Vehicle Concept Design using Ride & Comfort Requirements for Truck & Trailer System Dynamics

Presenter: Kaustubh Deshpande, Chassis Engineer, Nikola Motor Company

This presentation describes Nikola Motor’s progression of design maturity from 1D CAE to 3D CAD/CAE for chassis system engineering work on their electric trucks. This progression spans from Voice of Customer to Functional Requirements to Functional Deployment to Structural Deployment. Nikola Motor starts with a ‘First Principles’ model of their truck/trailer vehicle dynamics, then they perform system modeling & simulation with Altair Activate using quarter- and half-truck/trailer models. Block diagrams are created using both signal-based blocks and physical-based blocks (with Modelica). Through this methodical process, Nikola Motor is able to derive more and better insight earlier in their development process regarding important vehicle characteristics for their trucks – ranging from ‘yaw rate of the tractor for loaded vs. unloaded trailer’ to ‘full-trailer load distribution sensitivity due to fifth wheel location’. Work is in-progress to tighten the connection between their 1D CAE simulations in Altair Activate™ and their 3D CAE multi-body dynamics simulations.
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