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Williams unveils new lightweight F1-inspired electric car platform

Williams Advanced Engineering, the tech division of the Williams Formula 1 team, has been getting more serious about its electric car effort recently.

Now they are unveiling a lightweight electric car platform.

The company is better known for its involvement in Formula One and some engineering work for other car companies, but in recent years, it was also associated with the all-electric Formula E.

They built the battery packs and had the supply contract for the Formula E until McLaren won the new contract last year.

Nonetheless, they continued with their electric vehicle effort and raised $125 million to build EV battery factory in the UK, where they will build the battery packs for Aston Martin’s new all-electric RapidE.

But they don’t want to stop there. They plan to offer their services to build other electric vehicles and today, they unveiled a new lightweight EV platform concept, named the FW-EVX, to showcase what they can do.

Here’s the platform:

It features the same skateboard-like design, popularized by Tesla, that has become standard for EVs over the last few years.

The company didn’t disclose many details about the platform, but they did list a few “innovations”:

  • The concept features several innovations in battery pack design, cooling systems and lightweight structures, which have each been cleverly integrated into a single, scalable platform.
  • For instance, Williams’ engineers have developed a highly automated, near zero waste process that is being implemented to create fibre reinforced suspension components on the EV platform, providing up to 40% weight reduction over a conventional aluminium wishbone.
  • Another innovation being showcased is the process of forming high-strength 3D structures from 2D materials which, in this instance, has created an exoskeleton for a battery module that also contributes to the structural performance of the battery.

Paul McNamara, Williams Advanced Engineering Technical Director, said:

“Vehicle efficiency has always been core to Williams – whether it be in Formula One or with Williams Advanced Engineering’s customer projects. These technologies, and our thinking around how to create a tightly integrated, light-weight chassis and powertrain package, have the potential to greatly increase the competitiveness of the next generation of electric vehicles. By making EVs more attractive to consumers, we can help accelerate their adoption and the air quality benefits they bring.”

Craig Wilson, Williams Advanced Engineering Managing Director, went as far as saying that this new concept “represents a new direction for Williams’ advanced engineering business.” The company recognizes that there’s currently a “transition from the internal combustion engine to a fully electric future” and they want to facilitate it as a supplier.

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