The enemy of efficiency and performance is one in the same; weight, and electric vehicles are struggling to balance heavy battery packs with the need for greater efficiency. The Visio.M EV Concept will never make it to production, but it does showcase new methods of shedding weight via Lexan resin windows and liberal use of aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic.
A consortium of German companies including BMW and Daimler, as well as the Technical University of Munich, have joined forces to build this mostly-plastic EV with a focus on weight savings. No area was left untouched, including all the glass windows, which were replaced using SABIC’s Lexan resin. This alone shed 13 kilograms, and when combined with the use of CFRP and aluminum, as well as a lightweight 13.5 kWh battery pack, the Visio.M comes in at a svelte 1,179-lbs/535 kg. Alas this is about 200-lbs more than the targeted goal weight of 882-lbs/400 kg, but still impressive nonetheless.
This is less than half the weight of the Mazda Miata or BMW i3, allowing a puny 15 kW (20 horsepower) electric motor to power the EV to a top speed of 75 MPH with a range of of about 99 miles per charge. Thanks to its low weight, the Visio.M can go farther on a single charge using a battery that’s about 40% smaller than many comparable EVs, which typically have batteries in the 22 to 26 kWh range.
Add to this an exceptionally smooth body design that has a drag coefficient of just 0.24 and a waste heat-scavenging climate control system, and you’ve got an EV concept that shows what is possible with current EV technology. The designers even managed to squeeze several high-tech safety features like 360-degree radar and active safety seat belts that will actually detect a collision and pull you away from it.
That’s some sci-fi technology right there, and while I don’t expect the Visio.M to ever make it beyond the concept stage, the lessons and features learned from this project will undoubtedly influence future vehicles.