Changes in the automotive industry mean that significant new electric/hybrid electric vehicles are being manufactured because of rising fuel prices and environmental issues relating to pollution.
Tail pipe emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from motor vehicles are a significant proportion of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Road transport emits about 25 per cent of Britain's total CO2, with passenger cars alone accounting for nearly half that figure - and car use is continually growing, all over the world. Britain alone now has a fleet of 27 million cars.
It is recognised globally that the internal combustion engine is a very big part of the climate change problem, and that transport will have to be "decarbonised" as part of the worldwide move to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
International competition for electric vehicles is intensifying as new manufacturing facilities are being opened in China, USA, Malaysia, and Europe.
The batteries in a battery electric vehicle (BEV) must be recharged periodically. BEVs most commonly charge from the national electricity grid, through a domestic plug point, a public charging point, or a bespoke commercial outlet.
Although charging time is limited by the capacity of the grid connection, BEVs are normally designed to be fully charged overnight. The infrastructure required to support electric/hybrid vehicles itself has many technical issues which require the development of low-cost, reliable solutions. TWI's expertise can assist companies in this area.
TWI has the expertise and be able to contribute to the following:
- Batteries/capacitors must be light and compact - Material evaluation
- Materials need to be readily available and easily used and sustainable - Joining/material science
- Easily disposed at the end of the vehicles life - Assembly/disassembly
- Able to evolve into many forms (vehicles to HGVs) - Design and modelling
- Help develop solutions to thermal issues - Coating technologies
- Provide high current without over heating - Novel joining and welding
- Will need to be adapted to upgrade - Low-energy joining techniques
- Be easily remove for repair or replacement - Assemble and disassemble
TWI has provided specific novel solutions for hybrid and electric vehicles by applying novel coatings to composites to enable them to be used as an electrical conductor, lightweight heat shields. Also low-resistance connectors for lithium ion/polymer battery cells reducing heat, enabling longer life and faster charge and discharge.
Customers have praised TWI's novel approach to specific problems on joining electrical connectors for brushless motors and lithium ion/polymer cells.
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