Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Came First...

The chicken or the egg?

The chassis or the body?

I'm not a biologist, so I won't go into a lecture on the first scenario, but I can address the second notion.

The answer is (or will most likely be in our case) a little of both at the same time. More than likely, we will have the main structure of the chassis determined, base the body mounts off of it (and the remainder of the chassis as a result), but the two most times evolve concurrently, depending on which stage of development you are in.

For those entering the design contest we will provide some direction on how wide the vehicle will be: wheel base, engine location, number of passengers etc. so the designs they submit will be a close match to what we're looking for, but overall the process will have to be iterative even if we have the chassis in house with the engine in place and suspension mounted since we don't know at this time and even during some of the design competition exactly what the designers are going to create.

This is another aspect of the auto manufacturing mold we will be breaking - more communication between engineers and designers. Often times the designers come up with a concept of what the vehicle is to be, and "throw it over the wall" to the engineers, who have to use the space they are given to implement the necessary systems (engine, transmission etc.). This is the reason why trying to work on your own engine at home can be a nightmare - the envelope the engineers had to stuff the engine into isn't ideal for quick maintenance.

Which brings up another point. Since a lot of our customers will most likely be working on their own cars and if not, our mechanics will be within a wrench's throw of our engineering staff in each facility, we are going to work closely with the designers throughout the entire process, make efficient use of the space we have, but also do our best to make the vehicle easily serviced.

So there you have it - another one of life's mysteries solved (Nobel Prize, here I come)!


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