02 Jun 2011 09:06:30
Much bigger e-mobility picture revealed
Much bigger e-mobility picture revealed
By Peter Harrop, chairman, IDTechEx
Electric vehicle parts are not evolving: they are changing completely. Sometimes, the traction battery will be replaced by a supercapacitor or supercabattery and the dumb skin of the vehicle by smart skin. Energy harvesting and range extenders are new key enabling technologies and AC motors are often replacing DC motors. This is an industry in ferment.
The companies leading this seismic change cannot focus on cars alone or even just on-road vehicles. Other vehicles are often the early adopters and routes to earlier financial success. For example, third generation lithium sulphur batteries power military electric vehicles and solar aircraft: other applications will follow. The most impressive multi-mode energy harvesting was first seen in underwater electric vehicles and that is where you see the most powerful traction batteries.
The internal combustion engine in a hybrid is an anachronism – the future lies in range extenders, fuel cells burning hydrogen and mini turbines burning almost any fuel. They are needed in many forms of electric vehicle—off-road, marine and air, for example. It is therefore inappropriate that electric vehicle events still obsess about cars.
IDTechEx has listened to all this new wave of vehicle, component and material manufacturers and developers. To serve them, it is staging Europe's first event on "electric vehicles land sea air" in Stuttgart Germany, heart of Germany's aerospace and automotive industries.
Speaker Paul Barrett, executive chairman of Bladon Jets, the company behind the mini turbine range extenders in the new Jaguar electric supercar says, "Thank goodness there is now an event on the whole picture. Our mini turbines will be acting as range extenders in electric aircraft not just cars and other land vehicles." Indeed, at the event, Intelligent Energy will cover use of their fuel cells as range extenders in motorcycles, aircraft and taxis and speaker DLR German Aerospace Center will describe fuel cell range extenders in airport ground support equipment and host a visit. There are other visits too.
Another speaker, Dr Harry Igbenehi of Flexible Electronics Concepts, says, "I shall describe how the new printed and laminated multilayer electronics and electrics can save up to 40% of the weight, space and price of control clusters and wiring in electric aircraft, cars, boats and much more, while improving reliability and weatherproofing. I look forward to meeting people from the whole industry – just what is really needed."
At the sister event in California, speaker AFS Trinity, which is making supercapacitors do more of the work in electric vehicles, said, "I think you did a great job of pulling together people who do not normally cross paths at other conferences." IDTechEx intends that Electric Vehicles Land Sea Air in Stuttgart similarly puts people together who do not normally meet and yet have much experience to share, whether for vehicles on land, on or under water or in the air. Huw Hampson-Jones of 3rd generation battery developer OXIS Energy enthuses, "At the preceding event in California, we were approached by several organisations that were hearing about us for the first time and some have subsequently visited our production centre in the UK. It is very valuable that IDTechEx covers the whole subject, land, sea and air."
As chairman Dr Peter Harrop puts it, "We are delighted at the enthusiastic response to our plan to let the whole industry meet at one event. Our sessions on cars, marine electric vehicles, electric aircraft, off-road electric vehicles and on-road are mirrored by a comprehensive delegate list. It includes Airbus, Hudson Power Sports, Hudson Yachts, Sony, eWolf which has an electric racing car, the Bulgarian Electric Vehicle Association and Robert Bosch Venture Capital. Exhibitors include ABSL in military traction batteries, Oxis Energy and DLR German Aerospace Center making airliners into electric vehicles as they taxi on the runway. There are ETH Zurich with solar powered unmanned aircraft and Aradex hybrid drives for trucks and ships exhibiting, for example. These people know that they need to learn from each other and sell to each other and they realise that, at last, they can do so in one unique e-mobility event."
For information on either event or to apply for a press pass, please contact Cara Harrington.