- With the Safe Light Regional Vehicle (SLRV), DLR is showing a very light and, at the same time, particularly safe, small electric vehicle.
- The SLRV combines innovative lightweight construction with a highly efficient fuel cell drive. It enables resource-saving and safe mobility.
- The futuristic two-seater is suitable as a commuter car, as a feeder in local public transport or as a car sharing vehicle.
- Focus: traffic, intelligent mobility
With the Safe Light Regional Vehicle (SLRV), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has developed a new type of small vehicle: It is very light and at the same time particularly safe. This is ensured by the sandwich construction, which weighs around 90 kilograms and offers a very high level of passive safety. This innovative lightweight construction approach combined with a highly efficient fuel cell drive enables resource-saving, safe mobility. On October 1, 2020, the DLR Institute for Vehicle Concepts presented a first prototype of this light commuter vehicle.
“As a new mobility solution in the light vehicle class, the SLRV shows how vehicle technology, usage conditions and economy can be combined. This makes it a tangible building block and a technology platform for locally emission-free, quiet and individual mobility, ”says Prof. Tjark Siefkes, Deputy Director of the DLR Institute for Vehicle Concepts.
Sandwich construction: light, inexpensive, safe
The body of the two-seater SLRV is 3.8 meters long and kept low in order to achieve the lowest possible air resistance. It is light and safe – a combination that existing vehicles in this light vehicle class (L7e) often only have to a limited extent. This is made possible by the so-called metallic sandwich construction: The material used consists of a metal top layer and a plastic foam inside. The front and rear sections of the SLRV are composed of sandwich panels and serve as crash zones. A large part of the vehicle technology is also housed there. The passenger cell consists of a tub with an attached ring structure. This absorbs the forces that act on the car while driving and protects the occupants in the event of a crash.
Structures made of sandwich materials have not yet been used in the series production of vehicles. The DLR has shown its potential and is working on optimizing the associated production technologies in the next step.
Zero emission: fuel cell-battery hybrid
In order to be as resource-efficient as possible, the SLRV has a very light body and a highly efficient hybrid drive. For the drive train, the DLR researchers have connected a small fuel cell with a continuous output of 8.5 kilowatts to a battery. This provides an additional 25 kilowatts of power to accelerate. This combination weighs less than conventional battery systems, provides a range of around 400 kilometers and enables a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour. On board between the two seats is a 39 liter pressure tank that can store 1.6 kilograms of hydrogen at 700 bar. The SLRV uses the waste heat from the fuel cell to heat the interior.
Sustainable driving fun: commuting, car sharing, shuttle car
With its futuristic, sporty design, the two-seater weighing around 450 kilograms is a fully-fledged L7e-class vehicle. The SLRV is suitable, for example, as a commuter car, as a feeder in local public transport or as a car-sharing vehicle – especially in peripheral urban areas or in non-urban areas. It can complement local public transport in suburban or rural surroundings, can be used as a second car and, thanks to the fast hydrogen refueling, is well suited for car sharing services.
In terms of acquisition costs, the SLRV team is currently reckoning with around 15,000 euros. With a mileage of 300,000 kilometers, a service life of ten years results in a price of around 10 cents per kilometer.
The DLR metaproject Next Generation Car
In the large-scale Next Generation Car (NGC) project, a total of 20 DLR institutes are jointly developing technologies for road vehicles of the next but one generation. In addition to the SLRV, there are two other vehicle concepts that also take account of the megatrend of urbanization: The Urban Modular Vehicle (UMV) as a modular city car for private and commercial users and the Inter Urban Vehicle (IUV) designed for longer distances between metropolitan areas.