A vehicle is made-up of many parts and all of them are essential to complete the car as we see it. But there are a number of parts that play an essential role. Just as the human body has a skeleton, made-up of different bones and joints, the structure on which a vehicle is built and works is the same. This fundamental structure of the car is manufactured from the structural components of the body and chassis.
It is often thought that the body and the chassis are the same, however there are differences between these two elements. The body is an assembly of components that form the structure that supports the vehicle (frame) and protects both the driver and passengers. Also part of the body are the "skin" parts, which are used to create the visible outer skin of the car. They shape our cars, providing aerodynamics, and their unique character through their appearance.
The chassis: the vehicle joints
The chassis, on the other hand, is the structure on which the vehicle is hinged, which supports many of the components and parts that make up the vehicle. So the chassis can be thought of as the "joints" of the vehicle, a series of components that define its internal structure, that is not visible, but fundamental to ensuring its rigidity, strength, durability and safety, among other characteristics.
Chassis products are critical to safety, providing steering, wheel motion control, ride feedback and vehicle handling. For all these reasons, they offer guarantees for the driver and are products designed to improve vehicle performance and safety. Gestamp offers tailor-made chassis solutions to meet all requirements in terms of performance, weight saving and safety.
Gestamp focuses its chassis innovations primarily on three areas for e-mobility: safety, to ensure the lowest possible impact in case of collision; light weighting, to increase fuel efficiency and help reduce CO2 emissions and achieve greater autonomy; and comfort, to achieve a quieter driving environment inside the vehicle and within the environment.
Among the components that constitute the chassis and that Gestamp develops are systems, frames and related parts, such as front and rear subframes, rear twist beams, links, control arms, spring links and knuckles, which connect the wheels to the body of a car, and support the weight of the vehicle. These structures, located underneath the vehicle, are essential to its dynamics, performance and safety and have a particular influence on noise, vibration, ride and handling.
Innovations in chassis: from the technology centre to the road
The chassis is also one of the vehicle elements that plays a leading role in innovation towards Electric Vehicles and more sustainable mobility. Thus, Gestamp is working on innovations and new developments that meet all chassis performance requirements in vehicles of all types of powertrains, including electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrids, as well as combustion vehicles.
All these innovations are already a reality that can be enjoyed and contribute to making not only the mobility of the future more sustainable, but also the mobility of today. A key example of this is the new Volkswagen ID3 on the road today, the first exciting VW launch from their MEB battery electric vehicle (BEV) platform, which Gestamp has partnered to develop the steel front subframe, which also mounts the e-motor, and single shell front lower control arms. This platform will see further launches of new BEV’s from the smaller cars up to the larger vehicles on the platform, where we are currently developing the chassis products at the rear of the car as well, supporting affordable e-mobility solutions to tackle climate challenges.
Another example is the Toyota Yaris, which was named The Car of the Year 2021, a model in which Gestamp has worked on an innovation in one of the key chassis parts. Specifically, thanks to the use of new types of steel, with a high level of strength, this innovation translates into a lighter chassis weight without reducing the vehicle's performance.
In addition, Gestamp has been recognised for it’s pre-development projects with Ford with award winning innovations. The latest of these was the Composites UK Industry Awards 2020 for Design Innovation for a multi-material innovation project based on the Ford Transit model. This innovation project is investigating significant weight reduction potential for future vehicles through the exploitation of new material and joining technologies.
These are all examples where Gestamp Chassis are already present on today’s e-mobility launches and Gestamp will continue its commitment to developing new innovations for chassis in order to contribute to safer and lighter mobility for our future.