MechChem Africa

With the help of Altair’s HyperMesh® for rapid model generation; OptiStruct® for finite element analysis; and RADIOSS® for analysing the physics, recreational motors and motorcycle company, ArciMoto has developed a new-concept Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV), a small and safe all-electric commuter vehicle called the SRK Generation 8.

Arcimoto (Nasdaq: FUV) was founded in 2007 with the mission to build products that catalyse the shift to sustainable transportation. Arcimoto (pronounced ar-key- moto) means ‘Future I Drive’ and that is the company’s aspiration: to devise new technologies and patterns of mobility that together raise the bar for environmental efficiency, sustainability and affordability.

With that in mind, Arcimoto began work on the SRK Generation 8 in January of 2015: an all-electric commuter vehicle that mimics a motorcycle’s fun-factor, efficiency and road-space while offering stability and protection from the elements. With the added value that this FUV boasts 230 mpge and top speeds reaching 80 mph – 1.02 ℓ/100 km and 129 km/h – the SRK becomes a really interesting option for urban dwellers.

Small vehicle, big safety concerns, small budget

When a company is in start-up mode, the stakes are high. Not only is there pressure on the founder to push the vision and generate interest – both in the marketplace and with investors – but also on those making that vision a reality. The people that create each version, test each element and obsess over each decision participate in this process with admirable dedication.

Lack of money coupled with a genuinely new idea is also a challenge in start-ups. Small teams have nothing to correlate an analysis to and no equivalent products to test, so how can they make progress? This is where software-based simulation comes to the fore.

Rear swing-arm design

Altair SRK Generation 8 modal3As the SRK engineering team began evaluated different parts of the FUV, they knew they wanted to retain the original aesthetics – a nice round design with no sharp edges. In order to do this, they needed to use tubular materials rather than square. The concern put forward, however, was its strength: would the structure be strong enough to take on the road with all its perils – grooves, potholes, debris?

HyperMesh®, a premier pre-processor for concept and high fidelity modelling helped to determine the answer. With its advanced geometry and meshing capabilities, this software provided an environment for rapid model generation and allowed the designers to answer their strength queries using OptiStruct® finite element analysis. This was an easy, time- and cost-efficient way of validating the use of the tubular components that aligned with the vehicle design.

Roof crush analysis

Because this is a new breed of vehicle, the team felt it was important to consider cross-industry tests that would reinforce their commitment to outstanding motorcycle safety, thus instilling confidence within the marketplace for the product.

As a part of their exploratory process, for example, the team used the roof crush test guidelines, where the roof has to withstand a load of 3× the weight of the vehicle. For the roof crush work, the team turned to HyperMesh and RADIOSS®.

HyperMesh was used to model the very complex roll cage. Every tube on the roll cage of the vehicle had to meet and be mitred to the next tube by shared nodes.

Altair’s RADIOSS solver was used for the roof crush simulations. With RADIOSS, very complex problems involving large deformations, dynamic events, non-linear materials with progressive failure modes, and much more can be solved in a very impressive wall-clock time.

By using the right tool for the physics, repeatable and accurate results were achieved with reduced simulation cycle times, which gave the engineers more time and enabled additional iterations to help drive better design decisions

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