2.3 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
The transition from Petrol/Diesel and LPG powered vehicles to electric types and hydrogen powered is in progress. The world demand, from China to UK and Tokyo to New York is growing and includes new brands to established companies. Toyota has developed Hybrids on almost all of its Petrol/Diesel models during this transition. The scale of the industry is enormous with experts arguing for and against the performance, sustainability, ethical reasoning, costs and reliability of the technology for now and the future, providing logical answers to support or reject their arguments for success or failure. One in 12 cars sold across the European continent between April and June 2021 operated on batteries and sales of electric cars in Europe have risen from 198,000 in 2018 to 1.17m in 2021. Electric vehicles make up about 1 per cent of the global fleet of passenger cars. However global sales of EV’s are forecast to reach 10.7m by 2025 and then to 28.2m by 2030. It is expected that within four years, one quarter of new cars bought in China and almost 40 per cent of those purchased in Germany will be electric. Given the importance of auto manufacturing to many economies, the disruptive technology in the industry has enormous implications for jobs, urban development and geopolitics.
Electric vehicle technology is not new and in some cases the ethical and sustainability of its development is in question, as is the reliability on fossil fuels for transport systems. An opportunity to overhaul the design, mass and functionality of vehicles is lost in the drive to be first to market. For example, the petrol engine has approximately 2,000 moving parts while the electric vehicle (EV) has approximately 20.
Batteries store electricity produced typically by coal, uranium, natural gas, or diesel and more recently by PV panels, wind and marine current turbines. Therefore an EV is not a zero-emission vehicle. Rechargeable batteries are typically lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium and all are self-discharging. In addition to dry cell batteries, there are also wet cell types used in automobiles, boats, and motorcycles and most are recycled. EV batteries are bulky and heavy and contain large quantities of Lithium, Nickel, Manganese, Cobalt, Copper, Aluminium, steel, and polymers. Some contain up to 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells. Most of these materials comes from mining with poor controls and standards.
This paper raises some of the key issues in the development of the electric vehicle and presents some of the design issues for the drive systems, power requirements and distance performance of a range of vehicles on the market.
Kennedy, David, "Electric Vehicles: Design, Development and Growth Directions" (2022). Conference Papers. 82.
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