The first driver test vehicle (FET) drives. We could not have imagined that the test drives would fulfill all expectations. However, feeling the safe driving dynamics of this driving machine sticking to the asphalt is yet another enriching experience. The frame (BIW, body-in-white) of the first TWIKE 5 FET was previously only provisionally bolted and stapled.

The next visible step in the development is to replace the BIW with a glued and riveted version. The adhesive bond has established itself in the automotive industry and is considered to be at least equivalent. The adhesive seals on its contact surfaces at the same time and the often weakening heat input from the welding process is also eliminated. The findings from the construction of the first model flowed back into the CAD model in every detail and were used again in the procurement process for the first three or more prototypes.

The black coating on the surface immediately after forming (laser cutting, punching, bending, edging) is visually striking. The aluminium components are passivated by anodizing on their surface and are thus prepared for the bonding process as well as protected for later road use.

Brackets previously made of sheet metal are also replaced by solid and precisely milled aluminum nodes (see illustration, example of BIW node at the rear left for mounting the trailing arms). These nodes allow optimum load transfer of all driving forces to the frame structure and can still be machined in the selected size on small CNC machines. In the BIW production process, they represent reference components for maintaining dimensional accuracy.

We are already looking forward to assembling our Body in Black in the next few weeks and to your feedback on our TWIKE blog.