The biggest change within automotive manufacturing over the past few years has been the shift away from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle designs, prompted by global legislation and the Road to Zero narrative. This has forced automotive OEMs to refocus attention on the production of EVs, where one of the biggest barriers to mass adoption is range anxiety. Overcoming this is a major challenge: an effective EV transport system must encompass the vehicle, navigation and charging infrastructure. This is an area where Tesla has capitalized on the market, but what are the techniques other OEMs can use to increase range, without adding to the battery load and cost?
At MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions, we work with OEMs to understand the changes that can be made to design techniques within the power electronics, rather than the battery itself. For example, if you can improve range through enhancements to the inverter, then it is possible to improve vehicle range. This will use the same amount of batteries, rather than adding more.
This is where ALPHA® Argomax® sintered silver technology contributes. When used as an alternative to traditional soldering in high performance applications, Argomax has been proven to improve EV efficiency by 40%, achieve a potential 75% reduction in die count and a 34% reduction in inverter weight; enabling OEMs to design drivetrains with greater range and lighter weight, thus further improving vehicle efficiency.
It’s not just in sintering where automotive OEMs can continually improve EV design – selection of the most effective material coatings also helps to drive improvements, particularly in the field of lightweighting.
OEMs understand the importance of using advanced materials to boost the fuel economy of modern electric vehicles and lightweight materials offer huge potential for improved efficiency. For example, replacing cast iron and traditional steel with lighter materials such as magnesium alloys and aluminum can result in significant weight savings.
However, these materials need the optimal protection in order to maximize their lifespans and efficiency savings. This is where surface treatments play a pivotal role. For example, aluminum requires an effective coating to improve paint adhesion and protect against corrosion. For sustainability and safety reasons, these coatings must be free of hexavalent chromium. At MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions, our treatments such as Iridite conversion coatings and Oxidite anodizing products protect lightweight materials and are completely chromium-free.
A recent Deloitte report predicts significant growth for the global EV market, expecting a 29% annual compound growth over the next 10 years, with total EV sales growing from 2.5 million in 2020 to 11.2 million in 2025, then reaching 31.1 million by 2030. For manufacturers to meet this growing demand, it is important that innovative new production techniques are adopted to help overcome consumer concerns surrounding range, safety, and affordability of EVs. Such techniques can also help manufacturers become more resistant to global shocks, with more stable and resilient supply chain processes.
By working at a systems level, it is possible to achieve substantial performance improvements. Collaborating closely with a trusted partner is key. Partners that can view production from the outside-in and understand how different engineering techniques correlate within the supply chain, can often add additional value to OEM processes.
On World EV Day, manufacturers everywhere are sending a message to consumers that EV remains the best vehicle choice, in terms of sustainability, performance, and future mobility needs. To deliver on this message, automotive OEMs must embrace innovative new production techniques that deliver the driver and passenger experience that people demand. That’s the first step in building global EV infrastructure networks and making this more sustainable form of transport a reality for many.
MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions was created to help the supply chain meet those demands, from the OEMs to Tier 1s to assemblers, fabricators, and applicators. We have an unrivaled knowledge of vehicle electronics, lightweighting, and exterior and interior surface treatments. Additionally, ESI Inc recently acquired HK Wentworth, enabling us to take advantage of their Electrolube brand. This includes thermal management and device protection for electric vehicle battery systems.