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27. February 2019 Lukáš Mácha

Electrification in Automotive Industry

In this blog I would like to shed some light on what is currently happening in the Great Britain in terms of electrifying transports for cities and what conversations this topic brings up. Everyone is certainly aware of the quickly growing trend of having an electric vehicle and electrifying means of transport for cities and metropoles. Electric vehicles do not burn any fossil fuel, drive quietly without disturbing the neighbours in the morning and give the feeling of using clear technology as a mean of transport.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend great seminar Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) hold in the atrium of the University of Salford and hosted by the Mayor of Manchester. Our Jaguar Land Rover Graduate Racing Team Driven (which by the way won the last year’s Greenpower Championship) was invited to present our work and set up a stand alongside the beautiful first fully electric vehicle Jaguar I-Pace brought down by Jaguar’s Williams dealership and people from the Greenpower organisation.

Although the purpose of the day was to show the possibility of electrifying the Transport for Greater Manchester, morning was full of presentations mostly focused on how different companies can help people and businesses clear the initial costs by providing financial grants when buying electric cars for the first time. Another topics covered were how the infrastructure needs to change in order to be able to handle the peak hours where everyone turns up to work and starts charging their vehicles or how to make sure there is enough charging stations so that no one comes to their car after a long day at work and does not have sufficient range to drive back home. The very last and for me most exciting presentation was an introduction of some of the electric vehicles available on the market, their range, costs, charging time and the type of electric powertrain.

Simply, there are currently three common types of vehicles that can be classed as electric or part=electric – these are Plug in Hybrid (PHEV), Mild Hybrid (MHEV) and fully electric. Whereas fully electric is only equipped with set of batteries and electric motor(s) PHEV and MHEV vehicles still have internal combustion engine alongside electric motor. The range of fully electric car can be anywhere from 100 – 300 miles (160 – 580Km) or so on single charge. PHEV’s range is very limited and usually only proves useful during short distance and urban travels – this could be anywhere from 15-40 Miles (20 – 40Km) and MHEV vehicles usually only use the electric propulsion for initial acceleration which reduces the fuel consumption and gives an additional trust when pulling out.

In all fairness, there is still lot to discover and improve in this particular application of electrification and if I was to describe changes required on the vehicles to accommodate electrified powertrains and necessary department restructures, I wouldn’t be able to keep the reads awake for very long.

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