solution.

The platform will combine a composite electric vehicle rolling chassis from WAE with turn-key vehicle development services from Italy’s Italdesign. This, the companies said, will enable both newcomers and established OEMs in the automotive sector to benefit from the expertise of two outfits experienced in EV engineering and vehicle design, supporting them in the creation of a range of upper premium EVs such as high-performance GTs, crossovers and sedans.

The foundation of the concept is WAE’s EV architecture, EVX, which integrates the battery casing with elements more commonly perceived as part of the body structure. Front and rear chassis structures mount to the carbon composite case and crash loads can be transferred via internal reinforcements to the integral side sills. The resulting higher profiled cross section achieves much of the torsional stiffness needed to deliver the full potential of the platform. WAE states that these two design philosophies reduce reliance on the upper structure, which then gives greater design freedom for a variety of “top hats”.

Starting from the WAE rolling chassis, Italdesign’s engineering team will then complete the vehicle architecture adding safety systems, structures and UX devices to constitute the modular platform that will be the base to build-up different high-performances vehicles. Italdesign’s styling team can then shape the final vehicle to match a brand’s requirements in terms of marketing positioning, design direction etc. According to WAE, the new platform is capable of supporting production runs up to 10,000 units, up to 500 of which could be manufactured by Italdesign at its facilities.

Featuring a molded composite structural battery, the EVX reduces both investment and part costs, WAE claims. The core pack, designed in-house by WAE and leveraging its experience in motorsport and high-performance road car programs, has the ability to deliver 1,000kW of power with 104-120kWh of energy. Flexibility within the module design enables expansion of the pack enabling up to 160kWh for a potential 1,000km vehicle range.

As well as being a structural component, the platform can accommodate wheelbases from 2,900mm to 3,100mm, with customers able to choose rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive layouts. Combining recycled composite materials with aluminum, EVX is lightweight and sets new standards for static and torsional stiffness, WAE notes.

“We are delighted to join forces with Italdesign on this exciting and timely joint collaboration,” said Paul McNamara, technical director at WAE. “Demand for high-performance electric vehicles is continuing to show considerable growth but to date, there has not been a complete EV production solution. This unique relationship brings together state-of-the-art EV rolling chassis technology with one of the world’s leaders in vehicle body engineering.

“The partnership will allow the premium vehicle industry to harness an unprecedented amount of
sector-leading expertise. We will be able to support both new automotive entrants in bringing halo EVs to market – and established OEMs on lower volume high performance models – with turnkey project delivery across the board, homologation included.

“As well as our expertise in electrification and vehicle integration, WAE can bring these organizations the advantages of speed-to-market and the support to develop new, upper premium EVs from design to industrialization with a defined route-to-market strategy through our industrial partnerships.”

Antonio Casu, CTO at Italdesign, added, “We aim to develop vehicle architectures in the GT, sedan, crossover and convertible markets, fully customizable inside and outside. We are targeting business cases that will cover different production volumes from an Ultra Limited Series up to 10,000 units a year, 500 of which can be built by Italdesign at our facilities in Turin.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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