In order to best implement the vision of the vehicle and translate it into the actual end product, it is first necessary to effectively define the different parts of the overall project and the key performance parameters thereof. This stage is often referred to as the conceptual phase, where the general idea is transformed into a set of indicators, parameters, goals and performance.
What are the parameters that describe the car?
The parameters describing a car can be divided into several groups, depending on what subassembly or component they relate to. For example, there are general parameters describing the entire vehicle, parameters describing the drive unit, and, in the case of electric cars, the characteristics of the battery. Here are some of the factors that will be important in the design and production of a car:
- vehicle weight;
- overall dimensions;
- wheel diameter;
- engine capacity with its maximum power and torque;
- rated speed;
- for electric cars – type, capacity and total voltage of the battery.
How does engine rpm affect car performance?
Engine horsepower and torque are the two most important parameters of a drive unit. They clearly describe its performance and determine the acceleration of the vehicle. Power is otherwise known as the work the engine can do in a given time. It is inextricably linked to torque and engine speed.
Torque refers to the power of the drive unit – the greater it is, the easier it is to overcome any obstacles that appear on the road. High torque and low horsepower make the car handle greater weight well, but this combination also means limited acceleration. High power and low torque, on the other hand, is quite the opposite – the vehicle has very high acceleration, but easily loses thrust.
The crankshaft, which is one of the most important components of any internal combustion engine, is responsible for rotational motion. Its task is to overcome resistance and load. In order to get the best acceleration of the vehicle, the engine torque should be high enough (or more precisely, higher than the vehicle's resistance). Engine speed is the number of revolutions of the crankshaft per unit of time. This parameter directly affects the power of the unit at a certain displacement.
Key performance parameters in the automotive industry – defining goals
Defining goals for key performance parameters is not a simple task. Engineers must be prepared for a number of challenges that can arise during this process. One of them is to take into account the overarching system interdependence by which even the smallest changes in goals can affect the subsequent design and production stages of a given vehicle. The whole process is divided into three key stages:
- creating a customer market profile;
- reviewing standard performance benchmarks;
- selecting goals based on benchmark values.
With a list of goals for a specific vehicle already in place, it is possible to continue the project and strive to achieve all of them. Importantly, the set of these goals can be increased later in the project. When doing so, remember to check their technical and economic achievability. A feasibility study and cost analysis will come in handy here.
Car performance standards
Defining the target performance of cars is a very important step that should be carried out at the very beginning of production. To start this process, a so-called customer market profile (CMP) must be created in order to specify the target market, as well as the characteristics of individual customers of the vehicle to be produced. When preparing the CMP, several technical parameters of the vehicle need to be taken into account – from key features through a platform and car body type to engine type and its capabilities.
To find out what car performance standards are, it is necessary to look at current competitors in a specific segment of the automotive market. The process of obtaining information on car performance standards is called benchmarking. Individual vehicles on the market are compared to one another to create a set of parameters that should characterize any new product based on specific values.
Benchmarking tests should take into account several elements, focusing, among other things, on how a vehicle's basic features affect other aspects of its performance. Properly conducted benchmarking will provide a multitude of valuable information that will significantly facilitate further stages of design and production.
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