Simulia: speedy development mantra for EVs

by Sricharan R 25 Jun 2021

The automotive industry has, over the past few years, speedily made the shift from making mechanical moving parts on wheels to a computer on wheels. With the advent of the vehicle electrification megatrend, this is further evolving into a new version of the computer on wheels. To pursue this new-age development, OEMs have to look for newer solutions to make their products stand out from the competition and also bring it faster into the market and first time right at that. This is where simulation plays a huge role.

To understand how simulation brings cost-effective solutions to EVs, Autocar Professional hosted a virtual seminar on ‘Simulation to Drive Cost-Effective Electric Vehicles Faster to Market’ on June 24. Satheesh Kandasamy, Simulia Industry Process Expert Director, T&M Propulsion Group, Dassault Systemes, spoke eloquently on methods to develop safe and durable electric vehicles using simulation-driven design.

"Electric vehicles are different from IC engines. We have a battery that is heavy and to offset the weight, we have to balance it with a lighter body. This also opens up an issue with safety. Then comes the motor, which brings in a lot of efficiencies. All these subsystems and more have to come into play. For that, we need to have the right balance. The standard is to at least match the ICE performance.  And, this is challenging,” said Kandasamy.

He pointed out that OEMs have squeezed out all possible technologies to reduce further CO2 emissions and meeting the target will be an ambitious and challenging task. And the way forward will be the electric powertrain. Keeping this in mind, many automotive OEMs are investing heavily in this.

“In 2008, we had only one EV brand. This has grown significantly over the years. In 2020, there are around 200 players including start-ups and many big OEMs. There has been improvement over the years and this will further improve. Even the cost is expected to be on par with the IC engine vehicles soon,” he mentioned.  

To ensure such huge developmental gains, there needs to be quality research and development. To have a physical model for every new technology increases the cost substantially. It is here that simulation plays a role is optimising costs, even reducing them, and enabling engineers to come up with multiple solutions at a fraction of a cost of a physical prototype. “People have to rely on disruptive technologies like simulation. It is the way forward,” affirmed Kandasamy.

Simulation solutions for EVs
Dassault Systemes provides complete solutions to develop EVs, providing solutions right from the molecule level to the entire vehicle. Also, clients can use the workflows which help in initial motor design, NVH, lubrication, strength, sustainability and more. This is the common workflow that EV companies require.

Kandasamy said, “We have to make sure the vehicle performs well on the road. Using the technology we have, the vehicle and its battery can be tested in various conditions in the virtual world. This will be similar to real-life scenarios and reduce a huge number of costs. Electric vehicles do not have the luxury as IC engines, which have a huge history. It is a new technology and it needs newer solutions. And, simulation is an important one in this.”

“We have an integrated solution that can be put together. We replace physical tests and reach multi-object testing. Some of the physical designs are limited to what we used in the past. Now with technology, we can have an ‘n’ number of possibilities and have innovative designs. This is an urgent need and OEMs might have to spend significant amounts to make EVs competitive. New tools like simulation help them to deliver new and valuable vehicle,” he concluded.