IRCOBI Conference paper

In this study, the conceptual design requirements for lateral occupant protection for a light-weight electric vehicle with a centred driver seat are analysed.

Within this study the conceptual design requirements for lateral occupant protection for a light-weight electric vehicle with a centred driver seat are analysed. Based on the development of this vehicle two critical issues had to be taken into account: relative high and known problems from occupant protection in far-side crashes. Due to the seating concept and the large space between occupant and interior, the neck kinematic and loadings were added to the standard Euro NCAP assessment of the investigated concepts. Therefore, a comparison with neck loadings that can be typically measured in Euro NCAP was done. The developed concepts are a combination of separate countermeasures (double pretensioner, side bag with increased thickness (thick airbag) and inflatable curtain) which were added to a standard 3-point belt with retractor pretensioning. The results show that only the combination of the countermeasures fulfilled the requirements. The thick airbag is able to fill the large space between occupant and interior to reduce chest, abdomen and pelvis loadings to an acceptable level. The inflatable curtain supports the head motion which leads to low head loadings and a reduced bending moment in the lower neck. Furthermore, the proposed concept offers good occupant protection in cases where the impact location altered from one to the opposing side.