Drayson Racing's Lola Drayson B12/69 EV

Le Mans Prototype with CATIA PLM Express

The Lola Drayson B12/69 EV is Drayson Racing Technologies’ (DRT) biggest green tech project to date. The B10 Le Mans Prototype (LMP) car, which was originally powered by a 5.5 litre bio-fuelled Judd engine, has been converted to pure electric drive. DRT’s aim is to produce the fastest electric racing car in the world.

To this end, DRT has designed a complete electric drivetrain which has been integrated into the existing chassis resulting in a package which produces zero emissions.

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The design methodology for the drivetrain followed an industry standard ‘V’ format. This involved a structured approach to the entire process with detailed and controlled documentation for all the key phases of the design. Key aspects included:

  • Detailed requirements capture at vehicle, system and sub-system levels;
  • Simulation and analysis of vehicle, system and sub-systems to set targets, aid in requirements generation and facilitate testing;
  • Detailed test and analysis during all phases to ensure compliance with requirements;
  • Use of test rigs including SiL, HiL and dynamometers in the Verification and Validation (V&V) process;
  • Vehicle level test and analysis to ensure that both the total vehicle meets the requirements and that the requirements were appropriate.

Lola Drayson B12/69 EV racetrackDesktop Engineering’s (DTE) role in the evolution of this car was in the engineering design process. DTE is an accredited business partner of Dassault Systèmes, a world leader in 3D software design technology, so were best positioned to provide counsel and training on what would be the most appropriate software solution. After fully understanding the complexity of the design requirements, DTE recommended the collaborative capabilities of CATIA PLM Express to DRT.

Designed specifically for small to medium-sized enterprises, CATIA PLM Express is an all-in-one flexible solution which facilitates true collaborative engineering. It combines CATIA’s knowledge-based, powerful modeller and latest design technologies for product creation with core collaborative virtual product information management capabilities via ENOVIA SmarTeam.

Graham Moore, chief architect at Drayson Racing Technologies, said:

“Collaboration was critical to the success of this project and CATIA PLM Express certainly provided us with this. The functionality within the package enabled us to reduce development time and respond more quickly to any design modifications. Overall, it reduced the number of man hours we could have invested.”

This project was the first time that anyone had designed an electric drivetrain comprising stressed chassis members. The electric drivetrain needed to be capable of supporting the entire chassis loads endured when driving flat out on the track including those expected during crashes.

This was no easy task but extensive use of CATIA PLM Express and FEA (Finite Element Analysis) allowed this to be done in parallel with the packaging and cooling system work to enable quick iteration through numerous options in very short periods of time. The unique and powerful specification-driven modelling approach of CATIA promotes efficient concurrent engineering between styling and mechanical shape design, while ultra-fast functional modelling fosters productivity and flexibility.

Lola Drayson B12/69 EV model by Drayson Racing TechnologiesPackaging and cooling of the main components were one of the major challenges of the project due to the need to integrate the Electric Vehicle (VH) system into a car originally designed for an internal combustion engine. Using CATIA the best possible layout was achieved with the minimum of compromises in safety, strength and weight. CATIA’s capabilities also enabled the DRT engineers to evaluate the feasibility, simplicity and safety of key service and maintenance tasks which would have to be carried out in use.

Being pushed way beyond their original limits, the motor, inverter and battery systems required a lot of detailed attention to be paid to thermal management. Working with suppliers, DRT engineers optimised the existing cooling systems and identified key improvements which enabled the systems to be pushed to these limits.

DRT engineers also used CATIA to focus on the functionality and layout of the controls to ensure a simple and intuitive interface for the driver; one which requires little knowledge of the system and minimum attention while on track. These controls incorporate safety mechanisms within their function and simple, logical feedback to allow a driver to quickly understand the health and operation of the car.

DRT designed low and high voltage systems form the backbone of the vehicle drivetrain; these are designed to be inherently safe and easy to use. The high voltage systems manage both driving and charging and include numerous safety and sensing features. The low voltage systems incorporate multiple levels of redundancy as well as passive mechanisms which ensure safety and integrity, even before software is considered.Lola Drayson B12/69 EV team

Electromagnetic interference and noise issues are regular stumbling blocks on internal combustion vehicles and can be significantly worse on EVs. Attention to detail of the design of the low and high voltage systems, sensor systems, chassis design and communication results in a solution which is inherently robust to such interference.

Designed to the highest standards of quality and safety, the Lola Drayson B12/69 EV is being used to develop drivetrain technologies and systems to be used in a wide variety of future projects from road to race. It truly demonstrates the philosophy of using the racing track as a laboratory for the development of next-generation electric car technologies.


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