Geneva Motor Show Car and Frame

27/11/2015

Situation

Hyundai Motors wanted to demonstrate their forward looking technology developments and new styling direction at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. They wanted to use this showcase to establish their new styling language and at the same time to show where car technology was heading over the next few years.

Task

  1. To engineer a carbon fibre space frame for a car within an envelope set by Hyundai’s design team in a way that liberate the designers at Hyundai’s European Design Centre to express the new “Fluidic Design 2.0” language
  2. To carry out Finite Element Analysis (FEA) on the frame design to show the capability to pass European crash requirements
  3. To use Hyosung’s new “Tansome™” material to build and supply two frames, one for build into a drivable demonstration vehicle and for building into a skeletal vehicle showing the core technologies

Outputs

Axon Automotive and Hyosung had 4 months to engineer, tool-up and produce the first frame and a further month to complete the second frame. The first output was a frame design to fit within the envelope of the new design language within a fuel cell powered sports utility vehicle (SUV). This involved a close collaboration between team members in South Korea, Germany and UK. To achieve these timescales Axon Automotive used its proven Axontex™ frame technology.

Once this frame geometry was agreed the next output was to run preliminary FEA to model the performance of the frame in crash and specify the material braids and thicknesses required to produce a compliant structure. This involved mechanical testing of Tansome™ samples and then the application of these results to Axon Automotive’s existing data-base and analytical models.

With the design work signed-off, Axon Automotive moved to designing and purchasing tooling to produce two frames. The final frame design required only 12 tools to produce the beams for the structure, all of which had to be produced to a demanding timescale.

With the tooling in place and material delivered by Hyosung it was possible to begin production of the beams and frames. The first frame needed to be shipped to a specialist coach builder as one vehicle was a fully functional vehicle including fuel cell power-train and this required time to build ready for the Geneva Motor Show.

The final frame was shipped to Hyundai’s in-house technology department to assemble the advanced fuel cell power-train and some additional panels to demonstrate how the whole technological picture would work schematically in future cars.

Benefits

In spite of the tight timescales Hyundai was able to demonstrate the Fluidic Design 2.0 and their advanced fuel cell technology on their stand at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The carbon fibre space frame technology gave Hyundai some key advantages:

  • The space frame approach liberated the designers to work with the knowledge that Axon Automotive had the ability to accommodate the structural frame within their desired envelope.
  • A 70% weight reduction over an equivalent steel structure, with a clear route to a cost effective, volume solution.
  • The advanced carbon fibre structure enabled them to demonstrate cutting edge fuel cell technology and their new design language, while still reducing weight.
  • The frame has subsequently won the JEC Jury Prize for 2015 – the equivalent of the “Oscars” in the composites industry.

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