Virtual prototyping is becoming essential for automotive R&D

With market conditions facilitating multiple powertrain options simultaneously, simulated testing offers an affordable solution to testing. By Will Girling

There is little doubt that making the transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) is currently an expensive option for consumers. The average new price for the former is around US$42,000, while the latter is US$66,000—a 57% increase. However, a similar story is playing out for automakers themselves.

Automotive Testing Technology International estimates that a vehicle prototype can cost between US$250,000 and US$1m, with many variants and iterations of the same model produced within a given development cycle. When one considers that, during automotive’s electrification transitional period, different powertrain options must also be considered, costs have the potential to skyrocket. This has prompted some companies—Jaguar Land-Rover, Tesla, and Mazda— to experiment with ‘zero prototype’ development instead.

But what if there was a middle ground? Matthew Dustan, Director of Laboratory Test Systems at automotive test systems specialist AB Dynamics, tells Automotive World that OEMs could invest in virtual prototyping as a more profitable alternative.

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