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Global Transition Towards Electric Vehicles Poses Major Challenges.

Global Transition Towards Electric Vehicles Poses Major Challenges.

It seems that not much has changed from the age of petrol-fueled vehicles to our current era of electric vehicles(EVs). Scientists are still grappling worldwide over the depleting availability of resources and the effective usage of those resources to meet the rising demand in the automotive industry.

By Ashwini Balan, Eastern Trade Media


General Motors earlier this year announced their commitment towards being carbon neutral, and added that by 2035, all their vehicles will consist of zero tailpipe emissions. Audi, another leading multinational automotive manufacturer, pledges to end the production of combustion-engine by 2033.

With these two market leaders taking the leap forward to an all-electric future, many multinational companies are overwhelmed with the pressure to quickly transition to EVs to maintain their competitive edge but more importantly, meet the rising consumer demand. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analysis forecasts that by 2026, more than half of new passenger vehicles sold worldwide will be electric.

With the shift from fuel-intensive to material-intensive energy sources, there are two main concerns that scientists are struggling to resolve. Firstly, to reduce the usage of metal in batteries as it is scarce, expensive, environmentally toxic and working conditions hazardous to miners. Secondly, would be to create a recyclable battery system to maximise the utility of the valuable metals available.

Lithium-ion batteries are highly used in EVs due to their low cost which is 30 times cheaper than when they first entered the market in the early 1990s[1]. In addition, BNEF estimated that the current reserves of lithium— 21 million tonnes, according to the US Geological Survey — are enough to carry the conversion to EVs through to the mid-century.[2]  Hence, what concerns researches in EV batteries is Cobalt and Nickel.

In an attempt to address this issue, researches have been experimenting in removing both cobalt and nickel from the composition of EV batteries. However, to successfully remove them would radically transform the cathode materials. In recent years, Ceder’s team and other groups have displayed that certain lithium-rich rock salts were able to perform without the use of cobalt or nickel and yet remain stable in the process. In particular, they can be made with manganese, which is cheap and plentiful, Ceder says.[3]

To create a battery recycling system, another hurdle to overcome is the cost of recycling lithium. A potential solution would be through government support, which is seen in China where financial and regulatory incentives for battery companies are given to source materials from recycling firms instead of importing freshly mined ones, says Hans Eric Melin, managing director of Circular Energy Storage, a consulting company in London.

It is also problematic for manufacturers in their recycling efforts, when the chemistry of cathodes become obsolete at the end of the cars’ life cycle. In response to that, material scientist Andrew Abbott at the University of Leicester, UK developed a technique for separating out cathode materials using ultrasound. He adds that this method works effectively in battery cells that are packed flat rather than rolled up and can make recycled materials much cheaper than virgin mined metals.[4]

Scaling up the volume of lithium also aids in reducing the cost of recycling and this would make it economically viable for businesses to adopt it says Melin. The example of lead-acid batteries — the ones that start petrol-powered cars — gives reason for optimism.  “The value of a lead-acid battery is even lower than a lithium-ion battery. But because of volume, it makes sense to recycle anyway,” Melin says.[5]

With the collaborative effort among policymakers, researchers and manufacturers an all-electric future is an attainable reality.

References of Content:
Original Article Source: Davide Castelvecchi, 2021( https://t.co/amlXvXWs6E?amp=1 )

[1]  M. S. Ziegler & J. E. Trancik Energy Environ. Sci.2021

[2]  BloombergNEF. Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021 (BNEF, 2021)

[3]  Yang, J. H., Kim, H. & Ceder, G. Molecules 26, 3173 (2021)

[4] Lei, C. et al. Green Chem. 23, 4710–4715 (2021)

[5] Melin, H. E. et al. Science 373, 384–387 (2021).

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New Lease On Life For Battery Swapping In Electric Vehicles

New Lease on Life For Battery Swapping In Electric Vehicles

 

Limited charging speed and availability have been major barriers to electric vehicle adoption, and fast-charging stations are currently the most popular way to quickly add range to vehicles. However, the additional power demands can stress the electrical grid, prompting reconsideration of other solutions like battery swapping, according to new analysis from Lux Research, a leading provider of tech-enabled research and innovation advisory services. Although battery swapping failed nearly a decade ago, it is now being considering for supporting taxi fleets in urban environments.

Lux’s new report, “Cost Comparison of Battery Swapping and Fast Charging for Electric Vehicles”, analyses and compares costs for deploying battery swapping infrastructure to support electric taxis in cities and offers insight on how promising battery swapping can be as a fast-charging alternative. Lux developed and used a model to perform a cost analysis of infrastructure supporting an electric fleet of taxis in two different countries – the UK and China.

“Instead of quickly charging the battery, battery swapping solutions aim to physically replace a depleted battery with a charged one,” explains Christopher Robinson, Director of Research at Lux Research and lead author of the report. “Battery swapping can address two main challenges with fast charging: It slowly charges depleted batteries to minimize grid impact and battery degradation, and it allows for faster addition of range in electric vehicles.”

Using the model developed by Lux analysts, the report drew several interesting conclusions:

Battery replacement costs are crucial for keeping costs low for any infrastructure. Faster charging minimizes taxi downtime but increases the rate of battery degradation. Factoring in battery replacements due to faster charging makes 50kW charging the cheapest form of charging.

Battery swapping is most competitive for large fleet sizes. In China, battery swapping is the cheapest and fastest solution for powering electric vehicles, even in small fleets of just 100 vehicles, while in Europe, the costs are roughly equal.

China has cemented its position as a leader in battery swapping deployments and will remain the most promising region for the technology. Due to a combination of favorable economics, local companies that have commercialized the technology, and favorable government policies, clients should closely watch activity in the region as a leading indicator of adoption elsewhere.

As battery swapping networks grow, new opportunities for cost reduction emerge. While fast charging stations have the benefit of a decade of deployments and refinement, battery swapping is still in its nascent stages, with deployments accelerating rapidly over the past two years.

 

 

Electric Cars: The Lifeline Of The Auto Industry

Electric Cars: The Lifeline Of The Auto Industry

In the past two decades, the car market has declined twice: first due to the 2008 economic crisis, and then due to falling sales in China. Most recently, the lockdowns implemented to combat the coronavirus pandemic, causing auto-production plants to close globally and a loss of consumer spending will lead to an unprecedented 23 percent decline in 2020, according to a report “Advanced Electric Cars 2020-2040” by IDTechEx.

In the following decade (2030 – 2040), things will not improve: the global car market will be blindsided by the rise of autonomous vehicles, which greatly reduces the need for private car ownership. Within this scenario, it is electric cars which will remain a beacon of growth, satisfying both the governmental drive to clean air in cities whilst also working more readily with autonomous vehicle technology.

In their simplest form, an electric car consists of an energy storage device powering one electric traction motor, which spins wheels via a transmission. First invented in the 19th century, electric cars ultimately lost the battle to the internal combustion engine, unable to compete with the energy density of gasoline. Over one hundred years later, the Li-ion battery is enabling their meteoric rise as a solution for reducing local emissions and green-house gases.

Once derided as toys, today electric cars with barely 15 years of development offer cutting-edge automotive technology and performance, from sub 2.5 second 0 – 60mph acceleration, to autonomous driving functionality and solar bodywork. Battery-electric vehicles (BEV) are the endgame: zero emissions at point of use and the focus of automotive start-ups (and China). On the other hand, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) provide a short/mid-term solution, soothing initial fears of range anxiety.

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Formula Student Team Used AM To Produce Oil Cooling System For Electric Racers

Formula Student Team Used AM To Produce Oil Cooling System For Electric Racers

The Formula Student team from Stuttgart solved the thermal stress issues in electric racers by creating an oil cooling system though additive manufacturing (AM). Article by EOS. 

Racers must keep a cool head—and their cars should not overheat either. This applies equally to racing cars with combustion engines and electric motors. The difference: in fuel-fired racers the engine has to be tempered, in electric vehicles this must be considered in particular for the accumulator. The Formula Student team from Stuttgart has solved this task in the truest sense of the word with an additively manufactured oil cooling system and support from EOS.

Challenge

A complex battery system requires powerful heat dissipation—no big deal thanks to additive manufacturing. (Source: GreenTeam Uni Stuttgart)

A battery—as accumulators are called today—for an electric car has diva-like characteristics. It needs to be treated with caution. This applies not only to mechanical stress, but also to thermal stress: It doesn’t like temperatures that are too high or too low. The reason for this is the behaviour of the electron flow: If it is too cold, the electrons do not migrate fast enough for the maximum power output due to the higher internal resistance. If the temperature is too high, for example if the maximum power output is maintained for a longer period or if the climate is simply hot, there is a risk that membranes will be destroyed or that they will age more rapidly, even to the extent of the so-called thermal runaway. 

In order to guarantee an optimum working range, appropriate systems are necessary; liquid-based solutions have the advantage that they can also heat the cells and thus maintain high performance – which is of course of central importance in racing. Oil cooling systems offer very good properties for the battery, but can only be realized with great effort using traditional construction methods: The filled quantity should be kept as low as possible in order to save weight. This also reduces space requirements, which plays a major role not only in tightly cut racing cars.

“In addition, the flow characteristics in the system are important for achieving a high volumetric flow rate,” says Florian Fröhlich from the Stuttgart Formula Student GreenTeam. “Several aspects have to be considered in order to secure an optimum flow velocity, including the expedient design and the lowest possible surface resistance.”

The aim of the racing team was to ensure that a major part of the fluid constantly circulates in the area of the cell flags. Additionally, as oil is quite aggressive, the chosen material must feature a certain level of chemical resistance, while at the same time it must follow the lightweight character of the entire project. High fire resistance is obligatory in racing anyway.

Solution

The young racing team set to work with this sporty technical wish list. Simulations on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) resulted in the expedient design of the cooling system, which is made up of flux direction parts and inlet devices. The geometry was optimized in such a way, that a consistent flow is created through the outlets with their compact design and high surface quality. Due to the planned construction geometry and the incorporated hollow structures as well as, of course, the very small number of units, additive manufacturing was the best choice for the production process: The required flow properties would not have been reproducible with traditional methods.

 

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Dyson Terminates Electric Car Project In Singapore

Dyson Terminates Electric Car Project In Singapore

It has barely been a year since home appliance giant, Dyson announced its plans to open an electric car manufacturing facility in Singapore. However, the British technology company has decided to scrap its automotive project.

In October 2018, Dyson announced that it will be investing in a £2.5 billion (S$4.3 billion) project to manufacture electric cars and aims to complete the factory by 2020 as well as rolling out its first model in 2021.

Unfortunately, although the automotive team has developed a “fantastic electric car”, Dyson will be shutting its automotive division due to a lack of commercial viability in Singapore.

“Though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable. We have been through a serious process to find a buyer for the project which has, unfortunately, been unsuccessful so far,” said James Dyson, founder and chairman of Dyson.

The Economic Development Board (EDB) stated that disruption to Dyson’s operations and workforce will be minimal as “the company’s decision not to pursue the electric vehicle business was taken at an early stage”. Dyson will continue to expand in Singapore and the £2.5 billion intended for the project will be invested in developing The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology and other technologies such as its battery technology, sensing, vision systems, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

 

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Industrial Robots Projected To Dominate Manufacturing Industries

Industrial Robots Projected To Dominate Manufacturing Industries

JAPAN: The new World Robotics Report shows that a new record high of 381,000 units of industrial robots were shipped globally in 2017 – an increase of 30 percent compared to the previous year. This means that the annual sales volume of industrial robots increased by 114 percent over the last five years (2013-2017). The sales value increased by 21 percent compared to 2016 to a new peak of US$16.2 billion in 2017.

“Industrial robots are a crucial part of the progress of manufacturing industry,” says Junji Tsuda, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “Robots evolve with many cutting-edge technologies. They posses abilities in vision recognition, skill learning, failure prediction and AI, and offer a new concept to man-machine-collaboration plus easy programming and so on. They will help improve the productivity of manufacturing and expand the field of robot application. The IFR outlook shows that in 2021 the annual number of robots supplied to factories around the world will reach about 630,000 units.”

Top Five Markets In The World

There are five major markets representing 73 percent of the total sales volume in 2017: China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Germany.

China has significantly expanded its leading position with the strongest demand and a market share of 36 percent of the total supply in 2017. With sales of about 138,000 industrial robots (2016-2017: +59 percent) China´s sales volume was higher than the total sales volume of Europe and the Americas combined (112,400 units). Foreign robot suppliers increased their sales by 72 percent to 103,200 units, including robots produced locally by international robot suppliers in China. This is the first time that foreign robot suppliers have a higher growth rate than the local manufacturers. The market share of the Chinese robot suppliers decreased from 31 percent in 2016 to 25 percent in 2017.

Japan´s manufacturers delivered 56 percent of the global supply in 2017. This makes Japan the world´s number one industrial robot manufacturer. The export rate increased by 45 percent (2016-2017). North America, China, the Republic of Korea, and Europe were target export destinations. Robot sales in Japan increased by 18 percent to 45,566 units, representing the second highest value ever witnessed for this country. A higher value was only recorded in the year 2000 with 46,986 units.

The manufacturing industry of the Republic of Korea has by far the highest robot density in the world – more than 8 times the global average amount. But in 2017, robot supplies decreased by 4 percent to 39,732 units. The main driver of this development was the electrical/electronics industry that reduced robot installations by 18 percent in 2017. The year before, industrial robot installations peaked at 41,373 units.

Robot installations in the United States continued to increase to a new peak in 2017 – for the seventh year in a row – and reached 33,192 units. This is 6 percent higher than in 2016. Since 2010, the driver of the growth in all manufacturing industries in the U.S. has been the ongoing trend to automate production in order to strengthen the U.S. industries in both domestic and global markets.

Germany is the fifth largest robot market in the world and number one in Europe. In 2017, the number of robots sold increased by 7 percent to 21,404 units – a new all-time record – compared to 2016 (20,074 units). Between 2014 and 2016, annual sales of industrial robots stagnated at around 20,000 units.

Robot Use By Industry Worldwide

The automotive industry remains the largest adopter of robots globally with a share of 33 percent of the total supply in 2017 – sales increased by 22 percent. The manufacturing of passenger cars has become increasingly complex over the past ten years: a substantial proportion of the production processes nowadays require automation solutions using robots. Manufacturers of hybrid and electric cars are experiencing stronger demand for a wider variety of car models just like the traditional car manufacturers. Furthermore, the challenge of meeting 2030 climate targets will finally require a larger proportion of new cars to be low- and zero-emission vehicles.

In the future, automotive manufacturers will also invest in collaborative applications for final assembly and finishing tasks. Second tier automotive part suppliers, a large number of which are SMEs, are slower to automate fully but we can expect this to change as robots become smaller, more adaptable, easier to program, and less capital-intensive.

The electrical/electronics industry has been catching up with the auto industry: Sales increased by 33 percent to a new peak of 121,300 units – accounting for a share of 32 percent of the total supply in 2017. The rising demand for electronic products and the increasing need for batteries, chips, and displays were driving factors for the boost in sales. The need to automate production increases demand: robots can handle very small parts at high speeds, with very high degrees of precision, enabling electronics manufacturers to ensure quality whilst optimising production costs. The expanding range of smart end-effectors and vision technologies extends the range of tasks that robots can perform in the manufacture of electronic products.

The metal industry (including industrial machinery, metal products and basic metals industries) is on an upswing. Share of total supply reached 10 percent with an exceptional sales growth of 55 percent in 2017. Analysts predict an overall growth in demand in 2018 for metals, with ongoing high demand for the cobalt and lithium used in electric car batteries. Large metal and metal product companies are implementing Industry 4.0 automation strategies, including robotics, to reap the benefits of economies of scale and to be able to respond quickly to changes in demand.

Automation Degree By Robot Density

85 robot units per 10,000 employees is the new average of global robot density in the manufacturing industries (2016: 74 units). By regions, the average robot density in Europe is 106 units, in the Americas 91, and in Asia 75 units.

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VinFast To Manufacture Made-In-Vietnam Cars For Global Market

VinFast To Manufacture Made-In-Vietnam Cars For Global Market

VIETNAM: Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private corporation, is looking to add automobile production into its impressive repertoire – one which already covers the non profit sector as well as the real estate, shopping, amusement park, convenience shop and housebuilding industry.

During this year’s Paris Motor Show the company had unveiled two of its LUX vehicles – an all-new sedan and a crossover inspired by the Vietnamese people – and plans to go global with its production output in the future. Based on a novel architecture that was developed by VinFast, the LUX vehicles were co-created alongside global leaders such as Magna Steyr and Bosch with the intention of an expedited development-to-market cycle.

Kevin Fisher, Vice President of Engineering at VinFast has said, “Our partnership strategy will enable us to achieve two crucial engineering imperatives – quality and timing”.While prototype testing of the two vehicles that have been showcased is currently underway, VinFast’s automobile manufacturing facility in Vietnam is already opened for operations and the company intends to develop a city car through its partnership with General Motors (GM) while also expanding its eScooter line through the addition of a small electric car by 2019.

Through its partnership with GM, VinFast has also attained exclusive distribution rights for Chevrolet-branded vehicles in Vietnam. Similarly, although additional technology agreements between GM and VinFast are still being discussed, most of GM’s operations in Vietnam will be transferred to VinFast, such as the company’s large Hanoi plant which is scheduled to be transferred before the end of 2018.

Moving forward, VinFast is also collaborating with Siemens to manufacture electric buses for the Vietnamese market which are scheduled to be sold domestically in June 2019. A vision that is aligned to VinFast’s supply chain for electric mobility in its operations.

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In The Driver’s Seat: Blockchain Technology

In The Driver’s Seat: Blockchain Technology

The automotive industry is already experiencing disruption by all vehicles electric, autonomous and connected. Fundamentally, these technological innovations are changing current perceptions of the automotive industry. With all these innovations and disruptions already happening, here comes another new kid on the block to further ruffle the industry’s feathers— blockchain. By Jessminder Kaur

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