Japanese high tech materials manufacturer Teijin has teamed up with Australian modular vehicle developer Applied Electric Vehicles (Applied EV) to develop a lightweight production-ready platform for electric vehicles.

The Blanc Robot’s one-piece structural shell enables Applied EV to significantly reduce the weight and manufacturing complexity of the vehicle.

The “skateboard” platform is designed to carry a range of vehicle bodies for different purposes, including industrial, delivery and surveillance applications. It is built around a core of electronics and mechatronics, running purely on software, and designed specifically for autonomous operation.

Teijin and Applied EV will further collaborate to further utilize Teijin’s lightweight material technologies for a range of other components, including structural elements, glazing and exterior body panels. Production is expected to start in the latter half of 2022.

Applied EV’s background in both automotive and robotics, offers it says, a fresh approach to the new mobility market and the move to electric mobility is raising awareness of the benefit in taking a life cycle assessment (sometimes referred to as a ‘well-to-wheel’ approach).

The Blanc Robot’s shell, or top cover, is the largest single component on the vehicle. It weighs around 20% less than an aluminium equivalent component and significantly simplifies the manufacturing process.

“Our joint development with Teijin is driving product innovation for mobility markets,” said Julian Broadbent, CEO of Applied EV. “Teijin’s materials and technology allow us to achieve mass, energy efficiency and cost results that cannot be achieved using more traditional methods.

Another innovation is it can be charged by solar panels embedded into its roof. Because the vehicle is lightweight, the panels can provide up to 60 per cent of its energy needs. The energy is stored in a small battery, which unlike most EVs can be charged from a common 240V wall socket and doesn’t require any specialised charging infrastructure.

“We expect our collaboration with Applied EV to help meet important needs in society by offering new solutions for automotive applications based on advanced materials and structural design required in next-generation EVs,” said Toshiaki Hotaka, General Manager, Mobility Division of Teijin. “Aiming to become a company that supports the society of the future, we have designated environmental value solutions as one of Teijin’s priority fields for contributing to circular economies and sustainability.”