Developing a luxury electric vehicle (EV) from scratch with a short deadline demands organization and access to the right technology to get the job done. Lucid Motors of Menlo Park, California, met the first challenge by putting all the engineers in one room so the structural and aerodynamics engineers would know what the battery, motor and power electronics engineers were doing, right from the start. This collaborative environment has helped them to design a unique automobile with more passenger space by reshaping the battery stack, while optimizing the electric motor, the cooling system, the aerodynamics and the battery life.
Lucid solved the second challenge by giving engineers access to ANSYS multiphysics simulation solutions run on the ANSYS Workbench platform so all systems in the EV could be optimized simultaneously. With this arrangement, simulation data from the structural team was seamlessly available to the aerodynamics team with no manual transfer of data required. This enabled them to optimize the shape of the luxury electric vehicle for aesthetics while minimizing the wind drag to improve mileage per battery charge.
Similarly, the engineers optimized the design of the electric motor that powers the vehicle using a multiphysics combination of ANSYS Maxwell, which performed electromagnetics analysis and determined the heat sources due to power losses in the motor, with ANSYS Fluent, which performed fluid and thermal simulations and determined heat flow throughout the motor. This enabled them to optimize the oil and water coolant systems simultaneously in less time and with better results than if they had designed these systems separately.
Battery life is probably the most important concern for EV owners. Once again, Lucid engineers created mechanical and thermal models of the battery pack using mechanical and fluid flow simulations to simulate electrode degradation during charging and discharging of the battery. Minimizing electrode degradation is a critical issue in extending the battery life of these vehicles.