To be an engineer right now is incredibly exciting and I think
we won’t have a watershed moment like this for another 50 years
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www.electrichybridvehicletechnology.com // January 2020 // 37
What is the greatest challenge for the industry
to overcome for the mass adoption of EVs?
Many people are genuinely sceptical about
EVs, with most concerns relating to range. I
think it’s only when we start to see ‘real-world’
ranges of circa 300-400 miles that drivers
will start to consider an EV. Of course, cost is
another factor and there’s no denying that EVs
are more expensive than ICE counterparts. In
terms of making them more affordable in the
short term, the only options are the
manufacturers taking a hit or increased
government subsidies to encourage drivers
to make the switch to electric.
What are you working on at the moment?
Broadly speaking, electrifi cation and
actuation-type systems are taking up a lot of
our time. What we’re really seeing is our
aerospace work increasing, with the transfer
of technology from what we’ve developed for
the automotive sector. Automotive is going
through a revolution, overtaking aerospace in
terms of pioneering electrifi cation technology.
What has been the biggest technology
breakthrough for EVs in recent years?
The obvious answer is batteries. Ever since we
produced our fi rst hybrid with GM in 2001,
there’s always been limitations with range.
Evolving battery technology has counteracted
this and encouraged the ongoing development
of EVs as viable, usable alternatives to
Which OEM(s) do you think are doing great
things with electrifi cation technology?
Tesla really got things moving and you can’t
forget about Toyota and its hybrid work.
Nissan deserves credit for being the biggest
seller and you have to acknowledge the huge
investment that BMW made in the i3 and i8.
Currently though, it’s Volkswagen and its I.D.
range that is looking the most intriguing. With
Volkswagen you know that when they do
something, they do it big, and there’s a lot
riding on its success following the fallout from
the Dieselgate scandal.
What is the Holy Grail for vehicle propulsion
– what would you like to see powering the
typical car in 2030?
The sensible solution is electric in the short
term. I think 2030 is probably a little too soon
for fuel cell technology. The Holy Grail will be
something with a high range and why over
complicate it with alternative means of power.
If such a range isn’t feasible across all EVs,
then that’s when you get into the more
off-the-wall alternatives. I think the availability
of smaller, more affordable, energy-dense
batteries will be key to making it happen. For
commercial vehicles, however, I still think
hybrid represents a great solution while we’re
waiting for suitable EV technology that can be
applied to trucks.
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