All over the world, electric vehicles are confidently advancing on the positions of traditional cars with internal combustion engines. According to the forecasts of experts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2040 the share of electric cars will amount to 35% of global car sales. To understand the secret of the success of electric cars, you need to understand the features of their design and construction.

Industrial design studio KLONA will help you understand the structure and principle of operation of an electric car, as well as develop an industrial design of the car.

Nissan Leaf cutaway
Nissan Leaf cutaway

Electric vehicle device

Outwardly, many electric vehicles may practically not differ from versions with internal combustion engines. For example, the most popular electric car in Russia, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, is built on the same base as the Mitsubishi i gasoline hatchback. The only thing that usually gives it out on the road is the absence of exhaust pipes and specific charging hatches.

There are often no radical differences in the interior design of the salon either. A slightly different dashboard, a joystick for driving modes instead of a gear lever – that’s all the significant innovations.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Salon
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Salon

The main discrepancies between the design of gasoline and electric versions of the car are hidden under the hood. Instead of large internal combustion engines, electric cars use electric motors the size of a watermelon. Some models are equipped with not one, but several electric motors – one for each wheel or axle. The rejection of the internal combustion engine entailed other design changes. Electric vehicles do not need lubrication, fuel supply, exhaust gas and cooling systems. Accordingly, the cars got rid of bulky radiators, exhaust pipes and oil sump.

The power plant of the electric car
The power plant of the electric car

In addition, electric vehicles have solved the long-standing problem of the “ballast” battery. The fact is that the battery in gasoline cars is actually used only to start the engine. The rest of the time, all systems are powered by a generator. Electric vehicles do not have a special battery, which is needed only for starting. Since the traction and rotation of the electric motors are controlled by a special electronic system, it was also possible to abandon the classic gearbox with a clutch.

It would seem that getting rid of a lot of heavy and oversized mechanisms should have provided the electric vehicle with an “air” structure. In reality, electric “iron horses” are 300-500 kg heavier than gasoline “brothers”. The fault is in the rechargeable batteries. To ensure a mileage of 200-300 km without recharging, the car has to be equipped with a battery pack weighing up to 400 kg. The weighting of the structure required strengthening the suspension and the use of more load-carrying tires.

Read also: Industrial vehicle design and 3D visualization

Specialists of the KLONA industrial design studio know everything about the specifics of the design of electric vehicles. Order with us industrial design development electric car.

Tesla design

Before that, we disassembled electric vehicles, which were created on the basis of existing gasoline cars. The situation with the design of electric cars, developed from scratch, differs in its specificity. Consider the design features of such cars using the Tesla S model as an example.

Tesla model s
Tesla model s

Before the developers of this electric vehicle there were no restrictions and the need to “fit” the electric filling into the existing “gasoline” shell. This led to many interesting design and engineering solutions.

Two trunks

In front, under the hood, there is a small compartment of 150 liters, where you can fit a travel bag or suitcase. The rear rack capacity of 900 liters is enough for a couple of folding bicycles. If desired, 2 child seats can be installed there, which turns the Model S into a seven-seater family car.

Tesla Model S roof racks
Tesla Model S roof racks
Tesla Model S roof racks

Perfect streamlining

Tesla’s drag coefficient is only 0.24. To achieve record aerodynamic performance, the creators came up with door handles that hide in the body when driving and a special screen for the panoramic sunroof. The abandonment of the classic radiator grille also had a positive effect on the model’s streamlining.

Tesla Model S Doorknob
Tesla Model S Doorknob

Recuperation system

If you release the gas pedal while driving Tesla S, the wheels rotating by inertia will begin to recharge the battery. The batteries are also fed during braking.

The principle of operation of the recuperation system
The principle of operation of the recuperation system

Autopilot mode

The Tesla S computer receives data from a variety of video cameras and sensors that report the position of the car on the road and possible obstacles. Therefore, the driver can simply press a button and relax: the car itself will keep within its lane at a safe distance from other road users. True, the system is still quite crude, so you should not seriously rely on it.

Autopilot mode
Autopilot mode

Interactive control

Inside the Tesla, there is a huge 17-inch touchscreen. With its help, you can get all the information about the various systems of an electric vehicle and control their work. Also, the screen can be used as a regular tablet with Internet access.

Read also: Car interface development – through the ages

Tesla Model S Control Touchscreen
Tesla Model S Control Touchscreen

Battery

The designers came up with a special design of the flat battery, which was called “skateboard”. It consists of more than 7000 small cells, very similar to conventional AA batteries. They are placed in an incredibly convoluted pattern that is a Tesla Motors secret. As a result, the battery with a capacity of 85 kW * h fit into a body only 15 cm thick.It allowed installing the battery under the rear seats of the electric car.

Tesla Model S Battery Pack
Tesla Model S Battery Pack

If you need to develop an ultra-compact electric car battery design, contact the KLONA industrial design studio. We can create frame , which will unnoticeably fit even in the “Oka”.

Silent operation of an electric car: an unexpected drawback

At the dawn of the birth of electric vehicles, the noiselessness of their work was positioned as one of the main advantages. Experience has shown that this is far from the case. Silently sneaking electric cars caused a large number of accidents – pedestrians simply did not hear the approaching car. To solve this problem, the developers came up with the idea of building a sound warning system into cars.

Finding the right sound is a difficult task that not only engineers but also psychologists work on. The sound of an electric car should stand out well against the background of normal city noise and at the same time not annoy pedestrians. For example, a futuristic Canto sound was generated for the Nissan Leaf by experts from Hollywood, which is reminiscent of the cult Blade Runner movie.

A separate direction was the creation of a notification system for sports electric cars. Their sound should emphasize the dynamics, power and explosive acceleration of electric cars. Some models simulate the sound of gasoline supercars or Formula 1 cars (for example, the Audi R8 e-Tron). Others try to imitate the sounds of fantastic spacecraft (Fisker Karma). The German concern Mercedes-Benz went farthest. To create a powerful sound, he brought in the rock band Linkin-Park. So we are waiting for electric cars on the roads of Moscow, dissecting under heavy guitar riffs.

Shot from the movie "Mad Max: Fury Road"
Shot from the movie “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Electric car industrial design: main trends

Electric cars are just beginning to conquer the world car market. Therefore, the final concept of the “ideal” electric car has not yet been formed. Designers and constructors propose and implement ideas that will shape the electric car of the future. Here is some of them.

Personal car

It is a capsule designed for only one driver. The concept of such electric cars resembles a hoverboard with a roof. An example of such a design is the MYLE project by Indian designer Sivakumar Thangavelu.

MYLE
MYLE

Abstractionism

The design of such electric vehicles is created on the basis of low-poly computer models. For example, United Nude has unveiled the Lo Res concept. The car is based on the Lamborghini Countach supercar, which was scanned and turned into an abstract figure reminiscent of Stealth fighters.

Lo Res
Lo Res

Imitation of nature

The environmental friendliness of electric vehicles prompted engineers to borrow a few more technical solutions from nature for their developments. BMW designers, when creating the Vision Next 100, came up with a body made of moving elements similar to the scales of a snake. Special panels that cover the wheels and slide when cornering.

BMW Vision Next 100
BMW Vision Next 100

Classic

The use of state-of-the-art electronics in combination with retro body style is a favorite direction of British designers. The creators of the Morgan EV3 UK 1909 Edition harmoniously blend cutting-edge developments into a classic 100-year-old three-wheeled coupe.

Morgan EV3 UK 1909 Edition
Morgan EV3 UK 1909 Edition

Security

Advances in unmanned technology are forcing engineers to find new ways to improve the safety of electric vehicles. Waymo has created an electric car body with variable stiffness. In the event of a collision with an obstacle or another car, such an electric car will be as rigid as possible. And if there is an accident involving a pedestrian or a cyclist, then a special system will soften the body.

Waymo soft electric car
Waymo soft electric car

Autonomy

Amazon has figured out how to increase the mileage of electric vehicles. She has patented special drones that will fly up to the electric car, sit on the roof and recharge them while driving.

Read also: Quadrocopter development: a ready-made business idea

Drone charging system for electric cars
Drone charging system for electric cars

Do you want to create a startup and become the second Elon Musk? Industrial design studio KLONA will help you with this. We will develop 3D model an electric car that will be appreciated even in Silicon Valley.

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