Across the river from New York City, a small team is blending modern-day technology with a vision of the past. The streets of the Brooklyn Navy Yard are the test bed for Olympian Motors’ new, small-batch electric vehicles. While these vehicles boast a distinctive retro style, these cars are anything but old when it comes to the technology.
A Beautiful Drive
Olympian Motors founders Eren Canarslan and Jasmine Sungu wanted to break into the electric vehicle market. As with any new company, they recognized the need to stand out with their product. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel or chasing records for spend and range, the team looked at the current market and saw that many of the vehicles had something in common – the aesthetic.
From Eren’s perspective, “automotive design has stalled out…vehicle bodies are converging on an optimized aerodynamic form that leaves most vehicles looking identical.” His vision for Olympian Motors was to step outside the box, or rather backwards in time, and design a car that is aesthetically distinct, and driver focused.
“We’ve accomplished our [design] priority by creating a wholly new, yet vaguely familiar sedan – our flagship Model 01. The lines and shape evoke memories of our shared automotive history, while the handling and interiors contribute to a comfortable driving experience.” – Eren Canarslan
The outside of this inaugural model boasts a timeless and sleek design, something reminiscent of a James Bond film, while the interior focuses on a simple yet enhanced driver experience. Separating from the trend of large tablet screens in the console, the team decided on an uncluttered, elegant feel with minimal buttons incorporating voice command and control. But focusing on aesthetic, doesn’t make this fleet of specialized cars less powerful. They can reach 160 mph, have a battery range of 305 miles, and the capability to go 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds.
Engineered to Optimal Performance
Designing a car from the ground up is no small feat, especially as a brand-new company. The way in which Olympian Motors is designing the car gives them a head start for getting to market faster, credits Nicholas Gawry, a mechanical engineer at the startup. He explains they are using a modular approach where the entire vehicle has been simplified down to six main component modules (4 hardware, 2 software) with 24 pieces on top including the steering wheel and seats. The team designs these components to their exact specifications and outsources the manufacturing to experts in each area. By removing the expectation for them to be experts in every matter of car development, the team can devote more resources to optimizing aspects that will enhance the driver experience.
Eren understands the need to move quickly and efficiently as a startup. Brining in tools that empower the team to do that, is part of what has made them able to go from concept to production quickly.
“MATLAB allows us to perform complex calculations and simulations much faster than any other methods. We are able to fine-tune and re-run quickly and seamlessly to get down to the best answers.” – Eren Canarslan
MathWorks tools have been used in various parts of the vehicle development. The team used the software to conduct a detailed powertrain and chassis study in which they were able to evaluate the performance of the motor in relationship to the batteries. For a vehicle running fully electrically, battery energy efficiency is particularly important. “MATLAB helped us run efficiency calculations while controlling for multiple variables. We were also able to generate acceleration/speed, power, torque & throttle analyses with multiple weight scenarios to account for many use cases the vehicle may be subjected to,” explains Eren.
For a team who utilizes several development platforms within their design, the ability for MATLAB to seamlessly integrate with other software programs is integral to a unified development. The vehicles are modeled in 3D space using SolidWorks where they define variables and initial conditions that help make the model more accurate, such as the aerodynamic drag coefficient. These tools are also used to determine other physical characteristics such as weight distribution and suspension requirements. Integrating these SolidWorks models into the MathWorks models ensures they are building a car that handles well and provides a comfortable ride.
Modular vehicle and drivetrain system animation of Olympian Motors vehicles (Video courtesy of Olympian Motors)
Accelerating Through the Challenges
Breaking through a complex and saturated EV market as a small startup can prove to be a hurdle. Limited time, resources, and skepticism are some of the major challenges faced by the company.
The team has found avenues for support to combat these challenges. As a member of Newlab accelerator, the team can freely test their unregistered prototypes to prove out the driving experience, access industrial machining tools, and get free software including MathWorks tools for development.
“The ability to lower barriers to entry for startups to use tools like MATLAB is really helpful because it allows us access to powerful tools so that we can make things happen.” – Nicholas Gawry
Olympian Motors is well on their way to achieving their mission: being seen as the antidote to the stagnant vehicular present, where cars drive forward but don’t really go anywhere new. With plans to launch their first fleet of cars in the coming year, you may feel like you have been transported into the past as one of these new generation EVs pass you by.
Learn more about Olympian Motors.
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