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12-10-2018 | Electro Mobility | News | Article

Electric Mobility Comes out into the Open

Author: Andreas Burkert

3:30 min reading time

At the inaugural elect! ATZ Congress Electrified Mobility, a clear commitment to electric mobility has emerged. Both OEMs and suppliers have recognised the need to transform mobility and have showcased some fascinating developments in Stuttgart.

The People Mover is a fascinating early response to the issue of tomorrow’s mobility. This type of autonomous, all-electric car should have a lasting impact on mobility at least in the city – and within the next decade, explains Dr. Dirk Kesselgruber. As head of the Automotive-Chassis Systems Business Division at the Schaeffler Group, he presented the advantages of modular vehicle design at the conference. Just a few years ago, it would have been unheard of for a company specialising in combustion engine powertrains to hold such views. 

However, at the conference (held at Messe Stuttgart on 8/9 October 2018), during which experts from various sectors focused their presentations on electric mobility, it became clear that the automotive industry must now rethink all its processes. After all, many companies are now becoming nervous that a battery electric vehicle (BEV) has up to 90 percent fewer components than a conventional car with a combustion engine. This is another reason why Kesselgruber concedes that it is a challenge now for him to "start a congress on electric mobility as a chassis expert", but equally he realises that electric mobility is emerging.

The 30-40-30 scenario is transforming mobility

Given the low registration figures for BEVs at present, this development has had no visible impact yet on the turnover of OEMs and their suppliers. However, McKinsey's forecasts, which were presented to the auditorium by Associate Partner Patrick Schaufuss, show that the business model will change dramatically within a few years. According to Schaufuss, BEVs will achieve a market share of almost 30 percent in Europe by 2030 – figures that surprised no-one at the conference. Almost everyone agrees that electric mobility will have a major impact on individual transport in the near future.

Thomas Pfund from Schaeffler refers to a 30-40-30 scenario: he believes that by the end of the next decade only 30 percent of vehicles will still be powered by a combustion engine, 30 percent by pure electricity and 40 percent by a hybrid system. For Schaeffler, this is also an opportunity to market the 48 V drive. In Pfund's lecture on flexible integration concepts for electrified powertrains, he described in detail a hybrid module that permits the transmission of tremendous torques of up to 800 Nm in the smallest possible space.

More than 260 BEV models by 2024

What is even more impressive is the number of battery-powered models that will be launched by carmakers between 2019 and 2024. The consumer will then have more than 260 models to choose from. According to Professor Dr. Hans-Christian Reuss from the Research Institute of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart (FKFS), these models are key to achieving climate protection goals. "This will only succeed with the electrification of the powertrain", says Reuss, who opened the conference as scientific director together with Dr. Johannes Lieb, Editor-in-Charge ATZ, MTZ and ATZelektronik, and later led the two-day conference with Markus Schöttle, Deputy Editor-in-Chief ATZelektronik. 

To ensure that electric mobility functions emission-free not only locally, he believes that "the energy required must be met with renewable energies". All the attendees agreed, knowing that this is one of the main challenges, alongside the development of charging infrastructure. Benjamin Rinner, from Finnish company Fortum Charge & Drive, outlined the factors behind the successful operation of charging infrastructure in Norway and believes this could also be done in Germany in a short time. This also allowed the spotlight to be cast on this particular issue during the conference.

Germany's opportunities for energy storage

Supplying energy on board an electric vehicle is currently proving challenging for the entire automotive industry. Calls to have battery production in Germany, as well as Europe, are becoming ever louder but it is debatable whether this can succeed. Competition from Asia appears to be too powerful at present, while the investment required in the appropriate cell chemistry is both substantial and risky, explains Markus Hackmann, Managing Director of P3 Group. Yet Europe can still have a say in electrical energy storage because established battery cell producers are venturing into Europe.

The currently largest companies have established themselves in Europe, such as Northvolt in Sweden, LG Chem in Poland and Samsung SDI in Hungary. By 2028, Terra E also aims to generate around 28 GWh in Germany, and Erfurt-based CATL will launch with a capacity of 6 GWh. The recently-founded Chinese company does not aim to cede the market entirely to competitors Samsung and Panasonic, explains Matthias Zentgraf, Regional President Europe at CATL. Supplies of battery cells should therefore be secure for the expected growth in the electric car market.


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