Why reinvent the wheel when it can be multi-purpose?
The end of the Formula 1 season is almost here. Once again, it was a season in which the engineering of the cars was decisive in this year’s final ranking. The Formula 1 Sport has always been at the forefront of automotive developments and has played a major role in some, now widely used, techniques in the global automotive industry.
One of these developments is the use of Carbon Fiber. This technique was first used within the Formula 1 sport but is now the standard in the automotive industry. A significant change within this development occurred when McLaren introduced the MP4/1 Formula 1 car in 1981. Until that point, carbon fiber was generally used in non-structural areas and solely used to save weight and gain speed. This new groundbreaking McLaren car was constructed with a complete carbon fiber monocoque. Something that, at the time was never seen before, but also was doubted by many in the industry.
To get ahead in the game, McLaren knew they needed to change their way of thinking and started looking for outside expertise. This is how Aerospace and Automotive engineering was combined. After many years of knowledge sharing, development, and innovation the MP4/1 was introduced. Still, not everyone was convinced of this new concept until later that year John Watson survived a crash and won the Grand Prix in the McLaren car. This was the turning point in convincing the world regarding the use of carbon fiber. A great example of how F1 set the tone for the rest of the car industry.
Looking at Ebusco, some might recognize the story. A different year, a different industry but many similarities nonetheless. With a product, normally constructed out of steel or aluminum, Ebusco saw the need to revolutionize the industry standard and changed the development of electric city buses. With their clear vision of the electrification of public transport, Ebusco was declared a complete fool. This did not discourage them and the multi-year development plan was set in motion, resulting in the introduction of the Ebusco 3.0. An electric bus with a casco made entirely of composite materials.
Now, many may wonder why this move was made 35 years after McLaren’s revolutionary breakthrough. Simply because the need was not there. Lightweight solutions were mostly applied to increase the speed of the vehicle, but with buses, this was not something that needed to be achieved. However, the playing field changed when electric vehicles emerged and the need to be able to drive as far as possible with as few batteries as possible arose. With weight playing a major role in the battery’s performance, an existing technology was again applied in another innovative way. So why reinvent the wheel when it can be multi-purpose?