We read about electric vehicles in the news constantly. Volvo has announced they will phase out combustion engines, Tesla’s famous Model 3 outsold BMW’s entire line of cars, and VW has announced a new consumer vehicle with over a four hundred mile range, but as everyone falls over themselves to bring their own electric cars to market, are we risking some major mistakes as we chase shiny objects? Dr. Peter Harrop, chairman of IDTechEx has some perspective.
Dr. Harrop is presenting an opening keynote on electric vehicles the «The Melodrama Of The Coming 20 Years.» Previously serving as the Director of Technology of Plessey Capacitors Scotland and Chief Executive of Mars Electronics we asked a few questions to get a possible preview and better understand what problems and challenges may exist in the industry moving forward over the next few decades.
One major thing manufacturers and engineers need to be aware of as they develop EVs is the upfront cost. «The killer blow is making a vehicle (bus, boat, plane, etc) with the same performance as the conventional version but at a lower upfront cost,» Harrop said. «However clever, people make something that is not a direct alternative (Think of the history of mobile phones.)»
But the cost isn’t the only factor. Harrop also suggests a major challenge in EV design will simply be in keeping up with rapidly changing technologies. Supercapacitors could possibly replace batteries and gallium nitride or gallium oxide power semiconductors will potentially replace silicon. Solar bodywork has also been a challenge in the past and will likely continue to give EV manufacturers a headache. But thermal materials also present a challenge as designers search for new ways to integrate passenger motor and battery head management.
It’s important not to go to far, however. The industry could also stand to overcomplicate the process as well. Already there is a lack of component standards which, if not corrected immediately will likely plague the industry for decades. Harrop also believes that motor controllers and battery management systems proliferating and getting more complex including more powerful onboard chargers can also present an issue the industry will likely be prone to overcomplicate.
If your company is entering the EV space or already in it, it might be a good idea to catch Dr. Harrop’s keynote at IDTechEx.
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Visit Accumold at booth # G26. IDTechEx is November 14-15 in Santa Clara. The event known to focus on the latest emerging technologies will have eight concurrent conferences and a single exhibition area focusing on 3D Printing, Electric Vehicles, Energy Storage, Graphene, IoT, Printed Electronics, Sensors and Wearable Technology.
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