How EVs can usher in the next mobile phone moment in the world?
Mobile phones have changed the world forever, not only in the way we communicate but also in the way we live; from being a health tracker during the pandemic to being our wallet for paying bills. It started as a humble wire-free communication tool but now ended up being a ubiquitous device without which life is impossible to imagine.
EVs have similar potential, to transform the way we live and breathe. Electric vehicles are not just about the auto industry's transition from Internal combustion engine to electric drive, it's about the world's conscience of going green and taking the responsibility to clean up the planet. Hence this transition is set to accelerate the pace of innovation across many other facets of life. In this article, we will discuss some of them,
Airline & shipping industry
1. Power Industry 🏭⚡
As we all know Power industry is one of the biggest pollutants in the world. Electricity produced from fossil fuels like coal and gas is responsible for 10 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution in the globe. Even today close to 63% of world electricity demand is being met through fossil fuels. The power industry has been very slow to change to renewables, EVs are now accelerating this transition to green energy sources.
Power being a utility, it doesn't catch the imagination of a regular consumer. But EVs come with lot of emotions and passion and hence anything associated with Electric vehicle industry gets multiple times more attention than the power industry. EVs powered by thermal power plants drew huge criticism which is now pushing the power industry to act. This attention is driving the transformation of the power industry to renewables globally.
In addition to this, used EV batteries in their second life can be used to store electricity produced from renewable sources in a cost-effective way. This would further help the cause of renewables. Industry experts say the "grid will see more changes over the next ten years than it has in the prior 100.” Such is the power of the Electric vehicle revolution.
2. Airline and Shipping Industry 🏭 🛳️ 🛫
The advancements in electric vehicle technology are helping both the Airline industry and the Shipping industry to go electric. Particularly the technology innovations in the area of Battery Chemistry, Electric motor, High voltage circuits, Power electronics, etc. have already made it appealing for the Airline and Shipping industry to follow suit.
Like cars, availability of space and allowable weight in an airline is at a premium, hence all the breakthroughs in energy density of EV battery, efficiency improvement on the electric drive, and weight reduction on HV cables and power electronics would accelerate the EV penetration in Airline industry.
Even though electric planes were invented as early as the 1970s they never took off, mainly because of the lack of energy-dense batteries at that time. Planes require very high energy-dense batteries, close to 800 watt-hours per kilogram. Battery electric vehicles spurred the investment & innovation in Battery technology which has helped improve the energy density of the battery by 3 times in the last 10 years. This pace if continued will bridge the gap paving the way for electric-powered aircraft
Shipping industry remains the top polluters in the world, 15 largest container ships alone emit more nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide pollutants than all the cars in the world combined. With more than 50,000 cargo ships in the world, you can imagine the scale of damage they create.
The challenge in the shipping industry going electric is that the conventional lithium-ion batteries pose safety risks, called thermal runaway. Li-ion uses liquid electrolytes to carry lithium ions between electrodes and if any of the components in a battery degrade it can cause the cell to rapidly heat up and fail, a process known as thermal runaway. This heat can lead to a cascade of failures in nearby batteries. If these batteries release their chemicals as they fail, all it takes is one battery to catch on fire and cause a large explosion. That would be bad anywhere, but it’s particularly bad at sea where there are millions of dollars of cargo on the line and limited escape routes for crew.
The solution for this is Solid-state batteries which are being explored as the next-generation option for Electric vehicles. Again the solution which is being developed for EVs can be effectively deployed in other industries, in this case, shipping, to go green.
3. Cold Storage 🏬 🏪
Even as India is the world's largest producer of milk and the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables, about 40 to 50 percent of the total output, worth USD 440 billion goes waste because of a shortage of cold storage facilities, according to a study.
India currently has around 8500 cold storage facilities which can store close to 380 lakh MT of perishable fruits and vegetables, but that's not enough. One of the major challenges in the Indian cold chain industry is the shortage of consistent power supply, the cold chain companies have to invest separately in the power backup as well. This makes the cold chain operation unviable and hence does not attract fresh investments.
EVs can change the viability equation here, batteries at the end of their primary life on vehicles still have an 80% state of charge, this, when harnessed effectively, can serve as a cost-effective power backup solution for Cold storage facilities.
4. City commute 🏙️ 🚙 🚴🏻♀️
Uber's and Ola's have transformed the way we commute in cities. Electric vehicle technology has the power to take it to the next level. EVs can usher in the era of Autonomous vehicles and Flying cars.
Can you imagine summoning a driverless car at your doorstep for pick up or walking down to a city AirPod where you can hop on to a flying car and travel from one end of the city to other in few minutes? All of which is now possible with the EV revolution.
Driverless Transport: EVs would speed up the driverless capabilities of vehicles. Autonomous driving requires Steer-by-wire, Brake-by-wire, and Drive-by-wire capabilities. All of these features can easily be enabled in an electric vehicle than an ICE car. Plus the ability to precisely control the working of an EV makes it an ideal platform to build driverless technology capabilities
Flying cars: Another significant innovation that has not taken off for years is now expected to get a fresh lease of life with Electric vehicles. We all have heard of flying cars several decades ago but it has still not become a reality. With EVs that's set to change, the great progress being made on electric motors and the energy density of batteries can now make flying cars a reality
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Team "EV Quotient"
(EV Quotient is a platform to discuss and learn about electric vehicles. It’s an initiative by a team of experienced Automotive professionals with Global Exposure)