Niche Vehicle Network

The challenge

Niche manufacturers are under threat due to increasing requirements for compliance with environmental and safety regulations, allied to rapidly changing consumer buying behaviour. The niche sector traditionally relies upon the ability to procure combustion drivetrains from OEM’s and Tier1 suppliers. The increased complexity, integration and functional safety challenges presented by electric vehicles make the OEMs and established Tier 1’s reluctant to follow this traditional supply route as it is not worth their reputational risk for a relatively modest revenue stream. Therefore, the niche industry needs to find cost effective, adaptable electrification solutions. This collaborative R&D project targeted bringing high volume OEM EV standards and quality to the niche sector through the development and testing of a cost effective, flexible e-Skateboard solution, suitable for a wide range of niche passenger and commercial vehicle applications.

What did the project do?

The PACES project partners developed the technology and manufacturing readiness of the prototype lightweight, integrated battery platform which had resulted from the previous NVN proof of concept programme. The chassis design was progressed through the completion of a specific vehicle application, including crash simulation and detailed finite element analysis activities. The powertrain and battery systems were developed with full design for manufacture reviews, with appropriate assembly and commissioning processes implemented to allow a prototype build to take place in a low volume production representative manner. The flexible vehicle platform concept was demonstrated through its application to a JSCA passenger vehicle, which was built, commissioned and tested within the project.

The results

The PACES project showcased the technical and commercial viability of an ISO26262 capable niche sector e-Skateboard by accelerating the technical and manufacturing maturity of the concept toward full production readiness. This included the generation of a comprehensive EV platform bill of materials, including consideration of the cost implications of different platform configurations and volumes for a range of vehicle types and applications. The EV platform approach was demonstrated through the development and testing of a prototype JSCA battery electric passenger vehicle.

The PACES project has demonstrated that there is a cost effective route for niche manufacturers to adopt battery electric vehicles into their future product portfolios. We have recently launched the Watt Electric Vehicle Company which will be the initial route to market for the PACES

- Neil Yates, Director of lead partner - JSC Automotive