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11-05-2022 | Drivetrain | News | Article

How do future powertrains and energy systems interact?

Authors: Christiane Köllner, Sven Eisenkraemer

12 min reading time

Editor's note: This article is an automated translation. You can find the original text in German here

ATZlive hosted the 2022 International Congress Powertrains and Energy Systems of Tomorrow as a hybrid event. Here you can read selected contents in our summary article.  

The ATZlive congress Powertrains and Energy Systems of Tomorrow by Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden took place as a hybrid event on May 10 and 11, 2022 - in Berlin and with a parallel livestream. In order to provide the more than 130 participants with space for an interdisciplinary dialog, the formerly independent conferences "The Drive of Tomorrow" and "Grid Integration + Electrified Mobility" will be held in a joint congress starting this year. The focus of the new congress "Powertrains and Energy Systems of Tomorrow" is on topics that describe the transformation in vehicle powertrains as well as the technological solutions in the associated infrastructure, right through to the provision of primary energy. The Wiesbaden-based online team of Springer Professional has bundled selected content from this year's event in a ticker for you to read.

Day 2

Making supply chains more resilient

In her presentation Resilient Supply Chains and Robust Strategies for the Transformation of the Automotive Industry, Sylvia Stieler, Project Associate in the Automotive Project Team, IMU Institut GmbH, examines how supply chains in the German automotive industry are changing against the backdrop of short-term disruptions (using the Covid 19 pandemic as an example) and long-term changes resulting from the shift to electromobility, and how global supply chains can be made more resilient in the future. Automotive companies would also need to adapt to changes in supply chains because of the war in Ukraine. She shed light on the international linkages of the automotive industry with a focus on Baden-Württemberg. Short-term approaches, she said, include systematic monitoring and evaluation of the situation and close consultation with suppliers to secure the supply chain. Medium- to long-term approaches, according to Stieler, include the creation of redundancies, a more flexible internal work organization, the use of digital technologies and the formulation of a dedicated resilience strategy. 

As one example, Stieler highlights a study by the IMU Institute on how value creation strategies and networks are shifting as a result of the shift from internal combustion engines to battery electric vehicles. She looks at the difference in the value chain between the VW Golf VIII and the VW ID.3. While 60 % of the components for the Golf aud on the MQB platform are still supplied from Germany, the figure for the ID.3 is only 27 % (EU: 76 % vs. 36 %). Asia's share of the supply chain is therefore rising from 13% to 33%. However, the OEM value-added share of the powertrain is also rising by ten percentage points. (chk/sve)

Comparison of CO2 emissions in the overall LCA of vehicles

In the presentation CO2-optimized development for a sustainable product life cycle, Martin Rothbart, Senior Product Manager Energy & Sustainability at AVL, looks at the overall CO2 balances of the three powertrain concepts hybrid vehicles (with e-fuels and bio-fuels), battery electric vehicles and H2 fuel cell vehicles on the way to the goal of completely CO2-neutral mobility. "We with mobility have the opportunity to impact other sectors. We have an impact on many areas of the overall system," Rothbart says. The conclusion: the various powertrain concepts were all in a similar range in the life cycle analysis but with an advantage for battery electric vehicles. In a life cycle in which a passenger car covers 180,000 km, a BEV (with renewable or nuclear electricity) emits a total of 21 t of CO2 (of which 12 t during production, 9 t during use), an efficient HEV with e-fuels or bio-fuels about 31 t (7 t production, 24 t use), and a fuel cell vehicle about 32 t (12 t / 20 t). A mix of different technologies will be needed, he said, even though it seems that in Germany and Europe the train for technology openness has rather sailed due to political decisions. "But that is not true for the global view," Rothbart says. (sve)

Bidirectional charging: What do users want?

Franziska Kellerer, Project Manager, Institute CENTOURIS, University of Passau, and Johanna Zimmermann, Research Associate, Chair of Marketing and Innovation, University of Passau, devote their presentation Incentives and Levers for Sustainable Customer Loyalty in the Context of Bidirectional Charging to the question of how to persuade people to purchase and continuously use bidirectional charging. Kellerer and Zimmermann investigated what preferences users have in terms of the design of the bidirectional store business model as well as the design of gamified app feedback mechanisms to ensure long-term loyalty. "The benefits of the technology can be realized if it is used continuously," Kellerer said. The results of a large-scale survey showed that financial aspects (i.e., preferred contractor, type of compensation, willingness to make an initial investment in the technology) were an important factor in user engagement with bidirectional charging, he said. For example, in terms of business model design, respondents preferred to be able to choose between different suppliers for specific components needed for the system. The willingness to invest was significantly higher among existing users of electromobility in particular than among people who do not yet own an e-vehicle. In the long term, however, the non-financial motivation of users would also have to be taken into account. For e-mobility-experienced customers in particular, for example, the increased integration of renewable energies as well as the improvement of grid stability and social factors are further relevant drivers for the use of bidirectional charging. (chk/sve) 

Possibilities to store 330 TWh for Germany's energy reserve

Matthias Böger, Development Engineer Drive Calculation at Porsche Engineering Services GmbH, addresses options for securing the energy supply, among other things, in his presentation The energy transition in Germany: CO2 neutrality in the area of tension between energy demand and energy supply. Böger addresses various studies that describe different renewable energy expansion scenarios and highlight potentials. Using the example of offshore wind energy, for which studies hold out the prospect of a twelvefold increase in today's capacity, Böger shows that the planned expansion areas for Germany are more likely to allow only five times today's capacity instead of twelve times. "So the studies are very ambitious." 
In winter, he says, Germany needs twice the amount of energy for heating than in summer. If one wanted to keep a sensible or even necessary energy storage for three winter months in Germany, a capacity of 330 TWh would be needed. Böger shows what huge amounts of storage options would be required for this. Holding 6.7 billion batteries with 55 kWh or 9,100 pumped-storage power plants would be just as impossible as operating 3,100 underground hydrogen caverns. Only synthetic chemical energy sources could hold such a storage volume, most likely with large cylindrical tanks in which synthesized ethanol is stored. Assuming a 50% conversion efficiency, 4,500 tanks measuring 40 m in diameter and 20 m high would be needed across Germany. 
"If we want to achieve the goals of defossilization, we have to save energy, massively expand renewables, ensure the import of renewable energy, and expand the infrastructure." He said this includes improving acceptance that wind turbines are also built closer to towns or power lines. This would also require creating a legal framework. "But in the orders of magnitude that we need for supply and security in Germany, only synthetic chemical energy sources come into question in my view." (sve)

Day 1

Panel discussion and keynote speech on the energy and mobility transition

The highlight of the first day of the congress, after the awards ceremony, was then the panel discussion entitled "Does the penny drop - intelligent energy policy or a dead end?" By way of introduction, Matthias Kratsch (Chairman of the Board of IAV GmbH) gave a keynote speech on various perspectives on whether engineers could always provide the right answers to the questions of this time. On the possibilities of achieving a climate-neutral energy supply for mobility as well, he said the guiding principle: "We either save the climate globally or not at all." In his view, in addition to using energy production where it is most efficient, a hydrogen infrastructure is needed to use H2 and its derivatives for power plants, industry and vehicles worldwide to massively reduce CO2 emissions until we arrive at a completely regenerative phase of global energy production. "We need to use energy sources with as few transformations as possible, and we should find smart solutions for the next two to three decades to avoid losses in transformations." The questions about this have not yet been answered globally, he said.  

The panel discussion, moderated by ATZ|MTZ Editor-in-Chief Dr. Alexander Heintzel and IAV Head of Communications Ivo Banek, then focused on overall systems thinking in the future consideration of energy carriers and locomotion. A much closer understanding is needed in and with politics, Kratsch (IAV) added to his keynote speech.

Dr. Katrin Goldammer (Managing Director of the Reiner Lemoine Institute) argued that politics in Germany has lagged too far behind the necessary energy turnaround over the past ten to 15 years. "For Germany, the future is clearly green power, even though more could have happened in the past years. There was a bit of a lack of motivation to approach the topic," Goldammer said. The transformation of energy production was an intrinsic task of the federal government, "but it was easy to hand it over to the federal states and let it trickle between your fingers," Goldammer teased in the direction of the previous governing coalitions. Now, however, he said, things are on a better track overall.

Goldammer also said he is not worried much about having enough electricity and about providing electricity also for a charging infrastructure for increasingly more battery-electric mobility. "It's true that we haven't given enough consideration to the direct electrification of sectors. But that's really been taking place for the last six months now." Only for larger amounts of imported green power are we not prepared in this country, Goldammer said. "In grid expansion, we have not achieved what would be necessary and was formulated as a plan almost 10 years ago. That's not news. But in medium- and low-voltage, we are now picking up where we left off. At the levels, we are very well prepared, as my talks with grid operators show. But for renewables, coming from Norway, for example, we are not prepared." There is still a lot to do here, he said, and Germany needs to implement its own expansion of renewables in time to have enough energy available. "If that works, I'm not too worried that we won't be able to provide the power as well, for example at HPC charging hubs."

However, he said, synthetic fuels and hydrogen will absolutely be needed to make the energy and transportation transition work. H2 is needed "especially in the chemical industry to reduce CO2 emissions in that sector," said Dr. Katherine Ayers (vice president of research and development at Nel Hydrogen, USA). However, she does not see converting the majority of mobility, including heavy-duty transport, to hydrogen systems as the solution. "We're going to be dealing with large truck fleets for quite some time. This is where we need synthetic fuels. We need to start converting now to then have enough time in the meantime to work on future technologies," Ayers said, reinforcing the discussion about the existing fleet.

According to Otmar Bitsche (head of electromobility at Porsche), it takes about 17 years to replace an existing fleet. It would not be possible to wait that long to massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the mobility sector. That's why Porsche is so actively involved in the development and expansion of e-fuels, he said. "Every gram of CO2 we save is a good gram," Bitsche said. However, he also defended the main focus of OEMs on sometimes only one future drive solution. Porsche, the VW Group as a whole and also other manufacturers are known to be clearly focusing on a BEV strategy in perspective. "This has to be the case in order to make the massive investments in new platforms down to the supply chain refinanceable," Bitsche affirmed. Kratsch said, "For drive developers, the many technologies are a huge playground. It's a great time for engineers right now. Can this be managed in terms of costs? Certainly not for OEMs. We already have to focus economically." This also includes, for example, the question of the direction in which one is transforming one's personnel. "The question has not yet been answered as to what we should focus on."

In a related discussion about the efficiency of various systems, IAV CEO Kratsch said, "The efficiency of the energy system plays a much bigger role than we see optimization in the drive system. For us, it's more important to think in terms of larger systems." And with this, he met with agreement above all on the podium and in the audience. Bitsche clearly supported this, saying, "We have to link this with the energy networks and bring the industries together. This is also a cultural issue." Ayers interjected, "Efficiency is important, but at the end of the day, it's always about economics: Total cost of ownership matters to customers."

Kratsch summarized, "We have to consistently defossilize. It's not up to our generations to use up all the resources within 200 years that have formed on Earth over billions of years." To do that, he said, we need to consistently follow the path of BEVs and provide existing fleets "absolutely and quickly with fuels that sequester CO2." The alternative would be the critical path of significantly reducing the number of vehicles. "Then we may go backwards a bit from our prosperity. And motivating people to do that is going to be difficult." (sve)

Further review of Day 1:

Compact in-wheel drive system for e-cars

Dr. Akeshi Takahashi, Manager Research and Development Group, Hitachi, in his keynote presentation Direct Drive System to Make In-Wheel Electric Vehicles Closer to a Production Reality, will introduce a compact and lightweight in-wheel drive system for e-cars that combines the motor, inverter and brake in a single unit that fits into a 19" rim. The power density of the motor is said to be 2.5 kW/kg, with Takahashi citing 60 kW as the maximum output. In an all-wheel drive system with four motor units, this would correspond to a system output of 240 kW. The maximum torque is 960 Nm. The drive itself operates at 420 V voltage and can handle currents of up to 280 A. In addition, the implementation of a wheel drive would not require significant changes to the existing configuration of the suspension and other components. Drive shafts and other indirect mechanisms were eliminated, allowing motor power to be used directly to operate the vehicle. Overall, energy loss is said to be reduced by 30% compared with a conventional drive layout. (chk) 

Optimal battery sizing

In his keynote presentation How to Solve the Trade-off Between Vehicle Dynamics, Traveling Time, and CO2 Emissions, Otmar Bitsche, Head of Electromobility, Porsche, addressed the key CO2 contributors during the life cycle of a battery electric vehicle. For example, he said, the lifecycle analysis of the Porsche Taycan confirmed that the battery was responsible for about 40% of CO2 emissions during the vehicle's production. This finding had led to the question of the optimal battery size to meet customer needs and environmental goals. Taking into account the main factors of "CO2," "driving time," and "driving dynamics," he said, it is possible to limit battery capacity in combination with fast charging. (chk) 

Expansion of charging infrastructure in Europe

Alexander Krug, a partner at Arthur D. Little GmbH, emphasized in his presentation Expanding the Fast Charging Network in Europe - Challenges and Implications for Infrastructure and Energy Systems that fleets of cars and commercial vehicles with electric drives will multiply by 2030. Total energy demand for charging will rise to 126 TWh by 2030. Krug stresses, however, that there will be no blackouts due to electromobility. A real challenge, he says, is higher-power truck charging. In addition, he says, integrated infrastructure planning is needed, decentralized energy supply and storage, and smart charging technologies. Krug describes the following measures and strategies for a charging ecosystem. (chk)

Sustainability Award in Automotive

ATZ, MTZ and Arthur D. Little GmbH presented the Sustainability Award in Automotive during the ATZlive congress. Here you can find all information about the eight award winners in the three categories Mobility Concepts, Technology and Start-up (German language). (sve) 

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