How skateboards are inspiring electric cars
How skateboards are inspiring electric cars
3:15

How skateboards are inspiring electric cars

Cars
Now you look at this and see the very interesting Rivian R1T electric pick up truck. But I have x-ray vision, I look right through it and I see a good example of an automotive mega trend, the skateboard platform. [MUSIC] First a little background, car makers lose tons of money and sleep over this. This is the platform of the car, it's the whole belly pan, a big stamped piece of steel. Attachment points where you hang the engine, the suspension, the transmission, the drive line, the differential, and all the mounting locations for steering column, pedals, shift linkages, and gas tanks. All of that is considered a platform. It's complicated, it's messy, and it costs a ton of money. That's why car makers try to have their vehicles share platforms. For example, the Camry, the Avalon, the Lexus ES, and the Rav 4 all share a platform. This traditional platform is headache number one in the auto business. [MUSIC] But many of the most advanced electric car makers out there, like start up Rivian with their electric pickup truck, use a very different kind of a platform. Referred to Generally as a skateboard design. Ribbion by no means invented the concept. GM is credited with that back in 2002 with their autonomy hydrogen fuel concept car. Now the new wave of auto makers is generally cool on fuel cells, but they're all very hot on the skateboard architecture. Let's look at what's different about it. The first thing is what you see first, the biggest piece. A big, wide, long, flat battery, typically a structural member as well. It's part of what makes the bottom of the vehicle strong. At the ends are even each of four corners, the motors. [MUSIC] Instead of having a great big lumpy engine and transmission sitting on one end, you can push those out, and make them more compact, and get them out of the way. You do have a suspension at all four corners, of course. And the fourth component is attachment points that allow you to drop a body on there, and it could be any number of bodies. Because so much of the platform is skateboard style and staying out of the way. That includes the use of as many drive by wire technologies as possible, to reduce or maybe eliminate those hard points where accelerators, brakes and even steering racks have to mechanically mesh between platform and body. Consider the Rivian R1T pick up truck. Its skateboard platform Also easily welcomes an SUV body without massive re-engineering. The benefits you get from either one are a flat floor. Really clever storage areas midships. Limited intrusions in the cabin. There's no hump or doghouse where the transmission bell housing goes. You got a frunk up front. Not a big old wast of space called an engine. And a low center of gravity that is well distributed. [MUSIC] So next time you hear about an EV having a skateboard platform, don't roll your eyes like it's a bunch of automotive inside baseball. It's a core technology that's gonna give you things you like, more interior space Low, flat road hugging handling. And the ability for a car maker to innovate models more rapidly and recoup their expense while doing so. [MUSIC]

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