Teijin Limited together with Applied Electric Vehicles has developed a highly energy-efficient low- speed electric vehicle (LS-EV) prototype for autonomous driving systems and other mobility applications that are expected to help realize zero-emission mobility.
The four-seat LS-EV embodies a Well-to-Wheel Zero-Emission approach that combines Teijin's proprietary technologies and expertise in strong, lightweight materials, processing and molding technologies and Applied EV's technologies including an entirely new mobility vehicle platform called Blanc Robot, built entirely from first principles, integrating a new, high efficiency driveline and full "drive-by-wire" technologies. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Autonomous Cars and Robotaxis 2020-2040: Players, Technologies and Market Forecast.
The vehicle, which is built on the Blanc Robot zero-emission robotic vehicle platform developed by Applied EV, incorporates Teijin materials and technical know-how. It runs on remarkably little energy, achieving unprecedented energy efficiency for an autonomous vehicle, consuming roughly the same amount of energy as a human pedestrian. It can also be used for autonomous driving systems.
Teijin's lightweight and highly impact resistant Panlite polycarbonate resin glazing is the material used for the windows and doors, the vehicle's main components. Panlite used for the prototype also provides excellent infrared blocking and helps to moderate temperatures in the cabin interior. The curved roof, which has been integrally molded with a Panlite glazing, is fitted with a solar panel and lightweight power supply module. The system achieves output of about 330W, which is equivalent to that of a conventional solar panel housed under glass. Teijin Frontier's vertically oriented polyester non-woven fabric provides insulation from ambient temperatures and road noise outside of the vehicle.
The field of mobility is undergoing a significant transformation propelled by new concepts such as connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) vehicles and Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Electrification and autonomous technologies are rapidly being developed for next-generation mobility applications that will help to reduce environmental impact and address new needs in society, such as transportation for aging societies.
The shift to electric mobility is focusing attention on the benefit of the Well-to-Wheel Zero- Emission approach, which takes into account the total energy efficiency of vehicles, including how their electricity is sourced and how efficiently it is used during driving. Teijin and Applied EV, which commenced their joint-development collaboration in 2019, are committed to establishing a technological foundation for supporting practical multipurpose zero-emission vehicles in future society.
"A focus on sustainable solutions can be very good for business economics," said Julian Broadbent, CEO of Applied EV. "By working in collaboration with Teijin, reducing the mass of an entire vehicle, one requires less energy for a given task and therefore less battery size. As a net result, with a similar roof area as a traditional vehicle, we find solar technology makes very good sense with real world impacts and a very nice business case."
Toshiaki Hotaka, General Manager of Teijin Limited's Mobility Division, said: "Through our collaboration with Applied EV, we are working to realize Well-to-Wheel Zero- Emission solutions that anticipate mobility needs in the near future. To this end, we are strengthening our technological capabilities by applying our know-how in high- performance materials, design and composites. Aiming to become a company that supports the society of the future, we have positioned environmental-value solutions as a priority field in which Teijin can contribute to circular economies and sustainability."
Source and top image: Teijin Limited