Emerging Trends Expected in the EV Sector for 2022

Electric vehicles are likely to outcompete the traditional ICE vehicles by 2030. Considering that, expect more new electric cars to be launched in 2023, taking the EV share in the global auto industry higher than 2022.

April 06, 2022. By News Bureau

The year 2022 would witness a greater penetration of electrification, self-driving technology, new inventions of Hydrogen fuel cell technology, Smart Charging, advanced new-age technology, great thermal management technology in Cell to pack design in the new-generation electric vehicles.

In the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent effects have changed the face of the mobility industry, gradually shaping up the automobile industry’s operations and products. In the year 2022, many other changes are expected to shape the automotive industry.

1). More EVs on the road
EV companies like Tesla, Ola, and a few other PV Manufacturers like Tata have proven that electric vehicles can replace traditional fossil fuel vehicles in the coming decades. Other factors like rising fuel prices, reducing battery prices, narrowing the gap between the upfront cost of EVs and ICE vehicles, tightening emission norms, low cost of ownership for zero-emission vehicles compared to their ICE counterparts, growing general awareness regarding environmental issues are aiding the sales growth of electric vehicles.

Besides the dedicated electric vehicle startups, all the legacy players are also launching their EV offensive with a wide range of e-cars. Electric vehicles are likely to outcompete the traditional ICE vehicles by 2030. Considering that, expect more new electric cars to be launched in 2023, taking the EV share in the global auto industry higher than 2022.

2). Autonomous cars to see growth
If electric cars are to see a significant surge in 2022, the autonomous vehicle segment would have to witness significant changes in the industry. Self-driving technology is finding growing importance and footprint in the auto industry. Several legacy auto manufacturers, mobility startups, and tech companies are working on self-driving technology. Expect massive improvements in this space and several autonomous vehicles to come into the market in 2022.

This would bring the auto manufacturers and technology companies much closer as both sides would like to work together to develop futuristic technologies, more software features, and upgrade operating systems. With the growing demand for self-driving vehicles, the latest technologies must be offered in the new generation of vehicles to appeal to the younger demographic.

3). Increased Bets on Heavy-Duty Fuel Cell Vehicles
Hydrogen fuel cells have low prospects in cars due to high cost, expensive hydrogen refueling infrastructure which has ‘not manifested itself,’ high hydrogen fuel prices, and questionable emissions reductions if green hydrogen is not used. This was reflected as Honda crashed out of the fuel cell car market in 2021.

However, the range and refueling advantage for fuel cell electric vehicles means that heavy-duty applications, such as long-haul trucking or high mileage bus operations, have long offered a potential use for the technology, and progress was built in 2021.

Hyundai is currently conducting commercial trials in Switzerland with a fleet of 46 FCEV trucks, with plans to increase this to 1,600 trucks by 2025. They have also announced FCEV truck projects in the US and orders for 4,000 FCEV trucks in China.

Furthermore, there is also uptake for FCEVs in the bus market, with more than 150 fuel cell buses operating in Europe, 65 in the US, and more than 3000 in China. A growing order book for FCEV buses suggests demand is increasing, at least to a pilot-scale level of testing.

4). Smart charging
The idea behind smart charging is simple: unlike conventional (or ‘unintelligent’) chargers, smart chargers can communicate with each other, your car, and the grid to provide better costs and energy consumption.

Smart charging also promotes better use of energy. Electric vehicles are designed to be charged over time and don’t always have to be charged instantly or rapidly because drivers don’t always need a full battery. Depending on how much energy the car needs, charges can be scheduled to go up to only 80% once a week, which also helps prolong the life of the battery.

5). Advancement in Technology
With the rapid technological advancements, we’re seeing a development that has never been charted before. Companies are now providing real-time data mapping, and automotive giants aim to include this feature in their vehicles themselves.

From battery health to mapping nearby charging stations, engine selfchecks- the new technology is unprecedented and unique in a way that attracts consumers. We’ve already seen improvements in the range EVs can travel between battery charges, yet continued advancements in battery technology are critical to overcoming range anxiety.

Make in India, which seemed like a farfetched dream, is a reality today for the mobility industry in India. While India depends on imports from other nations, the country is slowly moving towards making in India.

6). Thermal Management in Cell-toPack Designs
A critical trend that could impact material suppliers is the adoption of cellto-pack technology. BYD has its Blade battery on the road, and we have now seen announcements from many automakers, including Tesla, VW, and Stellantis, with plans to adopt cell-topack technology in the coming years. Cell-to-pack removes the modules and stacks all cells together into one large pack. This improves energy density, manufacturing complexity, and costs. However, it creates challenges around fire protection and transforms the thermal material requirements compared to a traditional modular battery pack. In a typical modular battery pack, the cells sit in a module with a thermal interface material (TIM), generally in the form of a dispensable gap filler. Another TIM is then used to contact the module and the cooling plate. In cellto-pack, the cells can be directly connected to the cold plate. This reduces the number of thermal interfaces, and hence a lower thermal conductivity TIM can be used. However, there is now a need for increased adhesion strength. The transition from modular batteries to cell-to-pack is also from thermal gap fillers to thermally conductive adhesives.

When it comes to fire protection, the modules can be insulated and protected in a modular system. It becomes more challenging to limit thermal runaway propagation across the battery with cell-to-pack. This presents more opportunities for propagation prevention materials between cells and greater protection levels for the pack enclosure, inside and out. With little enforced regulation specific to thermal runaway, there remains a variety of suitable solutions such as powder coatings, intumescent coatings, ceramic materials, and aerogels.

Road ahead
Looking at the road ahead, India aspires to reach its vision of 100% Electric Vehicles by 2030. However, there is still a long way to go. The entire EV ecosystem in India seems to have gained momentum and is ready to be a noteworthy contender in the global EV race.

India’s progress on electric mobility has been commendable, but the transition would undoubtedly occur at a steady pace. India is racing at warpspeed to be the hub of battery manufacturing, and an all-EV environment is definitely on course. What is essential is that the right path has been laid, and the shift has started to happen.

- Mehul Shah, VP Transportation BU, Nexcharge
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