OPTIBODY stands for Optimized Structural components and add-ons to improve passive safety in new Electric Light Trucks and Vans (ELTVs).

OPTIBODY is a European project developed within the frame of the 7th Framework Programme.


Innovation in the market

Modular ELTVs represent a market opportunity not only for vehicle manufacturers, but also for component manufacturers.
Components are designed to play specific roles within the global electric vehicle concept that we call OPTIBODY. These components can be optimized (functionality, cost, shape, design,...) and manufactured by independent companies and installed by different car makers.
This characteristic configures a new ELTV market where, in addition to big manufacturers, small and medium sized manufacturers can offer their own component proposals to LTV assemblers.


How the concept OPTIBODY is achieved?

Helping to modularise near-future electric vehicles

The concept OPTIBODY will be achieved if the following objectives are reached:

  • Optimized repairability in small crashes. The introduction of repairability criteria in the design of the add-ons represents an innovationin terms of damaged parts reparation/substitution cost.
  • Enhanced crash compatibility for ELTVs. New free spaces in EVs bring an opportunity to implement new load paths and energy absorbers. As crash-safety regulations for ELTVs are less restrictive than for passenger cars, crashes with other vehicle categories could result in very high fatality ratios if compatibility is not considered.
  • Enhanced passive safety by the introductionof add-on components. The introductionof specific add-on  components ensureenhanced pedestrian, cyclist protectionand road/urban infrastructure protection. OPTIBODY will be the first time that the components suggested in previous projects (such as APROSYS) are specifically implemented in a concept of modular vehicle much less restrictive than conventional thermal-engine vehicles.
  • Optimized ergonomics and space distributionfor passengers and main components accessibility. The redesign of the whole vehicle architecture, given the higher flexibility in component distribution associated to electric traction, enables the introduction of demanding ergonomic and accessibility criteria.
  • Better maintainability along the use phase of these urban vehicles. Optimized repairability and component  accessibility result in better maintainability along the use phase of the vehicle.
  • Definition of requirements for impactsafe ELTVs and definition of new safety paradigms. The technical requirements for an “OPTIBODY” quality marking will be defined in the project.
  • Applicability of the results to other vehicle categories. Additional success would be achieved if at the end of the project the concept OPTIBODY could be exported to other vehicle categories, such as N1, N2 or L7e categories. Exploratory work will be done at the end of the project to check this possibility, even considering exportability to M1 and M2 categories.
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Expected Impact

OPTIBODY is considered as a prospective project intended to evaluate the potential benefits derived from introducing modularity in new electric vehicles.
In addition to safety improvements, modularity will be an extra advantage in terms of repairability and also —in case of successful introduction in the market of EVs— in terms of new business opportunities for not only big sized vehicle manufacturers, but also for small and medium sized companies able to manufacture the modules required by the concept OPTIBODY (not necessarily vehicles manufacturers).


OPTIBODY (Project n. 266222) is co-financed by European Commission.


The concept

OPTIBODY is a new concept of modular structural architecture for electric light trucks and vans (ELTVs) focusing on the improvement of passive safety. OPTIBODY is not simply a new kind of electric vehicle.

OPTIBODY means innovations in modularity for ELTVs:

- Module-based design implies easier assembly and improved repairability fornew ELTVs.

- Each module/component can be subjectof individual optimization in terms ofmanufacturing processes, weight optimization,crash energy absorption, etc.

 OPTIBODY also means innovations in the basic vehicle concept of ELTV. The structural concept of ELTV is composed of a chassis, a cabin and a number of specific add-ons:

- A chassis will be a key structural supportingelement for other components.

- A cabin improving current levels of comfortin EVs, occupant protection and ergonomicswill be attached to the chassis.

- A number of add-ons will bring specific self protection in case of front, rear and side impacts, as well as in case of rollover and also will provide partner protection when interacting with other vehicles or vulnerable  users (pedestrian, cyclists andmotorcyclists).