The successful "IDTechEx Show!" in Berlin with nearly 3000 paying delegates, nine parallel conferences, 25 masterclasses and a large exhibition had a huge amount for the electric vehicle enthusiast. The emphasis was the future including the longer term. IDTechEx has pioneered perception of the end game as something beyond pure electric land, water and airborne vehicles that plug in or charge contactlessly. It is energy independent vehicles and here a more advanced version of these emerged as various forms of energy positive vehicles that produce more electricity using on-board equipment than that required for their duty cycle of travel.
That included "Airborne Wind Energy" analysed and forecasted in the new IDTechEx report, Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) 2017-2027, a pasta van that grabs so much wind energy it can cook 100 portions when it stops and the Stella Lux commuter car for four on display. This award winning Dutch vehicle donates to the grid after the daily commute.
Professor Pietro Perlo presenting his restaurant car powered when stationary by an erecting array of four annular wind turbines totalling 500W and solar panels.
Source: IDTechEx photograph
Stella Lux from Solar Team Eindhoven, an energy-positive, street-legal solar car for four.
Source: IDTechEx photograph
Nuon solar car, the global winner from TU Delft
Source: IDTechEx photograph
All energy independent vehicles will be covered in the world's first event on the subject to be staged by IDTechEx at the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands, where so many solar boats and cars and the theory are developed. An award was given to Sono Motors of Germany for its vision of launching a four seater road legal car that does 30 kilometers daily without plugging in thanks to single crystal silicon photovoltaics. Normal plug-in EV modes will also be available. Yes, their crowd sourcing funding looks inadequate, the solar looks challenging and the price of only Euros 16K looks very challenging but this is how disruptive technologies begin, Europe being very good at this sort of thing.
Sono Motors pure electric solar car specifications
Source: IDTechEx photograph of Sono Motors slides
At the event's conference, "Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing" it became clear that new sectors are emerging, notably "last mile" vehicles and the allied taxi-buses. Mostly boxy vehicles for one to ten people these have a great deal of glass and are candidates for smart glass that is photovoltaic, darkens on command, displays advertisements and dashboard information and so on. This is covered in the new IDTechEx Research report, Electrically Active Windows and Glass 2018-2028.
Here comes more glass: a city EV exhibited
Source: IDTechEx photograph
Certainly everything is changing and nothing made this more stark than Delphi's decision to divest all but parts and systems for pure electric vehicles. Even fuel cell enthusiasts Daimler and Toyota have kept steady on that while recently adding huge extra investment and priority for pure electric vehicles. For example, although Daimler showed the following chart of the weight - range capability of fuel cell vehicles being huge compared to others, consideration of cost still rules it out for most things.
Daimler view of powertrain appropriateness on a weight-range plot
Source: IDTechEx photograph of Daimler slide
A Tesla X SUV on display attracted huge attention. Elon Musk says all Tesla cars will have solar bodywork and the Chief Engineer of the Toyota Prius recently said he dreams of cars running on sunshine. There is a consensus emerging concerning transition to energy independence via extreme lightweighting, extreme powertrain efficiency aided by new forms of regeneration and energy harvesting and power electronics becoming at least as important as batteries in cost and performance share of a vehicle.
In the EV masterclass, it was made very clear that Industrial and Commercial EVs (hybrid and pure electric) continue to be more important in sales and profit than cars and only cars are peaking in demand, that resulting in an inevitable peak in electric car sales eventually. Latest IDTechEx projections show just buses matching the $460 billion market for electric cars in 2027. See the IDTechEx Research report, Electric Vehicles 2017-2037: Forecasts, Analysis, Opportunities.
The conferences and masterclasses revealed that many new technologies first appear on commercial, industrial and military vehicles such as in-wheel motors, carbon fiber bodywork and supercapacitor traction. New examples of silicon carbide power semiconductors and supercapacitor traction were revealed including a search and rescue boat that can climb a mountain at 45 degrees.
The new Solar Team Great Britain reported on its tear drop shaped solar car intended to transition into a street legal vehicle in contrast to the Cambridge University solar racer in tear drop format. Both solar racers and solar cars are starting to adopt gallium arsenide solar that is at least twice as efficient, assuming that the high costs will not pertain. Extending solar on vehicles and sometimes sun-tracking solar on vehicles are seen more often now.
Solar Team GB initial design
Source: Solar Team GB slide
Meanwhile AVL and others revealed how the quick fix for conventional cars and small commercial vehicles likely to be banned for carbon emissions under new laws is the 48V mild hybrid appearing almost everywhere this year. Importantly, this is no longer seen as something with a 0.5 kWh battery, conventional DC-DC inverter and a motor generator added for 12 kW and four times the current over conventional vehicles. This was seen as always being non-electric in drive to the wheels but now the target is 30kW and up to four pure electric modes all this permitting a large number of parts to become electrified though Daimler felt it may be unnecessary for the smallest cars. IFEVS argued that those are going straight to pure electric anyway, with lower cost of ownership and even lower up front cost very soon.
Technology roadmap by AVL showing bigger ambitions for 48V mild hybrids now
Source: IDTechEx photograph of AVL slide
There is still no shakeout in motor designs for full hybrid and pure electric vehicles and even for the motor generator in 48V mild hybrids but there is a strong move to several rotating electric traction machines for all of these, to give multiple benefits from cost of ownership and fuel economy to performance and vectored steering and drive, near wheel motors being increasingly popular. In-wheel is much rarer beyond bikes due to cost and performance concerns though Protean Electric saw hundreds of cars on the road having its in wheel motors within a year.
Dr Greg Offer of Imperial College London saw some supercapacitor potential but little scope for supercapacitors that are hybrids between pure supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries saying they are good holding power for minutes but are not intermediate in all respects, sometimes being "the worst of all worlds". Europe is a net importer of supercapacitors but Yunasko of the Ukraine has some of the world's best hybrid supercapacitors and the energy density in production of Skeleton Technologies in Estonia is hitting a remarkable 33 Wh/kg, the other parameters being magnitudes better than batteries. All this is relevant to the rapidly evolving markets of electric aircraft and marine vessels too. Everywhere autonomy is a strong theme but with volume uses leading to commoditisation of hardware and a large software and services market. Drivers include the young rejecting car ownership (a recent drop of 30% in driving tests in the UK for instance) and cities moving towards banning private cars. It is almost all about autonomy of vehicles bought by companies, though some are then rented to individuals as needed. Legal challenges were aired.
40% attendee discount for Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing USA 2017
Join us for Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing USA in Santa Clara, November 15-16 2017, part of the IDTechEx Show! The event brings together the complete value chain, from technology developers to integrators to end-users, providing insight on market trends, latest products and emerging technology toolkits. Register before July 14 for a 40% discount.