A look at the political goal of no longer permitting combustion engines from 2030 reveals: Renewable energies, energy storage systems and e‑mobility remain key to sustainability and an environmentally friendly energy system. Where are we right now and what trends are emerging for 2022 with regard to battery-powered mobility?
1. battery-electric drive remains the leader
Professor Dr. Maximilian Fichtner, chemist and director at the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU), presented scientific studies during a lecture at the Mobility of the Future 2021 congress that clearly prove that the battery-electric drive continues to hold its own as the most efficient form of propulsion. In attempts to use hydrogen as a form of propulsion, for example, it is found that most of the energy gets caught in the technology chain and around 80 % of the efficiency is lost. In the case of the battery-electric drive, this is a maximum of 30% of the energy expended, which distinguishes this form of drive. A safe forecast for the future is that the battery-electric drive will become cheaper, even safer and more sustainable in the future and thus remain the drive type of the near future.
2.image change for the battery
The battery in particular, the heart of electric cars but also the core of many discussions, generated a lot of debate for a long time due to its manufacturing process. However, the negative image of the battery is deceptive: even today, the market is pushing for increasingly high sustainability standards in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Recycling and closed value chains are also becoming increasingly relevant criteria for battery cell manufacturers and OEMs. In 2022, an initial draft from the EU should also lay the foundations for the battery passport that will follow later, with which binding specifications and standards will come and which should make the social, ecological and economic properties of the batteries transparent.
But that’s not all: There is a lot going on in the field of battery research and production. In the near future, batteries could be manufactured differently than they have been to date, using less harmful raw materials that are available in large quantities. There are initial attempts by various manufacturers to produce batteries without lithium and instead with sodium. In addition to the benefits of immense cost reduction and ensuring raw material availability, sodium also helps to increase sustainability. Certainly, this new manufacturing vision of batteries still needs time to mature, but the foundation for an even better future has already been laid.
3. circular instead of linear use
Breathing a second life into a battery expands its value chain enormously. This is where battery analytics is pioneering. This is because the software can be used to determine and also forecast the wear and aging process for each type of battery under certain types of use. Even complex battery systems can become more efficient, sustainable and reliable, as the evaluations significantly promote longer-lasting use and reuse in a subsequent other application. With information on the “state of health” of the battery, a “second life” of batteries is made possible in the first place and implementation is significantly simplified without compromising safety during operation.
My conclusion: we need a major rethink when it comes to batteries and battery analytics. In addition to their first use, their second-life cycle must be increasingly focused on. To do this, it is essential to look inside the battery. If we take to heart all the findings relating to the battery and the battery-electric drive, we can take off into an even greener future.
If you want to learn more about sustainable technologies, software and e‑mobility, you are cordially invited to the battery software conference TWAICE Vision on February 10, 2022!
The author: Dr. Matthias Simolka works as Technical Solution Engineer at TWAICE. In this function, he forms the bridge between sales, product and technology. In doing so, he works with all teams to ensure that the maximum value and optimal solution is delivered to battery customers. TWAICE supports companies in all industries with predictive battery analysis software based on digital twins.