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Munich University e-car concept brings down TCO

July 15, 2010 | Christoph Hammerschmidt | 222900952
Munich University e-car concept brings down TCO In an interdisciplinary effort of 20 chairs, the Munich Technical University has presented a concept for an e-car featuring total cost of ownership (TCO) equal to a conventional vehicle. The MUTE e-car also will sport a number of technologies that show what car designers regard as future trends.
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The concept provides for a 2-seat subcompact vehicle primarily used in urban mobility. The driving range has been specified with 100 km plus range extender. In contrast to existing concepts, the MUTE range extender will not be based on an internal combustion engine. Instead, it will make use of the normal electric motor – with an additional emergency zinc-air battery as power supply.

A holistic energy management system provides for optimal energy distribution across the vehicle. Unlike existing e-cars, the MUTE does not use electric energy for heating. Since the electric energy is too valuable for such an unintelligent purpose, the vehicle instead, it is equipped with a small tank for bio ethanol. In order to achieve the best utilization of the electric power, the main motor is implemented as a highly efficient torque-vectoring unit of 15kW.


Zinc-air battery as range extender: The MUTE e-car concept. ©: Munich Technical University

In order to provide a comparable safety level as conventional vehicles without compromising the requirement for very low weight, the body will be implemented with carbon fiber material (CFRP). The use of this sturdy but extremely lightweight material seems to become a trend in e-car design: Recently automotive manufacturer BMW has presented an e-car concept that also uses CFRP for the body.

Another trend-setting feature could be connectivity. Via mobile radio, the MUTE will be connected to a central server which forms the hardware basis to offer personalized value added services such as traffic situation information, energy-optimized navigation services, or adaptive driving range prediction. These services can also be integrated into the vehicle in an after-sales context. Since electric vehicles depend much more on timely traffic information than conventional cars, this type of connectivity services is likely to find acceptance in e-cars faster than in conventional ones.

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