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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( )

[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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Honda And General Motors Establishes A Strategic Alliance In North America

Honda And General Motors Establishes A Strategic Alliance In North America

General Motors and Honda have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding following extensive preliminary discussions toward establishing a North American automotive alliance. The scope of the proposed alliance includes a range of vehicles to be sold under each company’s distinct brands, as well as cooperation in purchasing, research and development, and connected services.

Under the proposed alliance, Honda and GM would collaborate on a variety of segments in North America, intending to share common vehicle platforms, including both electrified and internal combustion propulsion systems that align with the vehicle platforms. Co-development planning discussions will begin immediately, with engineering work beginning in early 2021.

Introducing advanced technology is imperative, given shifting consumer and regulatory requirements. To address this challenge efficiently, the alliance would explore combining the R&D efforts between the two companies related to advanced technology areas, including electrical architecture, advanced driver assist systems, infotainment, connectivity and vehicle-to-everything communication.

“This alliance will help both companies accelerate investment in future mobility innovation by freeing up additional resources. Given our strong track record of collaboration, the companies would realise significant synergies in the development of today’s vehicle portfolio,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors.

“Through this new alliance with GM, we can achieve substantial cost efficiencies in North America that will enable us to invest in future mobility technology, while maintaining our own distinct and competitive product offerings. Combining the strengths of each company, and by carefully determining what we will do on our own and what we will do in collaboration, we will strive to build a win-win relationship to create new value for our customers. In this way, Honda will continue making steady progress in solidifying our existing business by realising strong products, strong manufacturing capability and a strong business structure,” said Seiji Kuraishi, executive vice president of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

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GM Accelerates 3D Printing Capability With Stratasys

GM Accelerates 3D Printing Capability With Stratasys

As the COVID-19 pandemic has ripped through much of the world this year, 3D printing has emerged as an agile and effective technology for producing personal protective equipment, medical equipment prototypes and nose swabs. But General Motors (GM), which has been steadily upping its investments in 3D printing over the past couple years, is betting that the business benefits will continue long after the current crisis subsides. The company added 17 production-grade Stratasys FDM 3D printers to its fleet at the end of 2019 and has been turning to 3D printed tooling for speed, weight reduction and cost efficiency on its production lines.

“With the pace of change in modern industry accelerating and business uncertainty increasing, 3D printing technology is helping us meet these challenges and become more nimble as a company,” said GM’s director of additive manufacturing, Ron Daul. “We’ve been on this journey for more than 30 years, but 3D printing is becoming even more widespread at our company, with more than 700 employees now trained to use the technology. Additive manufacturing is consistently providing us more rapid and efficient product development, tooling and assembly aids, with even more benefits to come.”

An April 2020 study by SME Media found that 25 percent of U.S. manufacturing professionals were planning to change their supply chains in response to the pandemic, and 3D printing was the top choice (with robotics) of 11 manufacturing technologies for post-COVID investment. The technology can be used to 3D print spare parts, produce end-use parts closer to assembly, help manufacturing lines retool faster, and develop new and better prototypes more quickly.

GM is moving faster than some companies to seize a competitive advantage. The company has used 3D printing since 1989 for prototyping. In fact, 75 percent of the parts in the prototype of its 2020 Chevrolet Corvette were 3D-printed, and GM now has 3D printers installed in many production facilities around the world. The company is increasingly moving beyond prototyping to production-related applications like tooling.

A big test of this application came in April when GM entered into contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to deliver a 30,000-unit order for critical care ventilators, in conjunction with Ventec Life Systems, by the end of August. The company reverse-engineered part data for tooling fixtures from the original ventilator manufacturer, and started 3D printing them the next day. All 3D printed tooling used for critical care ventilators was 3D printed on Stratasys systems. When the company requires more 3D printing capacity, there is an automatic offload path to Stratasys Direct Manufacturing for parts on demand. This helps GM run at a high utilization rate for its existing machines, expanding in-house capacity when it can ensure it has a sustained need for it.

Material innovation and machine repeatability have made a difference. For example, Nylon12 Carbon Fiber is a composite material containing 35 percent chopped carbon fiber by weight, which translates to an exceptionally high strength-to-weight ratio, even in places subjected to heavy vibrations. As a result, heavy parts that would have previously required metal can now be 3D printed in polymers. And production-grade systems like the Stratasys F900 have been designed to not only perform to a high degree of precision but also consistency so that every part is as identical as possible.

“GM is making the smart investments in 3D printing to succeed in this new normal of uncertainty and disruption,” said Stratasys Americas President Rich Garrity. “As a result, GM has manufacturing lines that are more adaptable and less expensive, and products that are developed faster and better. They are a clear model for the future of additive manufacturing in the automotive industry.”


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HELLER Receives Third Supplier Of The Year Award From GM

HELLER Receives Third Supplier of the Year Award from GM

For the third time in a row, General Motors (GM) has honoured HELLER as one of the best suppliers in 2018 in the Indirect Material and Machinery category. Wolfgang Märker, Vice President Crankshaft/Camshaft, and Marc St-Pierre, Head of Sales at HELLER USA, accepted the trophy on behalf of HELLER during a gala event at the GM headquarters in Detroit in May. In total, GM works with about 20,000 suppliers, and he best 133 of them were presented with an award at the event.

“For many years, we have had a very cooperative relationship with GM based on mutual trust and solution-oriented collaboration,” said Märker. HELLER received the award for the RFK and DRZ range of crankshaft machines used throughout GM production lines for the various engine types around the globe. “Our machines are employed in the manufacture of a wide range of GM’s engines from 3-cylinder through to V8 engines,” explained Märker.

Happy repeat award winners Marc St-Pierre, Head of Sales at HELLER USA and Wolfgang Märker, Vice President Crankshaft/Camshaft at HELLER (both in the middle) together with Kurt Wiese, Executive Director GM & Vice President Global Manufacturing Engineering, (left) and Paris Pavlou, Executive Director GM & Vice President Purchasing & Supply Chain.

Happy repeat award winners Marc St-Pierre, Head of Sales at HELLER USA and Wolfgang Märker, Vice President Crankshaft/Camshaft at HELLER (both in the middle) together with Kurt Wiese, Executive Director GM & Vice President Global Manufacturing Engineering, (left) and Paris Pavlou, Executive Director GM & Vice President Purchasing & Supply Chain.

Using HELLER machines has allowed GM to achieve a significant reduction in production costs. This, in addition to the consistently high precision and reliability, was definitely one of the main reasons that have made HELLER a repeat award winner. “Our suppliers are of paramount importance to us. In the past year, our suppliers have again provided top-quality innovations and technologies, enabling us to build and maintain long-term relationships with our customers,” Steve Kiefer, Senior Vice President Global Purchasing and Supply Chain at GM, said.

This year, the award ceremony was held at the automobile group’s headquarters in Detroit and was attended by CEO Mary Barra. According to Märker this showed the high appreciation GM has for its suppliers. To Marc St-Pierre, Head of Sales at HELLER USA, the award is a recognition of their good cooperation: “The General Motors and HELLER Partnership has proven to be a great example of how a collaborative exchange of solutions and ideas to help both our companies succeed.  The truly open and sharing type of environment GM and HELLER have fostered has led to true synergy in production system productions and solutions.  It has been a real win-win relationship and the results and our much-appreciated support by GM are evident in the successful systems we have produced together.”



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Vietnam’s First Domestic Car To Be Available In August 2019

Vietnam’s First Domestic Car To Be Available In August 2019

VinFast, a unit of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup JSC VIC.HM, is set to become the country’s first fully-fledged domestic car manufacturer as the company is projecting to have its first car available commercially in August of 2019.

Currently, the company already has established a new plant in the northern Vietnamese port town of Haiphong, where two models will be built. And for a start, VinFast is looking to manufacture 250,000 cars annually in the next five years of production. This is equivalent to 92 percent of all the cars sold in Vietnam in 2017 according to data collated by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA). To add to this, the company has earmarked about USD 3.5 billion for the project and has even debuted two vehicles at the Paris Motor Show in 2018. Commenting on the company’s ambitions, Jim Deluca, CEO of VinFast has said that, “[VinFast is] looking to expand both within ASEAN and outside.”

Beyond these vehicles, VinFast also intends to move forward with a city car through a partnership with General Motors that will also extend to automotive sales, where General Motors has given VinFast exclusive distribution rights for Chevrolet-branded vehicles in Vietnam. Other technology agreements are also underway between VinFast and General Motors and this will add on to VinFast’s expanding portfolio of partnerships such as the company’s current partnership with Siemens for the development of domestic electric buses.

As of now, a majority of the cars sold in Vietnam are foreign brands assembled in the country from kits. However, a series of free trade agreements have reduced import duties and this has opened up the market for domestic manufacturers. For example, a 30 percent import tax on cars from other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries was removed in 2018.


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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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