A Look at Body-on-Frame, Unibody and Skateboard Chassis

Changes to the basic architecture of automobiles are rare. Until the skateboard chassis was invented, most passenger vehicles were made one of two ways: Body-on-frame packages the drivetrain, fuel tank, exhaust system and other parts on a steel frame with the vehicle body mounted on top. Starting in the late 1950s, automakers began high volume production on unibody vehicles, which contain hundreds of welded panels to make a complete body and chassis. The powertrain and other parts bolt up to the completed vehicle. The skateboard layout places the motors at the ends of the vehicle, usually between the wheels, and has a flat floor where the batteries are stored.

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