Lightweighting critical to success in the EV era: Tata Elxsi's Srikumar S

“While we are a bit far off as far as proportions are concerned, several aspects of lightweighting are creeping into the sector," Srikumar said.

By Radhika Dave calendar 23 May 2024 Views icon10122 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Lightweighting critical to success in the EV era: Tata Elxsi's Srikumar S

Lightweighting, or the science of lowering the overall weight of vehicles, as emerged as a key determinant of success in the electric vehicle industry, said Srikumar S, Delivery head of technology provider Tata Elxsi.

“While we are a bit far off as far as proportions are concerned, several aspects of lightweighting are creeping into the sector, which is a welcome development," he said at the panel discussion organised by Autocar Professional. 

Talking from a concept point of view, Srikumar said that companies should ensure that the alternative, lighter part gives the same performance as the existing part.

From a material point of view, it is less denser while having higher strength, he elaborated. 

Further, the selection model has to take into account various factors such as fuel efficiency and fuel prices, the expected rate of return for the company that is investing in the technology, the annual mileage etc, average load factor etc.

“There are certain aspects of design that people are focusing on, such as the use of fasteners, which itself takes a lot of weight, and it is possible to replace those with more judicious use of resources such as spot welding etc. So there is an incremental increase in weight, but it is not the same as the weight of fasteners as such."

He pointed out that not all components contribute equally to the weight of the vehicle. "If you look at a powertrain for example, 48% of the weight of a commercial vehicle is a powertrain," he explained further elaborating that there are a lot of shafts in the transmission which when replaced, can give a reduction of 10-30% in weight.

Digital twins to reduce costs

Srikumar also pointed to the use of new-age digital tools to reduce costs and avoid production snags.

Digital twins, which involve the virtual replication of the production process before the actual implementation, should be used to reduce costs, Srikumar said, outlining this as an effective way to cut down on timelines as well. 

With the concept of digital twins, there is an opportunity for companies to reduce cost while implementing lightweight material into a design. "There is going to be a cost for implementation. People are afraid of that," and also the time it will take, he added. As a solution, people can implement digital twins as they are going over the design, and validate that, particularly for doing certification, where the components can be validated and checked if it will hold good for design or not. "This is a thought process we have and hopefully OEMs will start looking at that,” he added.

Also read: Vehicle lightweighting is not just about the weight, says Tata Motors' Anand Kulkarni

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