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Toyo and GLM collaborate on suspension module for EVs

Above: The GLM G4 electric supercar concept, revealed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show

With a view to meeting society’s future mobility needs, Toyo Tire & Rubber (Toyo) has entered a joint development project for a suspension module for EVs (electric vehicles) with GLM, a Japanese EV manufacturer.

The quiet nature of EVs means that the performance requirements of their components differ from those of combustion engine vehicles. In particular, any rubber components such as the tires and air suspension require a different level of functionality and performance, such as being much quieter, and offering optimal damping control to counteract vibration generated from sources such as uneven road surfaces and e-motors. To meet these needs, GLM and Toyo intend to develop a 'modular suspension system for EVs'.

Who is GLM?
GLM develops and distributes complete vehicles such as the Tommykaira ZZ electric sports car, launched in October 2015, and also has a 'platform business' for chassis' and powertrains, offering parts, developmental expertise and collaborative relationships with other manufacturers and organizations. 

What are they working on?
The primary project for the companies is the development of an active air suspension designed to create a "smooth, flat ride", through optimal damping and anti-vibration qualities, with active control of the vehicle shock absorbers and embedded electronic control technology.

The partners are aiming to commercialize the system by 2020, and have set up a business unit focused on mobility, including automotive tires and components to achieve this.

"We take the view that jointly developing product modules for EVs with GLM as a partner will contribute to expanding the potential for deepening and advancing our future vehicles. We aim to become a supplier that can [create] greatly added value by accumulating experience in total design and packaging of suspension modules specifically to resolve the unique technical issues confronting EVs through our collaboration with GLM," said Toyo in an official statement.

Above: GLM launched full-scale mass-production of its Tommykaira ZZ electric sports car in October 2015

Hiroyasu Koma, president of GLM stated, "Toyo Tire & Rubber has exceptional expertise in air suspension technology. They are keen to develop new products, as implied by their excellent development resources. Having such a development partner enables us to add attractive technology to our exciting products. We believe that the flat-ride technology that we are jointly working to develop will become a core technology for electric vehicles, given their superior quiet performance. This technology is becoming the de facto standard for premium segment vehicles, whose share has grown in line with global economic growth. I expect massive needs for general vehicles in emerging countries where road conditions are insufficient and transportation for people and luggage once the cost is reduced following a shift to mass production."

Masayuki Kanai, senior corporate officer in charge of Toyo's engineering control department added, "GLM is an emerging EV manufacturer born out of Kyoto University’s electric vehicle development project. GLM has succeeded in developing and bringing EVs to production from scratch, and thus has a frontier spirit in searching for future vehicle options through partnerships with a variety of companies. I feel a sense of kinship between GLM’s progressive spirit and creativity and our corporate culture.We will maximize our technological potential, achieve a new level of integrated performance for each proven component, and would like to realize modular production of indispensable and value-added suspension system components for our future vehicle." 

Written by Adam Gavine


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