Sizing up the body

29 Mar

On Wednesday evening we met for another design workshop. The focus this week was on the dimensions of the vehicle’s body. Here’s the result of our efforts:

An option we are considering for the vehicle’s body and seats uses low mass polypropylene honeycomb core sheets with fibreglass skins. In the diagram above, the driver’s seat is tan coloured and is located in the middle of the vehicle, the passengers would sit on the bench seat behind the driver and the batteries are at the front of the vehicle, coloured red. This configuration allows a short wheelbase and spreads the mass evenly between the four wheels.

At Wednesday’s session it was fun playing with physical layouts after several meetings of high level, abstract design thinking. Andrew the industrial design student had prepared a timber platform, some milk crates and chairs, so we could play with the seating arrangement and record the physical dimensions.

body4   body3   body6

body2   body   body7

Our focus remains on keeping the vehicle as small and light as possible, to minimise energy requirements. The low mass body will  sit upon a steel frame, which will be the mounting point for the wheels and suspension. The rear wheels will be on semi-trailing swing arms, to which the electric motors would also be mounted.

Over coming weeks we will:

  • Explore other material and construction options for the body
  • Perform finite element analysis to determine board thickness and skin thickness
  • Design wheel guards, grab bars for the rear passengers, seat backs, seat padding, a frame for the roof and roll-down sides, a windscreen and steering controls
  • Continue design of the frame and suspension
  • Start calculating the energy requirements in detail, so we can design the battery and solar charging infrastructure

There’s much to be done but we’re making steady progress.

One Response to “Sizing up the body”


  1. Building the seating buck | African Solar Taxi - April 26, 2013

    […] an initial session getting a feel for the overall dimensions of our vehicles, St Patrick’s College is about to […]

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