08 Mar 2019 / E-mobility

The future of E-mobility is within range

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular, as the sector transitions from an exotic offering to the mainstream market. Hybrids, which contain both an internal combustion and electric engine, have been the most popular compromise, largely because of range anxiety – that is, the worry that your batteries might become depleted before you make it to your destination. However, full plug-in EVs are rapidly catching up, thanks to massive investments by vehicle makers.

The range of an EV can vary wildly, depending on the battery size and technology, from less than 100km to almost 500km. A smaller battery pack, like in the tiny two-seat Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, will be limited to 90 km or so. But the bigger batteries, like in the Tesla 100D, will boast a much longer range, typically upwards of 480 km.

Other variables that will influence range include ambient temperature, with optimal range achieved at temperatures of 25C-35C and cold or freezing temperatures reducing battery performance and range; hilly or flat terrain; driving speeds, as EVs consume more energy at higher speeds; vehicle load weight; and the age of the batteries, as they lose capacity over time.

Solid choice

Vehicle makers are offering a wide array of EVs to meet different range and use requirements. A vehicle destined mainly for urban driving will not require the same range capabilities as one used for inter-city purposes. And a large family car (Sedan, SUV, station wagon) will require bigger battery packs than compact city runabouts. The relative pricing follows the same logic, with the Tesla Model S and X, Jaguar i-Pace, the Audi E-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQ C, for example, at the high-end, with more modest budgets and performance expectations from the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Hyundai Kona and Ioniq, and VW e-Golf, for instance.

The battery pack is normally the key determinant for range and with the current lithium-ion technology reaching its peak, many experts are proclaiming that the future is solid-state batteries, which are smaller, higher-capacity and cheaper than current liquid-based lithium-ion batteries.

Induction process

But there is an alternative path that promises to completely rewrite the rules of battery-powered range – wireless charging via induction. Much like placing your smartphone on a charging pad instead of plugging it in, wireless car charging will refill the vehicle’s battery when its parked over a charger on the ground beneath it. This technology is already available as an aftermarket hack, but companies such as BMW are planning to offer this as an OEM upgrade.

Taking this concept to the logical next step, wireless charging while driving is the next step in the promising future technology. Wireless charging pioneer Qualcomm has already demonstrated that charging while driving is possible, even while the vehicle is traveling at up to 100 kmh, with its Dynamic Electric Vehicle Charging (DEVC) technology. Not only would this be a range-anxiety buster for EV owners, it could be crucial to the success of autonomous vehicles in future. After all, it would be much more efficient for robotic taxis to be constantly charged from the road as they drive along rather than having to go to a charging point every few hours.

The future of mobility is electric, and Technyl® is the partner of choice for OEMs in the electric and fuel cell vehicle space. Find out more about our Technyl® offering for e-mobility.