Significant weight savings in Arcimoto electric vehicle through metal Additive Manufacturing

January 22, 2020

Significant weight savings in Arcimoto electric vehicle through metal Additive Manufacturing
The metal additively manufactured steering knuckle (left) weighed 36% less than the conventionally produced part (right) (Courtesy XponentialWorks)

Electric vehicle manufacturer Arcimoto, Inc., Eugene, Oregon, USA, and XponentialWorks, Ventura, California, USA, have partnered to lightweight a number of components in Arcimoto’s pure electric Fun Utility Vehicle® (FUV®). Among the redesigned parts, developed using ParaMatters’ software, is a metal additively manufactured steering knuckle and three cast parts built from additively manufactured patterns.

ParaMatters’ design software offers artificial intelligence and computer generated design, and was used to completely redesign the components with geometries mimicking natural structures. If the new parts prove successful, it is expected that they may take the place of heavier, conventionally manufactured parts, enabling Arcimoto’s electric vehicles to drive farther on a single charge, improve acceleration, and deliver better handling. 

The lightweighted parts included a rear swing arm, upper control arm, brake pedal and the metal AM steering knuckle. The conventionally manufactured knuckle consisted of nine welded parts in mild steel and weighed 2.7 kg. The redesigned part was additively manufactured as a single structure in MS1 steel, and weighed 1.7 kg – a reduction of 36%. It was also reported to be three times stronger than the conventionally manufactured part.

Significant weight savings in Arcimoto electric vehicle through metal Additive Manufacturing
A number of components in Arcimoto’s electric Fun Utility Vehicle were redesigned using AM (Courtesy XponentialWorks)

Avi Reichental, XponentialWorks founder, stated, “We are very excited to work with Arcimoto to leverage our technological know-how to make this incredible vehicle even more outstanding. The entire redesign, from concept to parts, took only four weeks, further demonstrating how 3D printing technology is completely changing how we design and manufacture products.”

“We are thrilled to open Arcimoto’s ultra-efficient vehicle platform to XponentialWorks’ team of lightweighting and Additive Manufacturing experts,” added Mark Frohnmayer, Arcimoto CEO. “Our mission to rightsize the footprint of daily mobility means a continued commitment to optimising not just the vehicle platform architecture, but all of its constituent parts as well. The speed at which the XponentialWorks team has made meaningful weight improvements to core components of the Fun Utility Vehicle is truly impressive.”

“With the powerful combination of AI-generated designs and ultra-fast 3D printing processes, we are now able to create complex geometric structures which substantially lightweight vehicles, improve performance, lower production costs and save on battery power. We welcome this opportunity with Arcimoto to provide their drivers with the best possible in-vehicle experience,” added Reichental. 

“In this new age of Industry 4.0 manufacturing, no one company can do it all alone. This project demonstrates the power of curating relationships and building joint innovation programs that pool together resources and expertise from complementary organisations to create practical tractable products in record time,” he concluded.

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As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 176-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Metal AM in automotive: How the Czinger 21C is redefining next-generation car manufacturing
  • Buying time with digital spare parts: Opportunities for metal Additive Manufacturing
  • Burloak and the AM scalability challenge: A contract manufacturer’s perspective on the shift to volume production
  • Binder Jetting and beyond: Insights from Fraunhofer IFAM’s second workshop on sinter-based Additive Manufacturing
  • The inestimable value of AI: How Machine Learning can help AM project teams achieve their goals and beyond
  • The need for global standardisation: Takeaways from the Standards Forum at Formnext 2021
  • Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion: Process developments and numerical simulation
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