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F1 Partners with Italdesign to Create Complete High-Performance EV Solution

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.

4 Min Read
four-car lineup
Image: WAE

Italdesign and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) have inked a partnership that will provide the upper-premium automotive sector with a complete high-performance EV production solution. Combining a state-of-the-art composite electric vehicle rolling chassis from WAE with turn-key vehicle development services from Italy’s world-famous 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. 

The foundation of this new venture is WAE’s innovative EV architecture — the new rolling chassis that distills WAE’s expertise in electrification, lightweighting, innovative chassis structures, and vehicle and system integration into one advanced architecture.

Differentiating itself from other EV platforms currently in 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 profile 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.”

Composite battery housing forms part of the EV chassis structure in the WAE/Italdesign concept. Image: WAE.

Starting with the WAE rolling chassis, Italdesign’s Engineering Team then complete the vehicle architecture adding safety systems, structures, and UX devices to constitute the modular platform that will be the base to build up several different high-performances vehicles.

The innovative modular platform is ready for customization by the Italdesign styling team, who will shape the final vehicle to match the brand’s requirements in terms of marketing positioning, design direction, and so forth.

Prioritizing performance, 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.

Molded composite battery reduces investment and part costs

Featuring a molded composite structural battery, EVX sets new standards, reducing both investment and part costs. Designed in-house by WAE using knowledge gained from the world of global motorsport and high-performance road-car programs, the core pack has the ability to deliver 1000 kW of power with 104 to 120 kWh of energy. The flexibility within the module design enables expansion of the pack enabling up to 160 kWh for a potential 1000-km 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 2022-2023 season. WAE also supplies battery systems to ETCR and Extreme-E and has considerable experience in high-performance electrified road-car programs stretching back more than a decade.

As well as being a structural component of EVX, the platform can accommodate wheelbases from 2900 to 3100 mm, with customers able to choose rear-wheel or four-wheel drive layouts.

Sets new standards for static and torsional stiffness

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, said WAE.

Paul McNamara, Technical Director at WAE comments: “Demand for high-performance electric vehicles is continuing to show considerable growth, but, to date, there has not been a complete EV production solution. 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.” He adds, “As well as our expertise in electrification and vehicle integration, WAE can bring these organizations the advantages of speed-to-market and the support to develop new, upper-premium EVs from design to industrialization with a defined route-to-market strategy through our industrial partnerships.”

Says Antonio Casu, CTO at Italdesign: “We aim to develop vehicle architectures in the GT, sedan, crossover, and convertible markets, fully customizable 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.”

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