MUTE: The Efficient City Car
- Wednesday, 14 September 2011
MUTE, an electric vehicle from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), is an agile, sporty two-seater for regional road traffic. Its lithium-ion battery is designed to guarantee a range of at least 100 kilometers. When needed, a zinc-air battery serves as a range extender.
MUTE's L7E certified electric motor, which is electronically limited to 15 kW, accelerates the light vehicle to 120 km/h. Its sporty suspension and the active torque vectoring differential drive ensure good cornering stability and excellent driving performance.
Built-in features fulfill all essential requirements of a modern road vehicle. A safety package includes an electronic stability program (ESP) system, a robust passenger compartment, and crash elements made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic.
A stable vehicle frame made of aluminum and a chassis made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic reduces the curb weight, including batteries, to a mere 500 kilograms. “Low weight is essential for an electric vehicle,” says TUM vehicle engineer Markus Lienkamp. “Greater weight requires more battery performance for the same range, which results in higher costs. Greater weight also results in reduced dynamics for a given power output."
A further contribution to efficiency comes from the torque vectoring differential - a small electrical motor in the differential that functions both as a motor and as a generator serves to ideally distribute the forces between the two back tires. Especially when braking in curves, twice as much energy can be recovered as without the torque vectoring technology. At the same time, the advantageous distribution of drive and braking forces makes the car much more agile and also safer.
All tertiary user interface elements (e.g., for navigation and infotainment) are collected into a central touchpad. The touchpad computer can be used as a mobile interface for server-based, value-added services. This will allow the owner to check the current charging status using a smartphone. While under way, the most energy-efficient route (not only the shortest or fastest) can be determined based on the current traffic situation.