We devote a significant chunk of this issue, in the Vehicles & Concepts section, on the top cars of 2020 and beyond, with a focus on vehicle autonomy and electrification.
On the automated-driving front, the budding industry has been changing rapidly. Frost & Sullivan, in its just-released Global Autonomous Driving (AD) Industry Outlook (http://frost.ly/3oj), says that 2018 was a year of technological advancements in the AD market, with a focus on shared mobility platforms, consolidation of electrical/electronic (E/E) architecture, and greater integration of AI in every aspect of AD. In 2019, the industry is witnessing significant progress in driverless technology, with developments in enhanced sensor solutions, SAE Level 2+ deployment, and tele-operations.
Developing and deploying Level 4 and 5 vehicles will take time, hence Level 2+ features are expected to be pushed by OEMs and their Tier 1 suppliers to add to the value proposition in the ADAS (advanced driving assistance system) market. By 2030, Frost & Sullivan believes that one in four cars sold (18 million) globally is expected to be automated (Level 3 and above), with Level 4 leading the growth.
Most experts agree that greater autonomy will go hand-in-hand with the push for vehicle electrification. Many of the latest EV developments focus on the instant torque delivery that provides consumer-pleasing performance—while trying to minimize the main range and charging disadvantages.
In IDTechEx’s latest Electric Vehicles 2020-2030 report (https://bit.ly/2YDd1Cj), one clear message is that voltages are rising, giving lighter-weight, smaller motors and interconnects greater efficiency, less heat, and faster charging. Some of the latest pure electric vehicle developments point to a 800-volt target, highlighted by Fisker’s Emotion, the planned Chevrolet Camaro electric race car, the Porsche Taycan, an Audi supercar prototype, and the Aston Martin Rapide E.
Faster charging is a key goal of the higher voltages. Ricardo is working with Fisker on a proprietary 800-V charger, 800-V battery pack, and e-axle powertrain. The wild card there is a solid-state battery to be launched at an undefined date that will be more suitable for high voltages and fastest charging while reducing fire risks. Meanwhile, a range of 200 km is promised within 9 minutes of charging. Dräxlmaier is starting series production of the 800-V battery system for the Taycan, with Porsche having begun installing 800-V electric charging stations at dealerships evidence of the Volkswagen Group applying its talent and money to leapfrog Tesla.
Back to reality, range anxiety continues to be the biggest barrier to the large-scale adoption of EVs. To alleviate range anxiety, the electric vehicle batteries will need to be safer, cheaper, have faster charging, and feature a high energy density for greater range. Continued advancements in cell technology will ease anxiety and will pave the way for an installed EV base of 100 million by 2028, according to ABI Research (see https://bit.ly/31KpmWU.)
Lithium-ion batteries are the current standard for EVs, yet they have short life cycles and can overheat. Development continues to progress, with solid-state and lithium-silicon technologies potentially being a real game changer, according to ABI. Numerous investments from OEMs have been made in solid-state and lithium-silicon technology companies, including QuantumScape, Solid Power, Enevate, and Sila Nanotechnologies.
The current approach of adding silicon in small incremental percentages is expected to enable energy density increases to 300 W·h/kg over the next 3-5 years. Between 2023 and 2025, developments will enable silicon-dominant anodes in batteries, ratcheting up energy densities to 400 W·h/kg by 2025. Most vehicles using this technology will likely have charging powers of 300 kW or greater. ABI believes that silicon-dominant anodes will be the primary solution until after 2026, when solid-state battery architectures will start to be deployed and reach commercialization, enabling energy densities of at least 500 W·h/kg and offer 500 kW+ charging power.
It is the addition of silicon over the next seven years that ABI says will grow the EV installed base from 8 million in 2019 to 40 million in 2025, as consumers’ range anxiety slowly eases.