Creating growth opportunities for material manufacturers

23rd July 2018
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Creating growth opportunities for material manufacturers

In the recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Material Technologies Shaping the Future of Electric Vehicles (EV), the material technologies used in EVs is discussed by analysing recent global and regional trends. It found that electric vehicle manufacturers are looking at materials as a lever of growth for EV adoption. 

Specifically, these manufacturers are embracing lightweighting of the core machinery required to keep the vehicle running. Both battery manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are adopting direct and indirect lightweighting strategies that will help achieve smaller, lighter, and more powerful electric drive mechanisms. Materials manufacturers should take advantage of the growing demand for materials with specific properties that aid lightweighting while ensuring durability and safety.

The study contains a list of key innovators and inventions that could transform the EV landscape, along with patent filing trends.

Isaac Premsingh, Industry Analyst, TechVision, stated: "The transition from internal combustion engines (ICEs) to electric drivetrain increases the total kerb weight of the vehicle as battery packs are up to three times heavier than an ICE engine. This weight issue stemming from the battery pack has given rise to new weight reduction targets for other subsystems.”

EV manufacturers are driving demand for any material that can reduce the weight of their cars. Currently, the powertrain of a full-battery EV with a 35.8kWh battery pack and 100kW electric motor is nearly 125% heavier than a standard ICE vehicle powertrain. To make alternative powertrain technologies economical and practically competent with ICE performance, OEMs and battery manufacturers are exploring the following areas of opportunity:

  • Rare-earth-free Mg-Alloys with improved processability and heat stability.
  • All-aluminum body to enable battery downsizing without compromising on range.
  • Advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) grades to improve crash resistance with weight savings.
  • Battery technologies to close the gap between theoretical and practical gravimetric energy densities, especially for lithium-air.
  • Solid-state polymer electrolytes to improve ionic conductivity at ambient temperatures using biodegradable variants.
  • Focus on material recyclability for battery components.

Premsingh added: "Polymer composite manufacturers have realised the need to transition from being a supplier of niche products to being a product development partner to expedite the shift toward sustainable mobility. The consequent surge in strategic partnerships and joint ventures has enabled the vertical integration of the value chain, particularly for high-volume automotive components, battery electrodes, and electrolytes."

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