High quality hubcaps for Lightyear One solar car

Helmond is the place where innovation happens. At the Automotive Campus, the Lightyear One is being finalized. An electric car on solar energy with a range of no less than 725 kilometers. SKM recently made the hubcaps for the most recent test model.

Its unique vehicle architecture and technology have been developed in Helmond with high efficiency in mind, allowing Lightyear One to consume only 83 Wh/km — two to three times less energy than any other electric vehicle on the market today. This results in an exceptional range of 725 km (WLTP) with the lowest emissions, the lowest charging frequency and 7,000 to 20,000 kilometres of free, effortless and clean solar range every year.

High quality hubcabs

For the hubcaps, the car manufacturer approached SKM. Project leader Jeroen Mertens explains: ‘To guarantee the highest quality, we printed the master model in a vertical position and in two parts. These parts are glued and seamlessly finished. The molds are reinforced with steel tubes to prevent sagging of the mold (under its own weight). This guarantees that the product also gets the right thickness.’ After the parts had been cast, the hubcaps were painted in a satin gloss and the high-gloss silver and black accents were applied. The result? Highest quality hubcaps for the car of the future.

Keep a close eye on Helmond’s roads, the Lightyear One will be on the market in 2022!

Classic Maserati 3500GT steering wheel scaled down to make driving more comfortable

For 10 years, SKM has been creating smaller steering wheels for EZ Powersteering that are an exact copy of the large original steering wheels of various classic cars. One of the most beautiful steering wheels is perhaps the Maserati 3500GT. Clients Ruud Jong and Roger Reijngoud of EZ Powersteering look back on this project.

“Our customers want to drive a classic car, preferably with some extra comfort and safety. They come to us for electric power steering,” explains commercial director Roger. “50s and 60s cars, like the Maserati 3500GT, often have a quite large steering wheel because the driver needs leverage to turn the wheel without power steering.” People are getting taller and that makes getting in and out of the car more difficult when there is little legroom. “Customers with long legs sometimes even hit the back of the handlebars with their knees when they kick in the clutch. That is why we asked SKM to scale down the Maserati steering wheel for us, because in combination with the power steering, the large steering wheel is no longer necessary.”

Challenge

“The biggest challenge with the Maserati 3500GT steering wheel was the white caps that cover the small screws,” explains technical director Ruud. “On the original steering wheel, the last remaining caps were discolored. To see what the smaller steering wheel and the new caps would look like, SKM first made a 3D print. Only when it was completely right SKM made a mold to cast the steering wheel.’ The first steering wheel with a diameter of 38 centimeters was an immediate success. Then they received requests for the small replica wheel, but to the surprise of both directors, also for the larger wheel. That is why SKM also developed the original 41 cm diameter steering wheel of the Maserati 3500GT for EZ Powersteering. SKM made 10 different models and hundreds of steering wheels to date. “When I was looking for a 3D rapid modeling company 10 years ago, I didn’t know whether you could exactly scale down a classic steering wheel without compromising on the design,” concludes Roger. “SKM has proven with their knowledge and expertise that this is certainly possible!”

Autonomous shuttle of the future

Less than 500 meters from SKM, Altran Engineering develops an innovative autonomous shuttle in commission of 2getthere. What you can’t see from the outside is SKM’s contribution to the interior of this smart mobility solution. Han van der Weerden,

buyer at Altran, asked SKM to create various interior parts of the shuttle.

Han has been working with SKM since 1985 for prototypes and small series of automotive solutions. The collaboration intensified in 2016 with the production of 2getthere’s autonomous shuttles. “We also call these vehicles ‘people movers’. In these 6-metre-long minibuses, 22 people can be transported completely autonomously. So without a human driver. The shuttles are automatically recharged via the ‘charging plate’ under the shuttles when passengers board and disembark.”

Protecting sensors and electricity

The vehicle looks sleek on the outside. “But inside the shuttle is full of sensors and electronics”, Han explains. And inside of the vehicles is where SKM’s contribution can be found. “SKM has made various interior parts for us to protect the electronics. For example, for the light box that displays the final destination, SKM made the hood that protects the inside.” Most hoods and covers are made using stereolithography (SLA) in Xtreme material. But selective laser sintering (SLS) was also used for printing the interior parts.

Future shuttles

The first 6 shuttles are now driving around the Rivium business park in Gouda. Han can already share that a new series of smart vehicles is on its way. “With the acquisition of 2getthere by ZF, there are plans to produce the shuttles on a larger scale.”

As SKM, we are happy to contribute again to these future shuttles!