Vehicle weights could be substantially reduced thanks to Simpact after it won £126,000 in a Government run competition to fund new technology.
The LIFT (Lightweight Innovative Flexible Technology) project will be tested on the Ariel Atom (a car famous for deforming Jeremy Clarkson’s face on TopGear) and will investigate a completely new and highly disruptive lightweight automotive suspension concept. If sucessful, the project could eventually result in weight savings exceeding 150kg when applied to normal road cars.
The one year feasibility project saw off competition from businesses across the country in a £20m competition run by the Government’s innovation agency Innovate UK and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
Tim Williams, Commercial Director from Simpact said;
“This is our most ambitious automotive R&D project to date and if we can deliver what we think we can, the exploitation opportunities for the UK are significant - made possible using investment from Innovate UK and the rapid design tools and methodologies that we have developed”
Ariel Motor Co Boss Simon Saunders said;
“We are very excited about the possibilities of the LIFT project. Ariel performance comes from low weight and simple but elegant design solutions. LIFT fits well with this philosophy and has some novel and very interesting ideas which could provide a major step forward in lightweight suspension design”
Roland Meister, head of transport at Innovate UK said;
“Cutting weight and therefore reducing emissions of our vehicles is one of the biggest challenges facing our automotive industry today. That’s why as the Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK is keen to back projects which could make game changing advances like the one put forward by Simpact, Ariel and Warwick University. We’re very keen to see how this technology develops and hope to add it to our long list of success stories of accelerating growing businesses when it finds its way into the cars of the future.”
As project lead, Simpact will test the new concepts virtually first, making use of their knowledge in advanced materials and structures to combine the necessary elasticity and damping properties with durability and wheel control within a significantly simplified system. This will eliminate discrete suspension components and develop an integrated system to provide superior performance and deliver considerable weight and cost savings.
With project partners, Ariel Motor Company and the University of Warwick, Simpact will test their model against real-world road and track data and be able to quickly test and validate new parts of the design. The Ariel Atom is a perfect high performance platform for demonstating this radical innovation.
Simpact’s innovation could prove to be a vital element in helping to reduce the emissions of road vehicles. The need for this has been recognised by the UK Automotive Council which has said that significant weight savings are required for passenger cars to meet the 95g/km CO2 targets in 2020.
On successful completion of the project, the project partners will develop the virtual prototype demonstrating the feasibility into a physical prototype