Starting a complete vehicle concept from scratch, knowing that it must be designed only for use in urban environments, radically changes the development approach compared to the traditional methodology. The L6 and L7 category of light vehicles or heavy quadricycles is now becoming more relevant because of the versatility of solutions they can provide for cities, bringing state-of-the-art technology, but at the same time dispensing with everything that is not necessary. The goal is to design vehicles specially conceived as last-mile transport solutions for people and goods. These projects aim to achieve energy efficiency, to reduce manufacturing costs in a sustainable manner throughout the entire process up to its recyclability, and to increase safety, ensuring that it is also perceived as such by the end user. Also important is the focus on ergonomics, comfort, and safety for the driver since the use cases are focused on passenger and goods service fleets. The frame has been developed with the help of simulation models, with the EuroNCAP 4-star as a main target. The URBANIZED and REFLECTIVE projects, belonging to the N1 and eL7 categories, pursue among others the above-mentioned objectives. URBANIZED is a light commercial vehicle with the possibility of adopting different trailers and REFLECTIVE is a multi-functional vehicle designed for the transport of people and/or last mile goods. Even today, many of the requirements needed to type-approve a vehicle for two different uses are still complex, as the requirements are difficult to meet for such small vehicles, but this type of project opens the possibility of extending the categories or modifying existing ones. A comparison between the targets and design of both vehicles can give us an idea of the common points and challenges that are still present today in this type of vehicles, which aim to reduce the number of private vehicles that clog up most cities.
Ms. Emilia Romero, R&D Project Leader, Body Design & Mobility, Appluss IDIADA