The market for electric cars is burgeoning – not only in Europe but world-wide. Any rise in the number of electric cars is reflected in increased demand for batteries and for the cells contained therein: Reliable estimates suggest that demand will increase tenfold by the year 2030.
Vehicle complexity decreases sharply whenever the combustion engine is replaced by an electric powertrain. Whereas a car fitted with a combustion engine consists of some 1400 moving parts, those with an electric powertrain have only approximately 210. An eight-cylinder engine is made up of around 1200 parts, each of which requires fitting; in contrast, an electric engine has only 17.
Consequently, there have been considerable changes in the range of system parts and components needed. New suppliers and smaller vehicle manufacturers suddenly find themselves in an environment in which they can compete with large, established OEMs due to the reduction in vehicle complexity.
That is why the engineers at the Fraunhofer IPT are currently focusing different production technologies suitable for manufacturing a wide range of components and parts for electric powertrains – from models containing classical lithium-ion batteries through supercapacitors and flywheel energy storage units to fuel cells. Why are we doing this? We intend to work with our partners to retain and reinforce the long-term future of Germany as an automotive manufacturing base.