Modular Design has made an important contribution to the industrial evolution, increase of quality of products and goods and to economic development. It has produced an important evolution in design (technical modularity), in the organization of production and of companies. It allowed going beyond vertical integration, by fostering vertical specialization in both manufacturing and innovation. Several authors are appointing important question on the modular approach. They move observations of different nature concluding that the enthusiasm for modularity has gone too far. One of the critical positions sustains that modular design has imposed technical choices that conflicts with energy efficiency in vehicle design such as a gradual increase of weight over time and the consequent reduction of potential gains in terms of energy consumption and environmental footprint of vehicles. This paper agrees with some arguments of the revisionist literature in cautioning against errors that can be produced by a pervasive modularity. But it moves from an energetic analysis and has not the objective of defining an alternative theory. More modestly, it aims to present a possible way for coupling modular design with energy optimization in the case of an electric vehicle. The initial inspiration can be of this case study is Bejan’s preliminary modular definition of constructal optimization, which can fit perfectly with industrial modular design. Even if this modular optimization does not have the ambition of defining the best possible solution to a complex design problem, such as Multidisciplinary Design Optimization has, it allows defining configuration that can simply evolve over time by mean of a step by step optimization of the critical components that influences the behavior of a complex industrial system. It reveals then to be applicable to the concept of vehicle platform that is today widely in use. The specific test case is the design of an electric city vehicle which has been optimized by a step applying this modular optimization approach. This paper has also a romantic value because it ha taken the move from the emotion that has been caused by the stop to the production of an extraordinary myth, such as Land Rover Defender. 70 years of production without important changes means that Defender has been not only the most successful British vehicle, but also that it has been a fundamental part of our way of living. This extraordinary longevity is an extraordinary technical and cultural heritage to our time. This decision forces the authors to try to analyze the conceptual modular design of a vehicle that can compete with Defender in terms of use and performances. Results have been surprising demonstrating that the use of industrial grade components and their accurate choice will allow defining new vehicle platforms that can radically improve energy efficiency of vehicles.

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