In April, Experian Automotive revealed figures demonstrating that purchasers of pure EVs tend to be younger and more affluent than those buying hybrid cars, which suggests that the electric car is already fast becoming the vehicle of choice for the eco-aware generation that will determine the future of the market. Advances in battery technology (including not only increasing energy density, but extending the time between maintenance in aerospace applications, for example), EV driving range and a rapid expansion of charging infrastructure seem to have pushed the industry around a corner into a market that is looking increasingly mainstream. As a consequence, OEM executives, component manufacturers and research scientists are eagerly preparing to reap this harvest at the premier and most appropriate event of its kind in the USA, The Battery Show and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo (September 16 to 18, 2014, Novi, MI).
Last year EV sales doubled and continuing the trend, this year sees the doubling in size of Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo. Taking place (appropriately) during the USA's Drive Electric week the Show provides its usual mix of product launches, business opportunities, topical debate, networking and social interaction. What is more, the show is even bigger than last year's record-breaking event, with more exhibition space, workshops and conference presentations.
Among the exhibitors with innovative high-quality products on display is ePower. "The Battery Show/Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo will be our first public display of a Class 8 tractor conversion that replaces the conventional engine and transmission with an engine-dominant diesel-electric series hybrid drivetrain that offers a 40 to 60% improvement over the current trucking industry average of 6 mpg," says Executive Vice President, John Petersen.
Class 8 tractors consume over a 100 billion gallons of diesel a year, worldwide, generating a gigaton of C02. So, the ePower solution represents a major step forward in reduced-carbon freight transportation.
Inspired by diesel-electric locomotives, a 250 hp diesel engine powers a generator, which in turn, powers an electric drive motor. In addition, an on-board PbC battery provides short-duration boost for acceleration and hill climbing of up to 208 hp as compared with 154 to 172 hp level cruising.
Four years after the building of the first prototype in early 2010, fleet testing begins this year and the company is now ready to accept limited orders for field evaluation.
Meanwhile the EcoCAR 3 Kick-Off Workshop will take place in conjunction with the Expo from September 16 to 18. Approximately 150 students from the 16 EcoCAR 3 teams will attend to learn first steps in the program such as the rules, introduction to the VDP (vehicle Development Process), and VTS (Vehicle Technical Specifications) in order to get them ready to start to work on modeling their vehicle design.
EcoCAR 3 will display in booth #E631 at the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo and will feature a Chevy Camaro EcoCAR as well as the Wayne State University EcoCAR 2 vehicle that is a Chevy Malibu Parallel Through the Road Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle that also uses E85 (Ethanol).
A packed show and a full conference program
A major feature of the show is, as always, the conference. Michael Duhaime of Chrysler confided recently that mild hybrid technology is a key element in the company's strategy and that although pure EVs have a lesser role, they promise "significant market impact." He will be revealing more at the OEM outlook keynote session. Business models for transport, commercial vehicles, trucks and heavy hybrids will be the subjects of the presentation by Ford's Ted Miller, while John Gagge at Enersys will be speaking at the Energy Storage session about linking the storage industry with the users and suppliers within and ask where the industry is going and what solutions should be considered. Eaton's Mihai Dorobantu says he is passionate about vehicle electrification and the potential of the technology. He will be revealing the reasons for his optimism at the Automotive Outlook session.