The OPERA4FEV project aims to develop thermoplastic battery racks on two functional demonstrators: one for a large scale vehicle from FIAT and one for a "niche" car, the F-City from FAM .To improve deployment of electrical vehicles in Europe, large scale production processes for Rack and electrical components need to be developed.
The innovative solutions proposed by OPERA4FEV will integrate electrical, hydraulic connections and component housing in a thermoplastic approach to reduce cost, weight and assembly time.In order to show the relevance of the solution and meet strong industrial benefits, the two thermoplastics racks will be manufactured and assembled with industrial means.
The whole value chain will be addressed, including the eco-design (dismantling and recycling of critical materials), assembly and integration of cells and electrical components.
As safety of the on-board battery in electric, hybrid, and plug-in vehicles is of paramount importance to the international automakers, OPERA4FEV will pay particular attention to evaluate the effects of the rack characteristics regarding vehicle crash safety, and will focus on the potential risks for the vehicle and its occupants in case of failure of one or more batteries.
To sum up, the main issues relative to OPERA4FEV project are :
-the integration of cells into the thermoplastic rack
-an easier mounting and fast connexions of cells
-the reduction of assembly time
-25% cost reduction on components (cells excluded) compared to existing rack
-the improvement of dismantling for better maintenance
-50% reduction of number of components
-the eco-design of the racks and easier end of life (materials, dismantling) based on life cycle assessment
-the plastics parts design to improve thermal regulation, guaranty safety/crash behaviour and deal with large dimensions
-the use of recycled polymers (70% in weight)
-30% weight reduction on components (cells excluded)
-a concept proposal adaptable to automotive industry and evaluated with an representative tools and assembly line (able to reach 20 vehicle/day)