Switching to EVs Triggers Burst of Innovation in Manufacturing

In a bid to reduce carbon emissions and conserve the environment, several developed countries have pledged to phase out internal combustion engines for electric vehicles over the next decades. Powered by clean renewable energy and emitting zero emissions at the tailpipe, electric vehicles (“EVs”) are the perfect vehicle for a net-zero economy. Like the internet in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, EVs have completely disrupted the automotive industry, forcing players across the supply chain to either adapt with the times or be left behind.

For instance, the emergence of EVs has seen a rise in the use of “skateboard” platforms, especially by EV-only manufacturers such as Tesla. Designed exclusively for EVs, the skateboard platform uses a low, flat battery as the underbelly of the car, and it can be easily adapted to different car models. Compact motors for the wheels are placed at the four corners while the brakes, drive control, drive-by-wire accelerators and steering are mounted on the platform. The result is much less bulky than a traditional internal combustion engine and transmission blocks, and has fewer moving parts as well.

Electric chargers, specifically turbochargers, have seen immense demand as the transition to electric vehicles begins. One benefit of traditional vehicles is that they can be quickly refueled, compared to EVs, which can take hours to fill up with juice. Turbochargers can fill up an EV in minutes, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. Hybrid vehicles are set to be the bridge between internal combustion engine vehicles, and EVs and turbochargers will allow for lower fuel consumption and reduced emission, especially as vehicle range increases.

Compared to EVs, internal combustion engine vehicles have plenty of moving parts, with the complex internal gearing being one of the most crucial. The gearing is used to optimize power and torque as the vehicle accelerates as well as to keep the engine running at peak efficiency within a wide range of engine speeds. A lot of energy is lost through all these processes in the form of heat, making ICE quite inefficient. EVs, on the other hand, have a relatively simple motor that consists of a central rotor connected to a single gear.

Drivetrain suppliers and original equipment manufacturers are currently using planetary gearing to develop multispeed transmission systems with greater range capabilities. Due to their light weight and compact designs, planetary gears increase battery use efficiency, leading to increased mileage. However, OEMs and drivetrain suppliers will have to find a way to cover up gear noise, vibrations and harshness as they can affect transmission performance.

Speaking of innovations in the electric vehicle industry, Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE), a global financial solutions company, will soon complete its merger with Mullen Technologies Inc., an EV company based in California. It will be interesting to see how the new entity performs in this rapidly evolving EV space.

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