Electric Vehicles: a new world of possibilities
The industry expects that by the next decade at least half of new cars will be electric or hybrid vehicles
According to ANFAVEA (National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers) the sales of electric cars in Brazil grew by an impressive 257% in 2021, compared to the previous year. In 2020, the national market absorbed 801 units. But last year that number rose to 2860 electric vehicles! The number of license plates for hybrid cars has also increased. The percentage was lower, but significant: 69%. In 2021, there were 32,130 vehicle license plates with mixed technology. And that didn’t just happen in Brazil. China, the European Union and the United States lead the world market, with 90% of sales of electrified cars (electric and hybrid). In China, sales in 2021 reached 3.4 million units. In Europe, 2.3 million vehicles of this category were sold last year. In North America, 500,000 electrified units were sold, also in 2021. Worldwide, the increase was 50%!
This growth demonstrates the potential of a sector that tends to occupy a significant share of the market in a short time. The world’s 20 largest manufacturers aim to increase production of electrified cars to 20 million units by 2030. The industry expects that by the next decade at least half of new cars will be electric or hybrid vehicles. A scenario that is being created in part by virtue of legislation. In several European countries, from 2030, only cars with zero emission of pollutants will be able to run. And concern for the environment is justifiable. According to the UN, the number of severe weather events is expected to grow by 70% by 2100, putting the sight of 3 billion people around the world at risk due to global warming. That is why major automakers plan to invest at least 250 billion dollars to produce new electric vehicles during the second half of this decade, between 2025 and 2030. Volkswagen alone intends to launch 75 models with this energy matrix by 2029.
It’s not just about eco-friendly cars, it’s also about the technological appeal behind. Advances that until recently were considered science fiction. Testa leads this particular segment, but other automakers are reacting quickly. We are talking about autonomous vehicles. In other words, they run on their own. Automation is divided into levels, from 0 to 5. At 0, you command. According to an article published by the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo on June 10, 2021, such levels (from 1 to 5) can be described as follows:
“Level 1 incorporates adaptive cruise control (ACC), an electronic system that maintains a preset speed on the road, increasing driver safety. If the sensor detects that the vehicle in front is slower, the ACC automatically adjusts to prevent a possible collision.
Level 2, in addition to reprogramming the speed according to the car ahead, can swerve and even stop the vehicle. It accelerates or brakes evenly according to the car in front, but it is still the driver who is in charge of the car.
At level 3, the vehicle begins to ‘understand’ the surrounding environment, identifying the proximity of pedestrians, cyclists and animals. In it, cars can perform some operations with limitations, such as traveling along a road at a certain speed. It’s up to the driver to take charge if the car gets out of control, since it’s not set up for that kind of situation.
Human intervention is much less at level 4 autonomous driving. The vehicle does everything itself, but in delimited regions, such as in a specific neighborhood. Here, the ‘little robot’ that drives the vehicle can interpret the street signs.
Level 5 will allow the driver to be a mere passenger, occupying the time of the journey in a business meeting or using the computer. The car will be able to recognize the pothole in the street, read traffic signs and even pick up the owner at the office, just by programming the destination address on the cell phone. The car will not even need a steering wheel or pedals, which can be replaced by a voice assistant.”
Note that these near future versions will be fully connected to the internet. Such technology opens an endless horizon of possibilities for the business world, particularly in the Logistics sector. Autonomous vans making deliveries could become a reality in no time. But today, in 2022, what propulsion technology are we talking about exactly? According to an article published by BNDES and written by Luiz Felipe Hupsel Vaz, Daniel Chiari Barros and Bernardo Hauch Ribeiro de Castro, these are currently the types of electrified vehicles available on the market.
BEV – Battery Electric Vehicles – The most frequent type of purely electric model, in which the energy comes from the battery and the recharge is done by connecting to the electrical grid.
FCEV – Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles – Models whose battery charge is done by a fuel cell, normally hydrogen.
RPEV – Road Powered Electric Vehicles – This category includes trolleybuses – which, in principle, do not have batteries, being constantly connected to the electricity grid.
HEV – Hybrid Electric Vehicles – These are those that combine an internal combustion engine with one or more electric motors for propulsion. By combining the two types, the motors are smaller than in full configurations. Generally speaking, the higher the level of hybridization, the larger the electric motor, alternator and battery, and the smaller the combustion engine. HEVs do not have a structure for connection to the electrical grid. There is no cable or connector to recharge the battery directly. The charge comes from the combustion engine itself and from mechanisms such as regenerative braking, which recharge the battery. The user therefore needs to fill the vehicle with fuel.
PHEV – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle – Hybrid with a configuration similar to the HEV, but with the possibility of charging directly from the electrical grid. The difference lies in the electrical components (such as the engine, alternator and battery), which are even larger and allow for fully electric operation, as the battery can be recharged directly from the grid.
HEVs and PHEVs can be up to 40% more efficient than traditional internal combustion models, consequently emitting less gases.”
And what changes is this propulsion alternative bringing about and will it still bring about? Are several. Laws will have to be written to regulate the new devices. Supply structures will have to be created in millions of locations around the world. As the electric motor has fewer moving parts, millions of mechanics will have to relearn the craft and some will simply lose their jobs, as these equipments have a much longer lifespan. The estimated life of an electric bus is 30 years. And in a short time, only those who have knowledge in automation will stay in the business. Streets that are currently devalued due to noise will regain their residential value, as electric motors are quieter. In search of more efficient batteries, minerals such as niobium will be sought after and new materials will be used more frequently, as is already the case with graphene. Such batteries will be able to store energy and car owners will be able to trade the excess electricity with the operating system. Oh! While working, car owners will be able to rent their car to run races through apps (without the presence of a driver, since the vehicle will be autonomous).
This scenario will arrive sooner in more industrialized countries and with better road infrastructure. However, even in these places there are still some problems that must be overcome.
First, prices need to come down. Today electric cars are really expensive, depending on the automaker. In Brazil, the values ??range from 150 thousand to 500 thousand reais, approximately. The drop in prices should come first in hybrid models. With that in mind, many countries give tax incentives to those who buy vehicles with this new technology. When production increases, these vehicles should be priced more competitively.
The battery needs to be improved. Today most of them are made from lithium ions. Graphene batteries are now available and niobium has shown excellent results. Electric cars have a range that varies from 200 to 400 kilometers. Some models reach a thousand kilometers. The problem is when it’s time to refuel. It takes too long. From 3 to 12 hours, depending on the mains configuration. The most agile systems do this in 20 minutes. That’s why current owners use the car during the day and leave it charging at night.
For specialists heard by the State of São Paulo, in an article already mentioned, “the main bet for a solution to this issue is induction charging with the car in motion. The idea is that lanes in cities and highways allow battery regeneration while the car is driving over them. ‘Through copper wires, magnetic currents are installed under the asphalt, which are transformed into electrical energy’, explains Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi, who has been acting as a world ambassador for electrification. ‘The induction depends on the vehicle’s position in relation to the ground.’ Di Grassi believes that when the tracks that allow charging by induction are ready, the cars will have a system that lowers only the point that needs to receive electromagnetic current. According to the coordinator of the SAE electric and hybrid vehicle commission, Wanderlei Marinho, there are already several automakers studying induction charging in motion. ‘Also, there are companies solving the problem of energy losses from induction charging,’ he explains. Rogério Montagner, a specialist in mobility and electrification at Mercedes-Benz, points out the obstacles to the functioning of the system. ‘Today, a lot of energy is lost with induction. At 10 kW, the car only charges 4 kW or 5 kW,’ he says. There is also the issue of costs to set up the necessary infrastructure for the process. Therefore, Marinho believes that induction in motion should start in connected and smart cities, which have been studied and developed by several automakers and systemists. ‘The arrival of this technology in cities that already exist should take a long time’.”
Thinking about the charging speed of electric cars, homes may have outlets with industrial voltage, 380 volts. In addition, the number of electroposts needs to increase. Many automakers, such as Volvo and BMW, have charging points scattered throughout Brazil (which currently has approximately 800 refueling locations), as well as in other countries.
Of course, so much demand for electricity is expected to increase world demand by 8% by 2040. That’s just to supply electric cars. In numbers, it is the equivalent of 2.7 TWh. The information is from Angus McCrone and Michael Liebreich, both from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The search for renewable and clean sources, such as solar energy, wind and the movement of the seas, should increase considerably.
In fact, electrification should not be restricted to automobiles, but also be used by other means of transport. In China alone there are already 200 million electric bicycles. Vans with the same propulsion is a natural trend. Tesla and Mercedes Benz are already developing electric trucks. Ferries with the same technology can already be found. Finally, it is worth remembering that solar-powered planes already exist, in the form of prototypes.
In warehouses, in the Intralogistics sector, we already have electric vehicles. They are forklifts that perform very well in everyday life. We at Águia Sistemas hope you enjoyed the article. We are the best in the country in Intralogistics and we believe in new technologies overcoming everyday challenges. Talk to us.
(The text above was written using information from the websites epbr.com.br, seu Dinheiro.com, insideevs.uol.com.br, novacana.com, uol.com.br, bndes.gov.br, mobility.estadao.com .br and exam.com)