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Design and Analyis of Electrically Operated Golf Cart Chassis Using FEA

Authors:
Çukurova Üniversitesi Mühendislik Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, 30(1), 87-94 ss., Haziran 2015
Çukurova University Journal of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, 30(1), pp. 87-94 , June 2015
Ç.Ü.Müh.Mim.Fak.Dergisi, 30(1), Haziran 2015 87
Design and Analysis of Electrically Operated Golf Cart Chassis
Using FEA
Durmuş Ali BİRCAN
*
1, Kerem SELVİ2, Ayhan ERTAŞ2, Ali YALTIRIK2
1Ç.Ü., Mühendislik-Mimarlık Fakültesi, Makine Mühendisliği Bölümü, Adana
2Makine Mühendisi
Abstract
The significant challenge in today’s automotive industry is to defeat the increasing demands for higher
performance, longer life, and lower weight of components in order to satisfy fuel economy requirements
at a realistic cost using safety requirements. The aim of this study is to design and analyze the chassis of
an electrically operated golf cart for use in Çukurova University campus. Chassis is a frame just like
skeleton on which various machine parts like engine, tires, axle assemblies, brakes, steering etc. are
joined. It gives strength and stability to the vehicle under different conditions. The main function of the
chassis is not only to support the components and payload mounted upon it including engine, body,
passengers and luggage, but also to maintain the desired relationship between the suspension and steering
mechanism mounting points. In this study; 3D models of chassis were designed using SolidWorks by
considering different types of profiles. Structural analyses were conducted on the golf cart chassis with
various materials and profiles via ANSYS software using Finite Elements Analysis (FEA) method. The
aim of the design was to achieve sufficient strength and minimum deflection values with optimum
weight, cost and ease of manufacturing.
Keywords: Electric golf cart chassis, Computer aided design (CAD), Finite element analysis (FEA),
ANSYS
Sonlu Eleman Analizi Kullanarak Elektrikli Golf Aracı Şasesi Tasarım ve Analizi
Özet
Günümüz otomotiv endüstrisinde yüksek performans, uzun ömür ve minimum yakıt tüketim şartlarını
sağlayacak düşük ağırlıklı parçalara yönelik artan bir talep bulunmaktadır. Bu talebi gerçekçi maliyetle ve
güncel güvenlik gereksinimlerine uyarak karşılamak önemli bir sorun teşkil etmektedir. Bu çalışmanın
amacı; Çukurova Üniversitesi kampusu içerisinde kullanılacak elektrikli golf aracı şasesinin tasarımını ve
analizlerini yapmaktır. Şasi, tıpkı bir iskelet gibi üzerine motor, tekerlek, fren, direksiyon, aks gibi çeşitli
parçaların monte edildiği bir yapıdır. Araca çeşitli şartlar altında mukavemet ve denge sağlar. Şasinin ana
işlevi sadece üzerindeki parçaları ve motor, karoser, yolcular, bagaj gibi yükleri taşımak değil, ayrıca
süspansiyon ve direksiyon mekanizmalarının bağlantı noktaları arasındaki istenen etkileşimi
*
Yazışmaların yapılacağı yazar: Durmuş Ali BİRCAN, Ç.Ü., Mühendislik-Mimarlık Fakültesi, Makine
Mühendisliği Bölümü, Adana, abircan@cu.edu.tr
Geliş tarihi: 26.02.2015 Kabul tarihi: 24.06.2015
Design and Analysis of Electrically Operated Golf Cart Chassis Using FEA
88 Ç.Ü.Müh.Mim.Fak.Dergisi, 30(1), Haziran 2015
1. INTRODUCTION
Over the last three decades, there has been an
increasing requirement to lower vehicle mass.
This has been driven by two factors; increasing
petrol prices due to shortages in supply of crude
oil and an increasing awareness of the
environment and the need to reduce exhaust
emissions. Lowering the mass leads to less energy
being required from the motor to accelerate and
drive an automobile. These lower energy
requirements mean emissions and petrol usage
from a lighter vehicle will be less than for a
heavier comparable car. The automobile
industry’s drive for lower vehicle emissions and
energy consumption has led to the development of
alternative means of propulsion, in particular
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV). The
improvements have increased battery energy
density which allows substantial improvements to
driving range. Increasing range allows electric
vehicles to be driven like conventional internal
combustion engine vehicles.
There are a lot of advantages of driving an electric
car. The first thing that considered is that electric
vehicles don’t pollute the atmosphere although the
power plant producing the necessary electricity is
likely to somewhat polluting. More and more
power plants are looking for more efficient ways
of using solar panels, though. Bottom line is that
electric cars are environmentally friendly: no
exhaust fumes come out of them. They are also
quite energy efficient: electric motors manage to
convert around 75% of the chemical energy from
their batteries to power the wheels of the car,
while internal combustion engines only converted
about 20% of the energy that could be provided by
the gas. Electric motors are also quiet and they
don’t require a lot of maintenance.
This study was undertaken as a project to design
and construct a lightweight chassis for an electric
car with a capacity of 6 passengers for use in
Çukurova University campus. To design an
electric vehicle, the chassis must be designed
based on the requirements and the ability of the
electric energy. The components involved in
building the electric vehicle must be considered.
The main components that will give an effect to
the design of the chassis are the electric motor and
the battery. The size, weight and the position of
these components must be considered before
designing the chassis.
1.1. Chassis in Vehicles
The chassis is the main structural frame of an
automobile. It connects all key components
including suspension and drive train. There are
five main functions of chassis; to provide an area
for occupants and luggage, offer safety to the
occupants and outside parties, provide points for
mounting of suspension and drive train, and
provide a stiff framework linking all mounting
points. The mounting of components must be rigid
as large movements may cause components to
interfere and thus not function intended. This
section covers the function of a chassis, the
different types of chassis. From the review, a
suitable chassis for the electric car will be
designed.
Ladder Frame Chassis: The ladder frame consists
of two longitudinal beams with multiple cross
members joining the beams. It is versatile as
allows virtually anybody shape to be placed a top
the chassis. The ladder frame chassis, as shown in
Figure 1, is very durable due to its simplicity. If
damage was occurred, it is much easier to repair
sağlamaktır. Bu çalışmada, SolidWorks programı yardımıyla, farklı profil tipleri göz önünde
bulundurularak üç boyutlu bir şasi tasarlanmıştır. Yapı analizleri ANSYS yazılımı kullanılarak Sonlu
Eleman Analizi metoduyla gerçekleştirilmiştir. Tasarımın hedefi gerekli mukavemet ve minimum
çökme değerlerini optimum ağırlık ve maliyetle sağlamaktır.
Anahtar Kelimeler:
Elektrikli golf aracı şasesi, Bilgisayar destekli tasarım, Sonlu eleman analizi,
ANSYS
Durmuş Ali BİRCAN, Kerem SELVİ, Ayhan ERTAŞ, Ali YALTIRIK
Ç.Ü.Müh.Mim.Fak.Dergisi, 30(1), Haziran 2015 89
than other types of chassis. The longitudinal
beams are very stiff under bending through the use
of closed section beams with a high second
moment of area. The high bending stiffness makes
the ladder frame chassis well suited for carrying
large weights.
Figure 1. A Dodge Ram 2500 ladder frame
chassis [1]
Backbone (Torque Tube) Chassis: It is the main
alternative solution to the ladder frame chassis.
The backbone chassis design consists of a single,
large, longitudinal structural beam running down
the center of the vehicle with lateral beams
connecting the suspension. The suspension and
motor lateral beams are mounted off the
backbone.
Space Frame Chassis: It is light due to the
minimal amount of structural material that is
necessary. The required amount of material is
minimal because of the triangulated design which
keeps all beams under tension or compression but,
not torsion. With the beams not under torsion, the
cross sectional area of the beams can be reduced.
An increase in stiffness compared to the ladder
frame and backbone chassis originates from the
three dimensional shape adding height to the
design (Figure 2.).
Monocoque Chassis: A monocoque or uni-body
chassis, as presented in Figure 3, is a chassis that
is integral with the body. It is the chassis of choice
for most major car manufacturers, equating to
99% of modern vehicles [3]. The monocoque
chassis is very complex yet cheap to produce, has
large spaces and is very safe but has rigidity to
weight ratio similar to a ladder frame chassis. The
complexity of the chassis is due to the integration
with the body shell. The integration makes set up
costs large as the development of the chassis
requires considerable time and money.
Figure 2. Mercedes Benz 300SL space frame
chassis [2]
Tub Chassis: The Lotus Tub is a development
which progressed from the backbone chassis. It
takes many small cross sectional extrusions and
glues them together to create large beams that run
the length of the vehicle. Unlike ladder frame
design the passenger actually sits between these
large beam members providing a strong passenger
compartment protecting against impact. The
weaker passenger compartment is stabilized by the
front and rear area which heavily connects the
sides.
Figure 3. The Aluminum Jaguar XJ monocoque
chassis [4]
1.2. Finite Element Analysis
The Finite Element Method (FEM) is a powerful
tool for the numerical procedure to obtain
solutions to many problems encountered in
Design and Analysis of Electrically Operated Golf Cart Chassis Using FEA
90 Ç.Ü.Müh.Mim.Fak.Dergisi, 30(1), Haziran 2015
engineering analysis. Structural, thermal and heat
transfer, fluid dynamics, fatigue related problems,
electric and magnetic fields, the concepts of FE
methods can be utilized to solve these engineering
problems. In this method of analysis, a complex
region is discretized into simple geometric shapes
called finite elements the domain over which the
analysis is studied is divided into a number of
finite elements. The software implements
equations that govern the behavior of these
elements and solves them all; creating a
comprehensive explanation of how the system acts
as a whole. These results then can be presented in
tabulated or graphical forms. This type of analysis
is typically used for the design and optimization of
a system far too complex to analyze by hand.
Created geometric models are transferred to the
ANSYS program to be done FEA. Selection of
element type on the mathematical model, creating
the mesh form, determining the contact areas,
boundary conditions, environment and material
properties and the type of analysis have been
made in the program interface.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
FE methods that currently are used extensively in
academia and industry. The method described in
general terms, the basic formulation is presented,
and some issues regarding effective FE procedures
are summarized.
Demeng [5] was performed research on
lightweight design of automobile structure based
on ANSYS by using FEM. The kind of FE model
of the frame of a semi-trailer was established
based on ANSYS and stress calculation and
experiment validation simulating the actual
working conditions were performed. Then, the
math model of optimal design was formed from
the analysis result of FEM.
Bircan, et al. [6] were stated that two types of
space and ladder frames were considered with
three types of materials as steel, aluminum and
titanium. Displacement values were generated for
two frames with three materials and torsional
stiffness values obtained using FEA software
ANSYS. It was concluded that maximum torsional
stiffness value 307,692 Nm/deg was obtained
from space frame with material of steel while the
minimum value 30,769 Nm/deg obtained from
ladder frame with material of aluminum.
Agrawal and Razik [7] were performed the
optimization of the automotive chassis with
constraints of maximum shear stress, equivalent
stress and deflections under maximum load. A
sensitivity analysis was carried out for weight
reduction. It was shown that proper FE model of
the TATA 1612 chassis has to be developed by
using actual parameter which was modeled in
CATIA v5. Sitaramanjaneyulu and Raju [8] were
studied the maximum equivalent stress and total
deformation formed on the heavy truck when
different loads were applied. Two types of
analysis were done to study the behavior of the
geometry using advanced modeling software
CATIA. Lovatt [3] was performed the
development of a lightweight electric vehicle
chassis and investigation into the suitability of
TiAl for automotive applications. A lightweight
chassis for a battery electric vehicle being
developed at the University of Waikato was
required. The chassis was designed around a
predetermined body shape and suspension setup.
A chassis, built from 20 mm thick aluminum
honeycomb sandwich panel, was designed and
built to LVVTA standards allowing the car to be
driven on public roads. The chassis weighs a little
over a third the mass of a mass production car
chassis.
Hirsch [9] was designed innovative light-weight
car design using aluminum. Weight saving in the
chassis can also achieve 40% in comparison to
conventional steel chassis. It has the additional
benefit of improving the driving dynamics, ride
comfort, and safety due to the reduction of the
unsprung mass. Teh and Tong [10] was performed
a structural investigation of an electric car chassis.
Their analysis was focused primarily on the main
frame and suspension arm. There were two
concepts each for both the chassis and the
suspension arm. These concepts were simulated to
determine the optimum balance between weight
and rigidity. Torsional rigidity was analyzed for
Durmuş Ali BİRCAN, Kerem SELVİ, Ayhan ERTAŞ, Ali YALTIRIK
Ç.Ü.Müh.Mim.Fak.Dergisi, 30(1), Haziran 2015 91
the chassis while static force, braking torque test
and cornering test were performed for the
suspension arm. The results showed that the
stressed skin chassis concept and three tube
suspension arms had higher rigidity. Riley and
George [10] were studied design, analysis and
testing of a formula SAE car chassis. The different
loading conditions and requirements of the vehicle
frame are first discussed focusing on road input
and load paths within the structure. Next, simple
spring model was developed to determine targets
for frame and overall chassis stiffness. This model
examines the frame and overall chassis torsional
stiffness relative to the suspension spring and anti-
roll bar rates. A finite element model was next
developed to enable the analysis of different frame
concepts.
3. MATERIAL AND METHODS
3.1. Design Process
The design process is a series of steps that is
followed to come up with a solution to a problem.
Steps of the design process involved in this study
are shown in the Figure 4. At the beginning of the
design process, design geometry has been defined
according to design specifications as shown in
Table 1. Five selected profiles for each of the
three materials are applied to designed geometry
and imported to ANSYS for analysis. To
determine actual loading conditions for the
analysis, passenger capacity (6 passengers),
weight of the vehicle components (electric motor,
suspension, steering mechanism etc.) and batteries
(6x31 kg) have been considered and a total load of
9 kN (approximately 920 kg) has been applied to
the chassis. After applying the boundary
conditions, structural analyses were conducted and
updated until satisfactory design solutions were
obtained.
3.2. Design Considerations for Electric Car
Chassis
The analytical calculations for the considered
chassis were done using basic design calculations.
The pre-required data considered are as follows:
Materials: Chassis must be rigid and strong
enough to carry the designated load and achieve
minimum deflection with minimum weight and
cost. In this study, three different materials were
used. These are AISI 1020 Structural Steel, 6061-
Figure 4. Proposed design and analysis steps
Table 1. The specifications of the designed
chassis
Criteria
Specifications
Chassis
Lightweight, High
dimensional stability,
Excellent
impact/stiffness balance,
have aesthetic value and
suitable for use in
campus conditions.
Ground clearance
220 mm
Wheelbase
2500 mm
Seating capacity
6 person
Dimensions (LxW)
3200 x 1305 mm
Design and Analysis of Electrically Operated Golf Cart Chassis Using FEA
92 Ç.Ü.Müh.Mim.Fak.Dergisi, 30(1), Haziran 2015
T6 Aluminum Alloy and Carbon Fiber. Material
properties can be seen in Table 2. Profile: At the
design of chassis, five different profile types and
dimensions, as shown in Figure 8, were
considered. These are; I profile, U Profile, Hollow
Square Profile, Circular Tube Profile, and Hollow
Rectangular Profile (Figure 5).
Table 2. Material properties of AISI 1020 steel,
aluminum alloy 6061 T-6 and carbon
fiber.
Figure 5. Profile types
The electric car chassis was designed in
SolidWorks Computer Aided Design (CAD),
software which is feature based, parametric solid
modeling program (Figure 6). Created geometric
models are transferred to the ANSYS program to
be done for FEA.
Figure 6. Final presentation of the designed
chassis
4. RESULTS and DISCUSSION
For FEA, CAD model of electric vehicle chassis is
created and imported to ANSYS. For the analysis,
a distributed load of 9 kN applied on the chassis,
as shown in Figure 7, by considering passenger
capacity, the weight of the vehicle components,
and batteries.
Figure 7. Distribution of loads on chassis
Figure 8. Total deformation and von-misses
stresses of aluminum alloy 6061 t-6
chassis
The analyses have been conducted with three
different materials. The aim of the design was to
obtain a minimum deflection value. Using these
boundary conditions, total deformation and von-
Durmuş Ali BİRCAN, Kerem SELVİ, Ayhan ERTAŞ, Ali YALTIRIK
Ç.Ü.Müh.Mim.Fak.Dergisi, 30(1), Haziran 2015 93
Misses stress in electric vehicle chassis have been
obtained as illustrated in Figure 8 to Figure 10.
Figure 9. Total deformation and von-misses
stresses of carbon fiber chassis.
Total deflection values obtained from the analyses
for all material and profile combinations are
represented in Figure 11 for ease of comparison.
Total weight values obtained from the analyses for
all three materials and five profiles are represented
in Figure 12.
Consequently, hollow rectangular profile with
80x40 mm dimensions and 4 mm thickness has
been selected as the final selection of profile.
Considering material selection, 6061 T-6
aluminum alloy have failed to give a resultant
deflection below 1mm, therefore it's not preferred.
As can be seen in Figures 10 to 13, optimum
results were obtained using carbon fiber with
hollow rectangular profile, but high cost of this
material makes it unfeasible to use for small scale
productions. Since, the stresses are relatively
lower, yielding is not a practical problem in the
design. This makes the modulus of elasticity is the
distinctive property for material choice. AISI 1020
structural steel is chosen due its low cost, because
even the strongest and most expensive steels have
the same modulus of elasticity and would give the
same results in terms of deflection.
Figure 10. Total deformation and von-misses
stresses of aisi 1020 structural steel
chassis
5. CONCLUSION
In this study, design and analysis of the electric
vehicle chassis which will be used in Çukurova
University campus have been carried out in order
Design and Analysis of Electrically Operated Golf Cart Chassis Using FEA
94 Ç.Ü.Müh.Mim.Fak.Dergisi, 30(1), Haziran 2015
to determine optimal design parameters. The
chassis was designed using 3D parametric
software SolidWorks and the analyses were
conducted using ANSYS via FEA method. The
development and application of the FEA
considerably reduce the time and effort required
for the chassis design process. The chassis was
designed so as the vehicle can withstand the loads
with a specific strength and stiffness while
considering weight, cost and ease of
manufacturing. Following conclusions may be
drawn:
Analyses have been performed by varying the
material and profile types for the chassis. AISI
1020 Structural Steel, Aluminum Alloy 6061
T-6 and Carbon Fiber materials have been used
in combination with five different profile types.
Namely; I, U, Hollow Square, Circular Tube,
and Hollow Rectangular.
Results show that for all material-profile
combinations, maximum stresses were below
the yield stress indicating the design was safe in
terms of static strength.
Optimum results in terms of total deformation
and weight have been obtained using Carbon
Fiber with 80x40x4mm hollow rectangular
profile. When cost is taken into consideration
for small scale production, AISI 1020 Structural
Steel with the same profile appears to be the
optimum
Acknowledgements
Authors would like to thank to the Scientific and
Technological Research Council of Turkey
(TÜBİTAK) for funding to support this study
under 2241-A Industry Oriented Undergraduate
Project Support Program.
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1. Chrysler, L., 2007. RAM 2500 Hydro-formed
ladder frame,
ww.dodge.com/en/2007/ram_2500/
13.01.2015.
2. Rastkar, A. R., Bell, T., 2002. Tribological
Performance of Plasma Nitride Gamma Based
Titanium Aluminates; Wear, 253,
p: 1121-1131.
3. Lovatt, C.R., 2008. The Development of a
Lightweight Electric Vehicle Chassis and
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Automotive Applications’; Ms. Degree,
Mechanical Engineering; The University of
Waikato at Hamilton, New Zealand.
4. Jaguar, U.S.A. 2007. Jaguar XJ Introduction-
Aluminum Construction;
http://www.jaguarusa.com/; 13.01.2015.
5. Demeng, Z.H.Q. 2005. Research on
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Chinese Society of Agricultural
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6. Bircan, D.A., Yaşar, A., Koca, E., 2014.
Design and Analysis of Chassis using Finite
Element Analysis, AVTECH14: II.
International Automotive & Vehicle
Technologies Conference; İstanbul, Türkiye.
7. Agrawal M.S., Razik M.D., 2013. Finite
Element Analysis of Truck Chassis,
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8. Sitaramanjaneyulu, K., Raju, V.K., 2014.
Modeling and Analysis of Heavy Truck at
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9. Hirsch, J., 2011. Aluminum in Innovative
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10. Teh, R.Y., Tong D.K.T. 2013. A Structural
Investigation of an Electric Car Chassis,
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11. Riley W.B., George A.R., 2002. Design,
Analysis and Testing of a Formula SAE Car
Chassis; SAE Motorsports Engineering
Conference and Exhibition; Indianapolis,
Indiana.
... Aluminum has an advantage only when there are in very thin sheet sections where buckling is possible but that are not generally the case with tubing. The uses of aluminum and FRP in designing the chassis are contribute to reduce overall vehicle weight, thereby decreasing fuel consumption as well [8][9][10]. ...
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RAM 2500 Hydro-formed ladder frame
  • L Chrysler
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