Williams Advanced Engineering
(WAE) and Italy-based Italdesign
have announced a partnership focussed on providing the ‘upper premium’ automotive sector with a complete high-performance electrc vehicle (EV) production solution.
Combining EVX. a ‘state of the art’ composite EV rolling chassis from WAE, with turn-key vehicle development services from Italdesign, the joint venture will enable both newcomers and established OEMs in the automotive sector to benefit from the expertise of two global leaders in EV engineering and vehicle design, supporting them in the creation of a range of EVs from high-performance GTs, crossover and Sedans.
The foundation of this new venture is WAE’s innovative EV architecture; the new rolling chassis which distills WAE’s expertise in electrification, light-weighting, innovative chassis structures and vehicle and system integration into one advanced architecture.
Differentiating itself from other EV platforms currently on the market, EVX 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. These two design philosophies reduce reliance on the upper structure, which then gives greater design freedom for a variety of ‘top hats’.
Starting from WAE rolling chassis, Italdesign’s engineering team then complete the vehicle architecture adding safety systems, structures, UX devices to constitute the modular platform that will be the base to build-up several different high-performance vehicles.
The modular platform is ready for customisation by the Italdesign styling team who will shape the final vehicle to match the brand’s requirements in terms of marketing positioning, design and direction.
Majoring on high performance, reduced time to market, flexibility and affordability at low-to-medium volumes, 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, EVX sets new standards: reducing both investment and part costs. The core pack, designed in-house by WAE using knowledge gained from the world of global motorsport and high performance road car programmes, has the ability to deliver 1,000kW of power with 104-120kWh of energy.
The flexibility within the module design enables expansion of the pack enabling up to 160kWh for a potential 1,000km vehicle range.
WAE was the original supplier of batteries to the entire grid of FIA Formula E World Championship cars in 2014, a relationship that has been revived for the 2022-23 season.
WAE also supplies battery systems to touring car series ETCR and off-road racing series Extreme-E and has considerable experience in high-performance electrified road car programmes stretching back more than a decade.
As well as being a structural component of EVX, the platform can accommodate wheelbases from 2,900 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. With class-leading performance and mass targets, EVX will provide the perfect basis for tomorrow’s electric vehicles, supporting a flexible range of powertrain options with outstanding aerodynamics and safety performance.
Paul McNamara, WAE technical director, said: “We are delighted to join forces with Italdesign on this exciting and timely joint collaboration.
“Demand for high-performance EVs 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 a world leader 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 organisations the advantages of speed-to-market and the support to develop new, upper premium EVs from design to industrialisation with a defined route-to-market strategy through our industrial partnerships.”
Antonio Casu, CTO at Italdesign, said: “We are extremely glad and thankful for the chance to cooperate with Williams Advanced Engineering. With 53 years’ of experience in design and engineering development, our role in the partnership will be to advance the rolling chassis developed by WAE to the complete platform and shape it according to the vehicle body style, architecture and contents defined with customers.
“Over the past five decades we have developed skills and experiences in turnkey projects, meeting our customers’ needs, whether international OEMs or start-ups”.
“We aim to develop vehicle architectures in the GT, Sedan, Crossover and Convertible markets, fully customisable 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.”