Image: © HSSMI
Future Powertrain Conference (FPC2020) is a two-day UK event which brings together industry and academic experts in the field of powertrain development. Presentations and discussions are held on the solutions to challenges faced by the engineering industry in the UK and internationally over the next ten years. With over 50 presenters and more than 200 companies attending, this event is seen as key to helping strengthen the UK engineering community and to meeting future challenges. This year the conference took place on 4th and 5th March, at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull.
For the past five years, HSSMI has been exploring opportunities to facilitate the end-of-life recovery of traction batteries, electric motors and drives. This has been particularly crucial in light of the increasingly electrified world around us. Electric vehicle demand is expected to rise by 23% annually until 2030, with over 200 million EVs expected on our roads by the end of the decade. Manufacturers need to find ways to cope with the changing market conditions and HSSMI is perfectly positioned to help them in this transition. At this year’s FPC2020, HSSMI experts showcased their most recent work in these areas with a stand dedicated to three of HSSMI’s ongoing research projects – E:PriME, VALUABLE, and Perseus.
E:PriME looks to understand and improve the knowledge of electrified powertrain manufacture in the UK. E:PriME has identified optimal ways of repurposing existing production lines, which currently produce internal combustion engines, for the production of electric drives.
Meanwhile, Perseus has leveraged HSSMI’s expertise in advanced, dynamic simulation to look at electric drive unit production through a virtual reality before costly investments are made. Perseus will deliver manufacturing flexibility at a time when the exact speed of the transition to electric motors remains uncertain.
VALUABLE takes a different perspective and looks at the batteries powering electric powertrains and how they could be given a second life, all the while keeping in mind the bigger picture of creating a circular supply chain for batteries in the UK. The project has accumulated knowledge from the industry through its Industrial Advisory Board. VALUABLE project lead Alberto Minguela (HSSMI) discussed some of the insights from the Board’s discussions in his presentation entitled “A Circular Supply Chain for EV Powertrains in the UK”. The full presentation can be viewed below.
By attending the conference, HSSMI also sought to gain knowledge on the latest technology and trends in powertrain development, thus supporting our engineers to further develop their expertise. In attending some of the conference sessions, we learned that:
– UK manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce the reliance on raw materials and rare earths from unstable global regions. Various manufacturers are already developing magnet-free electric motors
– Hydrogen technologies will become increasingly more important in the coming years, but more attention needs to be paid to how hydrogen is being produced and how clean that process is. Renewable energies will be key for this.
– Electric vehicle charging will significantly affect the electrical grid. A lot of research is underway to avoid overloading the electric network. The national grid in the UK is focusing on the development of a smart and flexible future grid capacity, to accommodate the changing landscape.
– Off-road vehicles have big potential for hydrogen applications.