Necessary Evolution of Electric Vehicles technologies

Hannes Prenn, Executive VP and CEO of Marelli Electric Powertrain

Necessary Evolution of Electric Vehicles technologiesHannes Prenn, Executive VP and CEO of Marelli Electric Powertrain

No one had imagined in the past years that the electric vehicles market would have grown as fast as it is today. The world is benefiting from this green transport, while several governments worldwide subsidised electric cars to boost customer interest. Despite the popularity and serviceability, the adoption of EVs has been slow-paced, and the general public is yet to accept it as a viable replacement for conventional vehicles. Several companies are actively developing solutions that will make EVs more accessible and adapting to the current trends in the automobile industry.

Competitive Landscape of EV Industry and Impact of COVID-19

Compared to the past few years, the EV market is highly competitive today, owing to its massive popularity. It is unsurprising that so many players now want to invest in it. To stand out from the crowd, companies are investing and innovating to develop the best technologies. I, too, believe the ideology that technology is the key to become successful. The market is evolving very fast, and players in this field need to catch up with the pace.

Electrification of transportation is the prime manifestation of the fourth industrial revolution.

Compounding this scenario is the Digitalisation: the combination between this and the evolution of electrification in general enabled game-changing disruptions like the continuously growing adoption of electric vehicles in our society. The COVID-19 pandemic only aggravated the situation, and companies immediately embraced digitalisation as their only option to survive in unprecedented circumstances. There have also been significant boost and developments in these technologies, owing to the demands by climate control policies and regulations by governments. 

One also witnessed people’s attention shifting to sustainability, which has resulted in a socially responsible population that prioritises the planet. This shift was also intensified by the pandemic, as people reflected upon the current conditions prevailing around them and set environment as a priority.

 

Though the future of electric vehicles seems promising, there are many challenges that the industry faces today, and we at Marelli, develop the solutions for several of those.

The challenges of electrification

One of the main challenges for electrification is efficiency, that ultimately translates – for the end user – into range and cost, that are precisely what consumers, and therefore OEMs, are looking for.

The range of today’s electric vehicles is sufficient for commute within cities,but it now has to grow to ensure transport outside cities. One of the critical reasons being the need to increase efficiency of batteries and charging speed. An EV requires charging after covering large distances, and charging stations are not as ubiquitous as gas stations, reducing its range. Even with stations available, EV owners have to wait for long periods until the batteries are fully charged. This gives rise to fear in people’s mind that they might get stuck outside cities and not make it back to their homes, thus creating a psychological factor against EV adoption. As a experienced member of this industry, we believe that players in this field must listen to their customers and understand their issues, which is a key to developing solutions to these challenges.

In this fast-evolving market, technological solutions have to evolve rapidly as well. There are several effective technologies that we at Marelli are focusing on, especially as regards efficiency. Silicon Carbide, that has been widely used in the industry due to its unique switching speed, is one of those, but we also have always to think forward, to the next evolutions. Gallium Nitride is an example of a further excellent option, for which we have a partnership with a specialized company, to develop devices that have higher efficiency and performance. We are firmly convinced that to thrive in this market the critical point is being fast in implementing technologies that respond to technology trends and customer needs. We have a strong engineering team that constantly evaluates the market to identify trends and convert them into efficient products. We listen to our customers and anticipate their requirements, implementing those even before clients come to us. We are always ready for the next step in evolution, prepared for the next step in technologies. We also ensure that the products are delivered to our clients on time as enabling our customers to have a disruption-free operational workflow. Another crucial aspect is of course system-cost. End consumers, and therefore in turn also our customers, are looking for affordable products, and at the end of the day, customer satisfaction is what matters the most.

 

This overall approach is key to our strategy of positioning ourselves as a full system supplier in the EV field, able to manage compete flow of energy in a vehicle.In this respect, recently, Marelli formed a joint venture with PUNCH to develop and manufacture electric vehicle’s e-axles for full-electrification systems. 

This is a further step, that adds on to our long-standing capabilities in Electric Powertrain, coupled with our strong know-how in thermal management, that are a perfect match to enable the efficient control of the energy flow in vehicles.  Solutions that ensure better cooling, in fact, will result in better efficiency as well. Marelli aims to revolutionise the EV industry since it offers a vast range of benefits. These benefits are why our team diligently works to innovate solutions for the future of mobility.One Solution, Several Benefits

It is also important to recognise that the EV industry benefits not just EV owners but has also hidden advantages for cities and the local populations. EVs could improve the grid stability of cities by fostering the use of storage facilities that could benefit from the increased availability of efficient batteries. EV owners could also use their car battery to store power that could be used for their household requirements, reducing the pressure on the local supply chain. In the future, there could also be a decentralised transaction system, were excess energy could be sold back to the grid. Today, businesses and governments are turning to EVs for their transportation needs, reducing their dependency on foreign oils. Many international organisations have encouraged the adoption of electric vehicles, citing that this would lead to environmental sustainability. This would also boost economies across the globe as electrification of major transports would boost the electric and electrical sector as well as R&D, along with boosting the renewable energy sector.

Electric Vehicles can be beneficial to individuals, communities, countries, and the world. With further technological developments, innovative energy storage technologies and charging infrastructures, EV manufacturers and OEMs could attract even larger crowds. Travellers will get the peace of mind that they need while exploring the new and the confidence that their choices are not compromising the future of the next generation, and we, at Marelli, want to be an active part of this evolution.

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