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Optimized Structural components and add-ons to improve passive safety in new Electric Light Trucks and Vans (ELTVs)

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€3 018 891
EU Contribution
€2 038 463
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport electrification (ELT)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

OPTIBODY is a concept of modular structural architecture for electric light trucks or vans (ELTVs) that will focus on the improvement of passive safety in order to help to reduce the number of fatalities and severe injuries.

This structural concept is composed of: i) a chassis, ii)a cabin improving current levels of electric vehicles' comfort, occupant protection and ergonomics and iii)a number of add-ons bringing specific self protection in case of impacts or roll over, and providing partner protection (crash compatibility) while interacting with other vehicles or vulnerable users. Each module can be individually optimised.


OPTIBODY, together with the less restrictive distribution of internal components of electric vehicles (with less architectural constraints than conventional ones) will represent a unique opportunity to implement innovative solutions for passive safety in ELTVs. As a module-based design, it also has important results in terms of repairability.


An optimum choice for the different modules' features will make repairability and maintenance procedures easier and more cost efficient. The 21st century will most likely see the replacement of vehicles relying on the internal combustion engine by electric vehicles (as stated in "A Sustainable Future for Transport", Communication adopted by the EC, 17/06/2009).

In accordance with this idea, the "National Development Plan on Electric-Drive Vehicles" (German Federal Cabinet, 19/08/2009), plans to get 1 million electric vehicles to Germany by 2020; the Spanish Ministry of Industry intends to reach the 1 million electric vehicles in Spain by 2014; manufacturers like RENAULT have forecasted 6 million electric vehicles in Europe by 2010. Besides this, encouraging the electric vehicle is one of the main objectives of the Spanish presidency of the UE.

The OPTIBODY project will imply decreases in the severity of injuries as a result of traffic accidents involving ELTVs. This will mean important reductions in sanitary costs to the National Health Services of the Member States.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Specific funding programme
Other Programme
Funding Source
Information about the funding institution (optional)


The construction of electric vehicles (EVs) frees up a lot of interior space that is normally used to house many components in a traditional vehicle. An EU-funded project is using that space to install new passive safety systems.

Current designs for EVs take into consideration the need for lightweight bodies and components in order to optimise energy consumption. In addition, newly designed EVs have a completely different distribution of internal components with less architectural constraints. For instance, the front of a vehicle, traditionally used to accommodate the engine, now becomes a free space where other components can be installed.

The EU-funded Optibody project is developing innovative passive safety solutions that help to reduce the effects of an accident. These solutions will initially be applied to electric light trucks or vans (ELTVs) under category L7e. This covers light vehicles where the unladen mass is not more than 400 kg or 550 kg for vehicles intended for carrying goods.

Free spaces in EVs present an opportunity to implement new load paths and energy absorbers to protect the driver and passengers in the vehicle. The introduction of specific add-on components ensures enhanced protection for pedestrians, cyclists and road/urban infrastructure.

The Optibody project represents the first example of components being specifically designed for implementation in a much less restrictive modular vehicle concept. The modularity approach and the degree to which components may be separated and recombined allows for enhanced passive safety via the introduction of add-on components. It also provides increased flexibility of design, optimised ergonomics and space distribution, as well as improved conditions for repairs.

Having completed the first stage of analysis of ELTVs' architecture, project partners defined the requirements and guidelines to identify the independent structural modules. These dealt with specific requirements regarding the rigidity, strength and energy absorption capacity of the modules. Research into the effects of front impact, side impact, rear impact and roll-over protection were completed. This was followed by testing of protection components in cases of interaction with traffic signals, light posts and other elements in the urban environment.

Following the repairability and modularity analysis of the components, the chassis design was finished. This was finalised in line with the development of dedicated add-ons for front, rear,


Lead Organisation
Universidad De Zaragoza
Calle Pedro Cerbuna 12, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain
EU Contribution
€537 672
Partner Organisations
Ssab Tunnplaet Ab
., 781 84 BORLAENGE, Sweden
EU Contribution
€112 447
Amz-Kutno Spolka Z Ograniczona Odpowiedzialnoscia
Skleczkowska 18, 99N/A300 Kutno, Poland
EU Contribution
€63 769
Italdesign - Giugiaro S.p.a.
Via San Quintino 28, 10100 Torino, Italy
EU Contribution
€163 290
Przemyslowy Instytut Motoryzacji
Ul. Jagiellonska 55, PL03301 Warszawa, Poland
EU Contribution
€101 901
Idiada Automotive Technology Sa
L Albornar, 43710 Santa Oliva, Spain
EU Contribution
€315 660
Zaklad Kompozytow Sp. Zoo.
Gdanska 2, 05N/A152 Czosnow, Poland
EU Contribution
€49 181
Politecnico Di Torino
Corso Duca Degli Abruzzi, 10129 Torino, Italy
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€444 443
Mondragon Automocion S Coop
Av. Uribarri Etorbidea 19, 20500 Arrasate Mondragon, Spain
EU Contribution
€96 276
Instituto De Investigacion Sobre Reparacion De Vehiculos Sa*
Carretera Nacional 232 Km 273-3, 50690 Pedrola, Spain
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€153 824


Technology Theme
Electric road vehicles
EV light trucks and vans' structural architecture
Development phase

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