Efficiency Considerations in the GM Impact Electric Vehicle: Ride. Handling, and Steering Function

Paper #:
  • 960255

  • 1996-02-01
Kowalczyk, R., Shepard, W., Smith, J., and Williams, R., "Efficiency Considerations in the GM Impact Electric Vehicle: Ride. Handling, and Steering Function," SAE Technical Paper 960255, 1996, https://doi.org/10.4271/960255.
The design of a practical battery powered vehicle must feature efficiency in every system, in order to provide maximum range given limited on-board energy storage. As GM's impact electric vehicle was designed exclusively for battery power, priority consideration of efficiency was given to the design of every function in the vehicle. This paper addresses such considerations in one of the major functions of the chassis system: ride, handling, and steering.The ride, handling, and steering function is a major player in the efficiency of Impact. It includes such energy dissipaters as tire rolling resistance, component deformations or accelerations due to road surface irregularities, suspension viscous damping, and energy requirements of power assisted controls.Also factors in design efficiency are limited packaging envelopes associated with a highly aerodynamic body, and last but not least, mass efficiency of the chassis components. These factors were all considered in an effort to develop innovative chassis systems contributing to vehicle efficiency while providing pleasible ride, handling, and steering to the customer.The results of this effort are chassis systems which contribute significantly to unprecedented total vehicle efficiency, while providing remarkably contemporary ride, handling, and steering pleasibility. This has been achieved through innovations in system electro-mechanical design and mechanization, component materials selection, and simultaneous engineering practices used by the GM Electric Vehicles team and its key suppliers.
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