Dr. Mark Cross of Ultraseal International explores the role of vacuum impregnation when implementing zero waste, zero defect and continuous improvements in hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturing.
With the world focused on finding sustainable, low-carbon solutions for travel, the move to hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) adoption is well underway.
According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, EV sales (mild hybrid, full hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full battery-electric vehicles) are expected to surpass internal-combustion-engine (ICE) vehicle sales by 2030, taking 51 percent of the market, with BEV and PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) categories accounting for 25 percent of total vehicle sales. However, 82 percent of cars will still contain an ICE powertrain, with PHEVs, HEVs and mild hybrids all using internal combustion engines alongside their electric powertrain.
Automotive manufacturers are under pressures from many sides. On the consumer side, there is a sharp drop in confidence in diesel due to the introduction of clean air zones, some of which are already in force, and a ban on internal combustion engine vehicles in the UK by 2035.
Meanwhile, governments around the world are tightening up on automotive emission legislation. In Europe, there are increasingly stringent CO2-emission regulations. In China, efficiency is paramount, with their ever-stricter Corporate Average Fuel Consumption (CAFC) and New-Energy Vehicle (NEV) regulations testament to that.
To meet these regulations and consumer needs, car makers are gearing up to launch a wave of new electric vehicle (EV) models during 2020. Many EVs on the market in recent years have been targeted at high-end markets with a price tag to match. However, 2020 will see the launch of EVs which are much more familiar and accessible to the average driver, including the MINI, the Vauxhall Corsa, the Fiat 500 and the Volkswagen ID.3 and e-Up! being just a few to mention.
There’s no doubt that significant advances have already been achieved in hybrid and BEV manufacturing in recent years. However, while these vehicles offer a greener alternative during operation, it is increasingly important that the engineering and manufacturing process behind them is also environmentally sustainable.
The Role of Vacuum Impregnation in Automotive Manufacturing
With vehicle weight having an adverse effect on battery usage, hybrid and BEV manufacturers are increasingly looking at ways to reduce overall vehicle mass. The use of structural die cast components can help – especially if manufacturers opt to substitute materials, such as steel, with lightweight materials like aluminium. By manufacturing drive and powertrain components, such as electric motors, from die cast aluminium, car makers can further reduce vehicle weight. In turn, battery range can be extended for BEVs and HEVs, while reducing vehicle emissions for the latter as well.
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