CWIEME Chicago 2017: Day 2

Demand for electric vehicles is increasing along with the need for infrastructure to support them. New for this year, CWIEME Chicago's ‘EV TECH 24hrs' focused on the global drive for e-mobility; complimentary to the newly introduced HEV & EV Trail.

Electric motors' use in the automobile sector was all the rage during the second day of CWIEME Chicago. In fact, exhibitors' excitement over electric motor market growth was clear — especially regarding hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and electric vehicles (EV).

"We have been receiving an increasing volume of orders lately, which means there are many motors being built out there," said Fausto Rinaudo, sales and marketing director of CM-Torino, a manufacturer that produces customized electric motor parts for the automotive and home appliances sectors.
Data shared during the EV TECH session supported Rinaudo's observation.

"Between 30% and 45% of vehicle buyers in the U.S. and Germany said they'd consider an EV purchase today," said Patrick Schaufuss, engagement manager, automotive and assembly practice, McKinsey & Co., who presented an overview of the global EV market.

Schaufuss said customer demand is one of the four key drivers to the electrification of vehicles. The other key drivers include:
1. Macroeconomics — rollout of electric cars going forward is expected to increase 2% per year until 2030, mainly due to three drivers that favour EV rollouts: urbanization and pollution reduction; macroeconomic growth and increased willingness to pay for EVs; shared vehicles and fleets as a profitable sales channel for EVs for use-case based mobility.
2. Regulations and incentives — CO2 regulations are a key factor for EV penetration and trigger the shift to an EV dominated world.
3. Technology — battery price declines transform into increased range for EV; they have dropped from $1,000/kilowatt hour in 2010, to $250/kilowatt hour in 2016, depending on battery size.

"Total cost comparison for midsize vehicles suggests parity between internal combustion engines and battery electric vehicles by the early 2020s," Schaufuss said.

While EV penetration typically came from buyers of premium brands like Tesla or BMW, Schaufuss said the next wave of EV owners will have lower income than current EV buyers, which will put cost pressure on OEMs.

"In China, this is already happening where it's more mass-market budget cars that are driving the market and the average income of a person that buys an EV is almost lower than a person that buys a new gas-powered vehicle," Schaufuss said.

Global transformer outlook
Growing demand for EV also means increased pressure on power grids to meet EV charging needs. According to Saqib Saeed, principal analysts, transmission and distribution equipment at Power Technology Research, across the world India and China are still the largest markets. India has 292 GVA of new substation capacity while China is expected to have 30GW of wind and 60GW of solar by 2020, according to Saeed. Key global trends include:
• Increase in turnkey tenders in the years to come
• Blanket agreements spanning multiple years
• Increase in partnerships between EPCs and utilities
• Huge potential in HVDC market
• Transformer oil alternatives

In North America, the key market driver will be renewable capacity addition and replacement of coal-based plants, especially since the US infrastructure is aging. According to Saeed, more than 70% of power transformers in the US grid are more than 25 years old. Key trends in North America include:
• High pure-EPC involvement in turnkey projects
• Increase in asset health monitoring
• Digitalization of substations
• Backup reserves at utilities on industrial scale
• Physical protection of transformers
• Utilities investing in bushing monitoring solutions

In Europe, renewable additions and grid adaptions are the key market drivers while key trends include:
• Tier-1 players dominating the market
• Interconnected grids
• Germany to be the biggest market between 2017 - 2023
• Digitalization of substations
• Increase in asset health monitoring

2035 and beyond?
As vehicles and the power grid increasingly shift to meet consumer demand for electrification, what could the future look like in 2035? During a seminar on the momentum behind EV technology and where it's taking the energy storage world, Peter Littlewood, professor of physics at the University of Chicago and director emeritus at the Argonne National Laboratory, shared where electric batteries could be in 20 years and what that could mean for EV:

"We are in an industry where we seem to want to replace a car every five years," Littlewood said. "What if we thought we were going to have that car for 20 years and just get software updates?"

The key to reaching the future, however, will rely on developing new materials, collaborative programs, gaining support of the industry and enabling private investment.

"We need to be looking very far forward," Littlewood said. "But we also need to be doing things on a shorter scale to actually be valuable to our industrial partners, and that's most likely bringing in money — while everyone talks about innovation, the most important part of innovation is investment in it."

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