By Jaydeep Saha, Contributing Writer, HCL Technologies Ltd.
According to Markets and Markets in one of its reports, the global electric vehicle (EV) market size is predicted to reach 39,208 thousand units by 2030, up from 8,151 thousand units in 2022,
In October, Reuters reported that the world’s top automakers plan to spend nearly $1.2 trillion through 2030 to develop and produce millions of EVs, along with the batteries and raw materials.
Owing to the high demand for lower cost-efficient and low-emission vehicles, the EV sector across Asia Pacific is projected to experience steady growth, while the North American and European markets are growing fast due to government initiatives and the growing high-performance passenger vehicle segment.
However, global growth is under threat. An S&P Global Mobility report warned that geopolitical tensions have created a fragile supply chain that could hit the planned expansion of EV battery production, slowing down the adoption of EVs. The report said that original equipment manufacturers’ battery-electric and hybrid vehicle sales aspirations will face strong headwinds as they scramble for raw materials.
“Elements such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt do not just magically appear and transform into EV batteries and other components,” Graham Evans, director of auto supply Chain & technology at S&P Global Mobility, told Reuters. He added that the intermediate steps between excavation of elements and final assembly are a particular choke point.
EVs also have a weight problem as their batteries weigh thousands of pounds, while the energy generated from these devices primarily comes from hydrocarbon usage.
Finding a solution
Reduction in the overall body framework—replacing standard auto-grade iron with aluminum—can soak up the energy coming out of the battery and cost less without any compromise on safety. Besides aluminum, manufactures are also researching other components, like carbon fiber-reinforced polymer.
At KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Swedish researchers have found two promising solutions with carbon fiber: it’s a light reinforcement for an EV body and an active electrode in lithium-ion batteries.
Carbon fiber’s incredible strength makes it stronger than steel and aluminum, while also being lighter and corrosion resistant. It becomes a good conductor after insertion of lithium, has a continuous structure and excellent mechanical properties. This makes it desirable in the automotive, aerospace and renewable energy sectors.
“The objective of our research was to develop a structural battery consisting of multifunctional lightweight materials that simultaneously manage mechanical loads and store electrical energy. This can result in a weight reduction for electric vehicles,” Eric Jacques, a researcher in Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering at KTH, told ScienceDaily.
HCLTech’s contribution to the transportation ecosystem
“HCLTech has been an engineering partner to some of the biggest off-highway vehicle manufacturers, delivering services across the layers of hardware, software and embedded systems,” said an ISG analyst.
It has developed a wide spectrum of solutions that tap every touchpoint of the evolving transportation ecosystem, covering hybrid and electric architecture and fuel cells for large vehicles while deploying the solutions governed by relevant use cases. It has a significant footprint in the off-highway vehicle space in Europe.