E-mobility is reshaping the automotive industry
As data suggests recent Covid-19 has become a driving force behind an increasing demand for Electric Vehicle and an E-Mobility trend.
According to Kersten Heineke, the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility in Europe, “Covid is going to be an accelerator for the transition to more sustainable mobility”.
Government regulations, lower vehicle costs, more expansive charging networks, and an overall superior customer experience are all driving the growth of electric vehicles (EVs).
The supply chain for EVs is much simpler than for gasoline vehicles, using only about 3,000 to 10,000 parts per vehicle, down from the 30,000 needed vehicles with a traditional powertrain. All the major automakers have committed publicly to an electric future. All of this means that a shift away from internal combustion engines and toward EVs will increase the 2 million or so EVs sold in 2018 by a factor of 10 in the coming decade.
Such innovation will have massive impact on technology companies. Electrification is not just about the car and its components but it involves a great number of other parties to be involved, including battery chemistry, the battery makers, the automakers, the charging infrastructure, the smart energy grid and even the very source of power generation.
It is essential to make each part of this chain to be sustainable, environmentally friendly and ethical. For the battery itself, which depends on analog technology to manage battery formation and test, precision battery management, isolation, powertrain inversion and energy storage, this also means ethical practices even for the battery chemistry.
That is the reason why a trend for battery chemistries will raise, such as lithium iron phosphate (LFP), which is not only cheaper and safer than other chemistries, but is zero cobalt, meaning it totally avoids the ethical issues surrounding cobalt mining.
Additionally, 1/3 of the cost of an electric car comes from the battery itself, which means the battery is then not just the determining factor governing the range of the vehicle, it’s actually a valuable asset in the vehicle. What does the industry do with that asset? One approach is to develop technology that leads the battery life cycle “journey” all the way from battery formation through its second life.
For example, the useful life of the battery is defined by several factors that goes beyond of its production. What were the precise conditions during cell formation? How carefully was the cell handled at the warehouse, during transportation and during battery-pack manufacturing and assembly? What were the conditions during its operation in the vehicle and over the road?
Technology is developed to understand the state of health of the battery cell through operation to determine how the battery cell might be used in second-life applications, for instance powering an airport shuttle, a forklift or an electric bike, storing energy from renewable sources like wind and solar or ending up as a cell in the vehicle charging network.
The decision to treat batteries as a quasi-renewable asset means fewer resources end up in landfills. And, during operation, there is the benefit of saving carbon emissions from the atmosphere.