Our team attended Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo in Novi, Michigan to exhibit our electrification solutions. We attended various conferences sessions lead by experts in the space and discovered these popular trends on the rise:
1. Solid-State Technology on the Rise
There was a lot of discussion on solid state technology and the timeline for adoption. An increasing amount of investment and interest is developing which will ultimately lead to adoption in electric vehicles (EVs). This would be another big step in the world of EVs since it allows for longer range and improved safety. We now have several OEMs and battery manufacturers solidly backing R&D in this space. Toyota continues to target unveiling an EV based on solid state battery technology during next year’s Tokyo Olympics. A123 talked about having a pilot line up and running by 2020. Ford and Volkswagen have teams dedicated to working on this technology. Overall, the expectation is that this technology will be ready for adoption in the next 5 years.
2. Customization of Thermal Management Materials is Key
Our very own, Dan Barber, PhD presented on the need for custom materials in battery packs. Not only are there differences in cell type (prismatic, cylindrical, pouch), vehicle type (HEV, PHEV, BEV) and cooling methods (air, liquid, refrigerant, immersion etc.), but also desires for longer range, reliability and fast charging capability. With that being said, if no two battery packs are standard, he asked the audience why their thermal management solutions should be. At LORD, we work closely with our customers to formulate the best solution for your needs. That means we can tweak materials properties such as viscosity, gel time, hardness, thermal conductivity and a range of other properties to get you the best solution.
3.Thermal Runaway Concerns in Battery Packs
Many presentations discussed the causes of thermal runaway and ways to mitigate it. With the demand to increase battery life there is a larger risk of thermal runaway occurrences. Companies provided data on how quickly thermal runaway occurs when the proper design is and isn’t implemented in battery packs. Many OEMs are looking for different ways to mitigate thermal runaway including: liquid coolants, refrigerants, phase changing materials and thermally conductive materials.
4. Electrification Beyond Cars and Buses
Progress and cost reduction in lithium ion battery technology has not only enabled growth in electric cars and buses, it has also sparked a revolution in other transportation segments. Vehicles in agricultural, industrial and construction, which historically have been dominated by diesel powered engines are now looking at electrification. Mining vehicles are also getting in on the act, driven by the high cost of maintaining clean air underground. Areas like forklifts and material handling vehicles which were dominated by lead acid are also starting to move towards lithium ion. All in all, this means the electrification wave is only going to get bigger. The challenges in these “new markets” are similar – safety and prevention of thermal events, longer range, higher power densities and lower costs.