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The shape of the chassis is like that of a nut or a turtle, the developers report : for good reason, as studies have shown that ovals show better deformation behavior in accidents than rectangular structures. The principle has now been put into practice to protect the energy stores of alternative engines in the chassis. The production technology is based on the Darmstadt-based researchers’ studies of integral sheet metal construction. Efficient lightweight structures bring economic benefits and open up a promising avenue in the development of light utility vehicles with alternative engines. Hörmann Automotive has its eye on inner city delivery vehicles in particular.

Other companies are also developing innovative chassis designs for electric utility vehicles. AL-KO, a specialist in chassis technology, recently presented a variable hybrid power chassis developed in collaboration with Huber Automotive, for example, in which battery packs are used in modules, allowing ranges over 100 km to be achieved in full electrical mode. On longer journeys, the vehicle’s combustion engine is used.