Teijin and Applied EV develop autonomous vehicle platform for low-speed EVs

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 03 Feb 2021

Japanese company Teijin has announced that along with its joint development partner Applied Electric Vehicles (Applied EV), it has achieved a major milestone toward their shared vision for zero-emission future mobility. Applied EV unveiled the Blanc Robot at CES 2021 lst month. 

By utilising Teijin’s lightweight, highly efficient material technology and expertise in composites manufacturing, Teijin and Applied EV have developed a production-ready, one-piece structural shell for Applied EV’s zero-emission robotic vehicle platform, the Blanc Robot. The shell is a key component and enables AEV to significantly reduce the weight and manufacturing complexity of the vehicle, enabling AEV to achieve low mass, high energy efficiency and excellent structural performance.

The Blanc Robot is a programmable, autonomous electric vehicle (EV) platform, designed and engineered by Applied EV. It can integrate with many autonomous systems, carry a range of vehicle bodies and serve many purposes, including industrial, delivery and surveillance applications.

Teijin and Applied EV are continuing to work together to further utilise Teijin lightweight material technologies for a range of other components, including structural elements, glazing and exterior body panels for use in production EVs in the latter half of 2022.

The Blanc Robot ‘skateboard’, designed and engineered by Applied EV, is the basis for many autonomous use cases. Built around a core of electronics and mechatronics, running purely on software, the Blanc Robot is designed specifically for autonomous operation.

The Blanc Robot’s shell, or top cover, is the largest single component on the vehicle, measuring about four square meters in total. It is made from light weight, high-strength and highly-rigid GF-SMC and molding technology provided by Continental Structural Plastics Holdings Corporation (CSP), the Teijin Group’s core automotive-composites business. CSP’s proprietary GF-SMC enables the Blanc Robot’s shell to weigh some 20% less than an aluminium-equivalent component and significantly simplify the manufacturing process.

CSP's moulding technology enables the integral molding of a sheet in thin, complicated shapes that are difficult to achieve using metal. Moreover, molding requires around three minutes. The GF-SMC shell allows the Blanc Robot to achieve excellent structural performance to protect crucial equipment inside from damage and the shell achieves excellent fire resistance, dimensional stability and corrosion resistance.

“Our joint development with Teijin is driving product innovation for mobility markets,” said Julian Broadbent, CEO of Applied EV. “Teijin's materials and technology allow us to achieve mass, energy efficiency and cost results that cannot be achieved using more traditional methods. Using GF-SMC for this critical component provided a great deal of design and engineering freedom, which fundamentally changed our manufacturing method and capital cost, allowing us to be more competitive. It also creates a more energy-efficient and sustainable transport solution.”


“We expect our collaboration with Applied EV to help meet important needs in society by offering new solutions for automotive applications based on advanced materials and structural design required in next-generation EVs,” said Toshiaki Hotaka, General Manager, Mobility Division of Teijin Limited. “Aiming to become a company that supports the society of the future, we have designated environmental value solutions as one of Teijin’s priority fields for contributing to circular economies and sustainability.”