The ACP Process Applied to the FutureSteelVehicle Project: The Future of Product Design and Development

WorldAutoSteel launched Phase 2 of its FutureSteelVehicle programme (FSV) with the aim to help automakers optimise steel body structures for electrified vehicles. The Phase 2 objective is to develop detailed design concepts and fully optimise a radically different body structure for a compact Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) in production in the 2015-2020 timeframe. This paper will provide an overview of the product design methodology and how it was applied to WorldAutoSteel FutureSteelVehicle (FSV) program and result in 35% BIW mass reduction and how it has continued to evolve with each application. The Accelerated Concept to Product (ACP) ProcessTM was applied in this project. The ACP ProcessTM is a proprietary, performance-driven, holistic product design development method, which is based on design optimization. ACP incorporates the use of multiple CAE tools in a systematic process to generate the optimal design solution. The ACP ProcessTM is a methodology that provides solutions, which address the challenges facing the modern product development environment. It achieves this by synchronizing the individual facets of the product development process, resulting in an overall reduction in development costs and time to market. Material selection and utilization, product performance requirements and manufacturing and assembly processes are all considered as early as possible in the design cycle. The resulting design offers a robust and highly efficient solution; which when combined with the strength and design flexibility of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) or other materials; facilitates significant mass reduction for the final design. For the development of a vehicle structure, the methodology offers four key benefits, including a demonstrated capability to reduce product development costs by 40%, reduce product mass by 25% and more, improve product performance (stiffness, durability, NVH, crash/safety, durability) as well as improve fuel efficiency based on the mass reduction results. The paper will further disclose the results of the FSV programme, detailing steel body structure concepts for the aforementioned vehicles that meet aggressive mass targets of 190 kg, while meeting 2015-2020 crash performance objectives as well as total life cycle Greenhouse Gas emissions targets. FSV’s steel portfolio, including over 20 different AHSS grades representing materials expected to be commercially available in the 2015 – 2020 technology horizon, is utilised during the material selection process with the aid of full vehicle analysis to determine material grade and thickness optimisation. Achievement of such aggressive weight reduction with steel will set a new standard for vehicle design approaches for the future. Radically different powertrains, such as the BEV and the PHEV proposed for FutureSteelVehicle, and their related systems make new demands for increasingly efficient body components to handle the new loads. This will require innovative use of AHSS grades and steel technologies to develop structures that are stronger, leaner, greener and affordable. The presentation will explain the “state of the future” design optimisation process used and feature the aggressive steel concepts for structural subsystems incorporated into the FSV structure.