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Over recent decades, cars have become larger and heavier with every new generation. Decades of R&D investments to tackle this tendency have resulted in a substantially increase in the weight-specific performance of components and assemblies in terms of cost, strength and stiffness. The need for weight reduction in future EVs, without unduly compromising performance and safety, is even stronger since additional weight translates into either reduced driving range or in larger, heavier and more expensive batteries.

Thus, ENLIGHT targets an ultra-compact four-seated passenger as considered in the ELVA project. Based on this architecture, the five selected modules will be conceptually designed with respect to weight and CO2 balance over life-time. These designs will be evaluated and potential improvements assessed on vehicle level with respect to weight, safety and performance that result from the application the highly advanced material developed within ENLIGHT. The optimal combination of architecture & design, processes and materials requires a systemic technical cost modeling, ensuring sustainable solutions using LCA and accounting for externalities, while taking into account the necessary integration into the manufacturing strategy of each car manufacturer and supplier.

Within in ENLIGHT highly advanced materials such as thermoplastic matrix composite, fibre-reinforced composites, advanced hybrids and sandwich materials as well as composites based on bio-material and renewables will be developed to a stage that they are applicable at least in medium volume production. The material development will be complemented by investigating the required manufacturing and assembly technologies as well. The relevant technologies being developed or available outside of the project will complete the input for the multi-criteria decision-making process needed to select which technologies will be finally applied in the final ENLIGHT demonstrators of the five modules.

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