Taking into account the complete life cycle of an electric vehicle, reducing its weight would be harmful to its energy balance, unlike a thermal vehicle for which each additional kilo is penalizing.
This is indeed what emerges from a study conducted by Manuel Schweizer, student at the Technical University Hochschule of Ingolstadt in Germany. The aim of this research project was to establish the best possible use of materials for the construction of vehicles in the future.
As surprising as it is logical
This study shows in fact that it is preferable to choose a resource-saving material rather than a light material. This is explained by the fact that the heavier the vehicle, the more it will store kinetic energy, compared to a light vehicle at equivalent speed.
However, kinetic energy is what makes it possible to maintain the pace of the vehicle without consuming energy, making it move downhill for example. In the case of an electric vehicle, the greater the kinetic energy, the more the energy recovery from the batteries will also be.
To obtain quantified results, the student modeled a vehicle for each type of engine, in two different ranges. His calculations also highlighted the fact that the use of lighter steel requires more resources. Also, over the entire life cycle of the electric vehicle, the light material ultimately brings no benefit, either for construction or for daily autonomy.
In the program " Applied research in engineering science Manuel Schweizer also succeeded in determining that the use of a resource-saving material made it possible to reduce by 9 to 13% the emissions produced during the manufacture of the battery of a mid-range car. This gain goes to 19% or even 24% for a high-end vehicle.