Posts tagged with "IDTechEx"

By Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE

IDTechEx Shares Unexpected Trends in Electric Vehicle Data

Unexpected Trends from IDTechEx’s EV Data & Tools Portfolio

2021 is cementing the electric car’s dominant position in the future of the auto industry as OEMs have increased electrification targets, announced more battery-electric models, and planned new technology adoption strategies. To properly understand these trends, granular, high-quality data is essential. IDTechEx’s portfolio of electric cars and powertrain materials research is driven by data, and includes two new spreadsheet-based products: Electric Car Sales, Models & Technologies Database and Scenario Forecasting: Materials for Battery Cells and Packs. Both underpin two IDTechEx research reports Advanced Electric Cars 2020-2040 and Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs 2021-2031, and form part of a wider portfolio which can be found at IDTechEx’s website.

IDTechEx’s New Electric Vehicle Model Database

IDTechEx’s extensive Electric Car Sales, Models & Technologies Database is spreadsheet-based and covers unit sales for popular BEV and PHEV cars in China, Europe, and the US between 2015–2020 (containing data on 145 distinct models plus variants). Alongside sales data, IDTechEx also reveals battery capacity, cell format, battery supplier, cell chemistry, cell and pack energy density, thermal management method, motor technology and power output. The granular nature of the data, split by model, enables technology trends to be analyzed in detail in addition to an industry-level overview.

Considering battery chemistry, it is well known that manufacturers have been trending towards higher nickel content cathodes such as the 811 variant of nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC). Perhaps less expected is the significant resurgence in lithium-iron-phosphate, or ‘LFP’, batteries. The lower energy density of LFP batteries saw them fall out of favor with Chinese policymakers and rapidly lose market share up to 2019, but in the past year, BYD announced the Blade with LFP prismatic cells and Tesla introduced the Chinese manufactured Model 3 with LFP. The trade-off comes down to price, raw materials, safety, and supply-chain dynamics with regional specificities.

Moreover, the Electric Car Sales, Models & Technologies Database also looks at electric traction motor trends. Many have voiced concerns around the supply of rare earths for the magnetic materials used in most electric car traction motors. However, China controls the majority of the world’s rare earth supply chain, creating risk and potential price volatility. The database reveals the quiet adoption of non-permanent magnet-based variants – induction motors and separately excited wound-rotor motors – which are still being introduced in new models and may become essential technologies if permanent magnet prices spike.

This database underpins IDTechEx’s research on Advanced Electric Cars, which is further summarized in a report covering regional detail, powertrain technologies, and autonomous vehicles.

Example charts obtainable through the IDTechEx Electric Car Sales, Models & Technologies Database

Materials for Electric Car Battery Cells & Packs

Lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles present very different material demands at the cell- and pack-level compared with the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles they replace. Whilst ICE drivetrains heavily rely on aluminum and steel alloys, Li-ion batteries also utilize many other materials such as nickel, cobalt, lithium, copper, insulation, thermal interface materials, and much more at a cell- and pack level. The IDTechEx report on Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs 2021-2031 identifies and analyzes trends in the design of EV battery cells and battery packs in order to evaluate the materials used for their assembly and production. The report also provides granular market forecasts for over 20 key material categories in terms of demand in tonnes in addition to market value.

To complement this research, IDTechEx’s new Scenario Forecasting Spreadsheet: Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs provides quantitative forecasts and assumptions in greater depth, and allows EV forecasts to be customized based on different scenarios. This is a spreadsheet-based tool that lists IDTechEx’s assumptions for several material intensities at a cell- and pack-level for BEV and PHEV batteries in the car market. It also provides a forecast for the multi-metal and other materials demand in tonnes from 2021-2031. In addition to these forecasts, this tool allows you to use your own forecasts for BEV and PHEV unit sales and battery capacities to see how these variables impact demand over the next 10 years. A scenarios tool is also included which allows for several sales forecasts to be compared simultaneously for individual materials.

Examples for the material demand for battery cells and packs segmented by material. Source: Scenario Forecasting Spreadsheet: Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs

IDTechEx Electric Vehicle Research

For more information on the portfolio of data available on this topic, please visit their website. This research forms part of the broader electric vehicle and energy storage portfolio from IDTechEx, who track the adoption of electric vehicles, battery trends, and demand across land, sea and air, helping you navigate whatever may be ahead. Find out more at their website

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies. For more information, visit IDTechEx’s website.

ID TechEx Research electric-battery vehicles image for use by 360 Magazine

1000 Mile Battery Vehicles

Many Routes to 1000 Mile Battery Vehicles, Reports IDTechEx 

It is easy to make 1000-mile battery-electric vehicles, and the effect on market uptake will be profound. For example, a typical city-dweller today might charge only once every two months and vacation where chargers are rare.

With solar bodywork having done some of the job, even feeble existing chargers will cause little delay in charging time. Indeed, solar bodywork is a “get-you-home” feature that is capable of suddenly making battery-electric vehicles acceptable in most of the world­– increasing their market potential and accelerating economies of scale in production, making battery-electric vehicles more affordable.  Meanwhile, today’s EV would be easier to sell to country dwellers if they had a folding solar panel “lifeboat” offered as an optional extra. See the IDTechEx report, “Solar Vehicles 2021-2041 2nd Edition”.

Learn from the sea. Many solar boats can already be bought with effectively infinite range because they have so much area available for solar. Some have the generating capacity to supply three houses on arrival. For heavier sea-going ships, adding wind turbines works because at sea, the wind is rarely head-on at a speed less than the craft’s. The large Manta ocean clean-up boat from Sea Cleaners is the latest example. Even energy-independent ships are possible by combining these technologies with others.

Land vehicles lag in energy-independent technologies because they have less surface area per passenger, but the newly viable single-crystal silicon on the sides (as demonstrated by Sono Motors at CES 2021) is a step in the right direction. Student solar racers get energy independence using 3­­–5 compound solar that is unaffordable for most applications as yet. They also get ultra-low drag factors by squeezing the riders. Nonetheless, these things benchmark what is coming to a car, robot shuttle, and truck near you.

For example, following solar golf cars, Aptera, a Californian solar car start-up, promises 1000 miles for those willing to mix it with Class 8 trucks while sitting in a three-wheeled egg. More mainstream, Tesla and Lucid already get past 500 miles range by utilizing low drag factor, light-weighting, more efficient power electronics, and other strategies such as aluminum monocoque, even before adopting solar. Indeed, Tesla Roadster doubles the battery to get 620 miles. Lightyear solar family cars approach 500 miles range with exceptionally extensive solar bodywork, but also offer more efficient in-wheel motors. More efficient motors have been important for Tesla’s exceptional range, and better motors are on the way. See the IDTechEx report, “Electric Motors for Electric Vehicles: Land, Water, Air 2020-2030”.

When feasible, Elon Musk wants solar that unfolds on arrival and will pump more than one kilowatt. Many vehicles are largely glass, but solar building windows are obviously coming to vehicles, starting with Hyundai promising a translucent solar roof.

In 2018, Tesla began to adopt wide-bandgap semiconductors (silicon carbide) in the Model 3’s main inverter, which are more efficient and save on the weight and space of the cooling equipment. Supercapacitors are barely used in on-road BEVs, but they can improve range in many ways now they appear with higher energy density and at a lower price. They grab more braking energy, and they facilitate deep discharge of the newer batteries that can tolerate such things.

The roadmap of other range-extending technologies is equally rich. Infrared harvesting surfaces under the vehicle may work in hot countries. On top and sides, adding perovskite to silicon will grab infrared and light over a much wider spectrum, increasing electricity by at least 10% (multilayer perovskites promises 100%). Autonomous taxis, shuttles, and buses dispensing with the weight and space of the driver can go further. In windy countries, wind turbines that erect when the vehicle stops can be viable. Indeed, the US Department of Defense funds trials of electricity generation by using tethered drones from vehicles, up where the wind is stronger and more consistent.

Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, advises, “VW Group and many others work on structural batteries and supercapacitors to increase range – no more dumb bodywork. Meanwhile, Tesla and Lucid commercialize a first step in that direction. Equally challenging, but still a possibility is using higher voltage to increase range beyond the current focus on charging time. 800-1000V is pioneered by VW Group, Lucid, Rivian, GM, Hyundai, Kia, and other carmakers and their suppliers such as Hitachi, Borg Warner and others. In principle, it increases efficiency and lightens weight.”

“We are currently working on the start of production for several premium 800-volt projects,” says Bert Hellwig, who is responsible for electric drive system development at ZF. “We supply a Chinese OEM with the complete electric driveline, including power electronics, for several models. For a European sports car manufacturer, ZF provides power electronics for a high-voltage application. Further series start-ups are already on the horizon.”

There is much more. Thermal management and all materials and systems can perform better and get lighter, both of which increase range. See the IDTechEx reports, “Materials for Electric Vehicles: Electric Motors, Battery Cells & Packs, HV Cabling 2020-2030” and “Thermal Management for Electric Vehicles 2020-2030”. For example, a transparent heater film applied only where needed on vehicle interiors has been shown to save up to 30% of that electricity.

Meeting all these factors in the middle is intermittent catenary and intermittent road rails and coils–charging vehicles as they hurtle by– and an increasing number of cars able to charge other cars (Sono Motors’ Sion is again an example). Batteries charge fast initially, so the profusion of lamp post chargers topping up in London, for example, can be a good alternative to scarce and expensive fast chargers, particularly as vehicles double their range. Battery improvements promise large range increases. Volkswagen targets 40% more energy density by 2030.  In other words, vehicle designers can now choose which of the many routes to 1000-mile range they will pursue with plenty of choices.

For the whole picture, see the IDTechEx report, “Electric Vehicles: Land, Sea and Air 2021-2041”.

For the full portfolio of Electric Vehicle research available from IDTechEx, please visit this website.

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IDTechEx Explores NiMH Batteries

When we talk about battery-electric vehicles, the lithium-ion battery is dominant; however, for full hybrid electric vehicles (those that have electric-only modes but do not plug-in), NiMH batteries are still the most common battery on the road. With the growing market for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), will this drive further demand for NiMH batteries and stop them from being eliminated from the automotive market?

The new report from IDTechEx on “Full Hybrid Electric Vehicle Markets 2021-2041” covers this topic along with the key players and geographical markets for HEVs. Battery and motor-generator technology is analyzed for HEV cars, buses, and trucks, giving forecasts for Li-ion and NiMH battery demand over the next 20 years.

Toyota is the ruling OEM in the global HEV car market, with over 60% market share in 2019. Other manufacturers have started to eat into this share over the years, but Toyota still reigns supreme. While the other OEMs have mostly transitioned towards Li-ion batteries for their HEVs, Toyota remains committed to NiMH batteries and HEVs for the foreseeable future, with the majority of their line-up now using either NiMH or Li-ion depending on the specifications. For the relatively small batteries that are used in HEVs, the NiMH is still sufficient to meet requirements. It is also much more technologically mature and is less costly than Li-ion.

In 2020, NiMH batteries were still the dominant form installed in HEVs, largely due to Toyota. As Li-ion costs continue to fall and HEV battery capacity increases, NiMH are unlikely to remain competitive but will still see an increase in short term demand. Source: IDTechEx report: “Full Hybrid Electric Vehicle Markets 2021-2041“.

Sales of HEVs have continued to grow throughout the COVID-19 pandemic despite the downturn of the overall car market. This, combined with Toyota’s dominance and NiMH portfolio, provides a good market for NiMH batteries, at least in the short term. Li-ion technology is still evolving and reducing in price; at a certain point, it may no longer be cost-effective to continue using NiMH. Additionally, fossil fuel bans are incoming, with countries like the UK banning purely internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2030 and only allowing hybrids “that can drive a significant distance with zero emissions”. HEV manufacturers will likely increase the battery capacity in order to give more electric-only range, making the Li-ion option more appealing. Even with this stay of execution for HEVs, banning vehicles with ICEs of any sort is likely to follow shortly after. This will eliminate the HEV in many markets and hence the demand for NiMH.

IDTechEx recently published the report “Full Hybrid Electric Vehicle Markets 2021-2041“. This report gives an in-depth look at the historic HEV market in China, Europe, Japan, South Korea, and the US, with an outlook over the next 20 years. An extensive model database of over 80 HEVs sold between 2015 and 2019 is used to determine the market’s battery and motor-generator technology in addition to geographical markets and manufacturer market shares. The total cost of ownership calculations is compared with ICE and 48V hybrids, as well as how HEVs can help manufacturers meet new European emissions targets. For more information on this report please visit www.IDTechEx.com/HEV.

This report forms part of the broader electric vehicle and energy storage research from IDTechEx, which tracks the adoption of electric vehicles, battery trends and demand across more than 100 different mobility sectors. This is summarized in a master report: www.IDTechEx.com/EV, or for a further in-depth analysis, please see the full portfolio of electric vehicle research available from IDTechEx: www.IDTechEx.com/research/EV.

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies. For more information, contact research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com.

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The next decade’s most disruptive technology

Virtual reality has already had a major impact in a range of different industries. IDTechEx predicts in its recent market research reportthat this technology will grow to $8Bn by 2030. One way that virtual reality has been used is in planning. VR technologies have recently been shown by an article in the Financial Times to be used by the City of London Corporation to help with planning decisions for future office areas. Virtual reality will be a key technology of the next decade, with IDTechEx predicting that the augmented and virtual reality market will grow to over $30Bn by 2030.

The City of London collaboration was between the City of London Corporation, Innovate UK, New London Architecture (NLA) and VU.CITY. The level of detail captured by the project is down to a 2cm accuracy in a nearly 3km square area. This is a first for an area of this size, and aims to help planners realize what “plans offer in terms of space, enhancement of the public realm and to the City,” according to Alastair Moss, Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation. The ability to plan cities with VR technology will allow for more highly advanced urban planning solutions.

Virtual, augmented and mixed reality products have continued to receive high levels of funding and investment during the 2010 decade. This is predicted to continue into the next decade. IDTechExforecasts that the AR/VR and MR to be over $30Bn by 2030. This market will impact many different industries and its use cases wide-reaching and the technology will continue to innovate and accelerate innovation in these industries.

IDTechEx has a range of market research reports covering virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality products. Part of the wearables portfolio, the parent report “Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2020-2030” and the detailed technology analysis of “Optics and Displays in AR, VR and MR 2020-2030: Technologies, Players and Markets” provide the key insights and deep analysis of this innovative technology for the next decade.  The detailed market research report “Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2020-2030” from IDTechEx reviews and analyzes over 100 products and details of over 80 companies, to create detailed conclusions about the future of this market. Alongside this, IDTechEx offers a second deeper dive report into the optics and display technologies in AR/MR/VR devices.

Key Questions answered in these two reports include:

  • What are the major drivers for optic or display choice in an AR/MR or VR device?
  • What are the major drivers in the adoption of AR/MR and VR devices? Which use cases benefit the most from this technology?
  • How will the sales of VR and AR/MR devices evolve from 2020-2030 and what are the drivers behind future growth?

A timeline of some of the major AR and VR headsets of the past. Source: IDTechEx

What is the impact of COVID?

Recently the versatility of mixed and augmented reality products has come to the forefront of the news, with an Imperial led project at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. COVID has put the spotlight on this hands-free, interactive technology, and it is unlikely that this focus will move for some time. There will be a need for this technology in many new use cases, which previously did not require hands-free, or remote capabilities.

Where can I find more information?

More information on “Optics and Displays in AR, VR and MR 2020-2030” and “Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2020-2030” can be found at www.IDTechEx.com/Research/WT.

New Robotics

New Robotics: Shifting Business Models

IDTechEx Research analyzes the changing trends in the robotics industry in their report New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038: Technologies, Forecasts, Players, as new and emerging firms challenge the norm.

Machine makers in many established markets sell their machines directly or through dealer networks. At times, they create additional revenue streams by offering technical after-sales support. They often hope that the installed base of their machines together with limited incompatibility with competitors’ products provides some lock-in mechanism. They also seek to build-in some technology obsolescence into their product cycles. Some also provide finance, directly or jointly with a finance entity, to help potential customers overcome the barrier of the upfront cost.

Many traditional robot suppliers fit the description above. Integrators often install a robotic or automated solution and provide after-sale technical support. They make it difficult to integrate competitors’ robots with their solutions and offer regular hardware and software updates.

New and emerging robotic firms, however, do not easily fit this bill. They are, in fact, challenging the established norms. This is sometimes through will and sometimes through necessity. The trend towards alternative models is evident across all sectors that new robotics seeks to impact. This includes retail, agriculture, logistics, delivery, security, cleaning, transport, and so on.

In the next few paragraphs, we outline some trends and drives in each sector. To get the complete picture please see the IDTechEx Research New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038: Technologies, Forecasts, Players. This report is unique in its depth and breadth. It covers both existing as well as emerging applications. Indeed, it provides 21-year forecasts in value and unit numbers for 46 categories, painting a comprehensive and quantitative picture of this major transformation.

Agriculture

Autonomous robots can provide automated precision weeding. Robotic intelligent implementation can provide precision spraying or weeding, too. The upfront machine or fleet costs are often high today. The technology risk for end users is also high. Users are often afraid that expert operators and repair persons will be needed. They worry that the technology is not tried and tested, especially in an agricultural environment. They fear that the technology is likely to rapidly evolve, exposing them to serious obsolescence risks. Crucially, they require seasonal services and are accustomed to paying wages and not making significant capital investments into machines with low utilization rates.

To address these challenges, many companies are positioning as a RaaS- robotic as a service. They essentially become weeding service providers. They operate or monitor their own machines. They charge the customer per acre, a metric with which they are likely familiar. They absorb the technology risk. Crucially, they give their robots extensive field practice and will have the chance to gather data and feedback. This is important because the design of these products and services is still in a state of flux with many further iterations anticipated.

This positioning changes the nature of their business. Companies will require additional working capital and staff to absorb the service costs and to offer a sufficiently scaled service network. They cannot simply build to order to balance their cash flows. This is where partnerships will become important. This is also where early capital investments in case of start-ups become a necessity, as most will operate heavily in the red in the early years of their operations.

With time and technology maturity the model may revert back to a traditional arrangement, or will it? This is an ongoing debate because traditional heavy agricultural machine makers will also need to adapt their models. This is inevitable because as vehicles become more autonomous, in navigation and task, the machine becomes the services, blurring the boundary between equipment sales and service provision.  The whole value chains will need to adjust and even the dealers will need to find their sweet spots evolving their technical support into full-blown remote robot operations. To learn more please read New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038: Technologies, Forecasts, Players.

Last mile delivery

Many small robots are appearing worldwide to solve the productivity problem present at the last stage of the delivery process: the last mile. These small slow robots autonomously deliver small payloads to their final destinations. At the level of individual machines, there are highly unproductive. However, at the level of a large fleet, without a driver overhead per unit, they can become productive and commercially viable.

Here two business models have emerged. Some follow the traditional model of trying to sell their robots. Others are positioning as delivery firms staffed mainly by autonomous robots. This latter model is adopted for many good reasons. It is envisioned that the hardware will in the future become modular, standardized, and highly commoditized.  Essentially the same fate as consumer drones awaits the hardware platform. Competing in such a business would not be easy for start-ups, especially those based in California and similar start-up hubs.

Crucially, the robot companies require practice data. This is because they will need to improve their delivery and navigation algorithms so that one day they can operate large fleets in complex environments with high-speed units. The data loop would be cut if they just sold a machine and walked out. The data acquisition is a fundamental part of product improvement without which the company would likely stall. It will also open up the door to offering high value-added analytics services.

The technology is still immature. As such, it will require close monitoring and likely regular manual interventions to fix issues. As such, most players will, as a minimum, be forced to add a strong 24/7 service element to their business.

To learn more, please see the IDTechEx Research report Mobile Robots and Drones in Material Handling and Logistics 2018-2038. This report is focused on all aspects of mobile robotics in material handling and logistics. In particular, we consider the following: automated guided vehicles and carts (AGVs and AGCs); autonomous mobile vehicles and carts/units; mobile picking robots; last mile delivery ground robots (droids) and drones; and autonomous trucks and light delivery vans (level 4 and level 5 automation).

Logistics

Robotic firms are emerging to enable autonomous robotic picking. These robots combine autonomous mobility with autonomous picking skills. Here, too, companies are frequently positioning themselves as a service provider, charging a monthly subscription fee or a $ per pick rate.

In this case, too, robotic companies require the data. Their picking algorithms are based on deep learning and as such without training data their product roadmap will likely stall. This would be very dangerous to their business prospects because today’s generation of products only manages to slowly pick regularly-shaped known objects in simple environments. The future, however, is fast picking of novel randomly-shaped items in complex environments. To traverse this competency gap, data will be indispensable. The users too will require ongoing support. They too will prefer not to absorb the technology risk, especially since the technology – both hardware and software – are rapidly evolving. As such, a service model can prove win-win.

To learn more please visit www.IDTechEx.com/mobile.

Security

Autonomous mobile robots are developed to perform various security-related tasks. These robots are being designed for indoor, outdoor and even rugged terrain operation. They are essentially sensors-on-a-wheel. Some versions can have more than 50-onboard sensors, generating nearly 100 terabytes of data per year per machine. These robots can be deployed wherever some type of security and monitoring is required.

Here, too, firms are not always adopting an outright equipment sales model. It is common to seek a subscription model for giving customers access to the machine, the interface, the data plan, the 24/7 support, etc. Here, too, such arrangements can be win-win. The suppliers will retain that crucial data loop in their business models, enabling them to improve their products, for example, by offering specialized algorithms able to detect, recognize, and analyze specific situations, e.g., from car number plate recognition to detection of dangerous gas leakages in an industrial site. Customers, too, will take this arrangement because it is closer to an end solution and makes it easier for them to test the technology and the new ways of working that it might enable.

To learn more please see New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038: Technologies, Forecasts, Players. This report provides detailed technology analysis, assessing the trends in performance and price of key enabling hardware and software technologies whilst considering likely technology development roadmaps. We will also profile the key companies and innovative entities working on new robotics and drones.

Retail

Autonomous robots are also finding their way into retail stores, seeking to automate tedious tasks. In particular, they are being offered essentially as automated data acquisition tools, capturing data about items on the shelves with higher speed and accuracy than humans.

Here firms are positioning as full solution providers. This has many advantages. This future-proofs their business against hardware commoditization. They can accumulate hard-to-obtain and hard-to-copy knowhow and data which can then underpin their value-added data analytics services. Their customers too will be interested in a final solution and not another alien technology looking for a problem to solve. At the end of the day, they are interested only in an impact on the bottom line, be it higher stock availability, better stock positioning on shelves, or leaner inventories. As such, data-centric service-orientated models can be win-win propositions.

This shift towards non-traditional business models permeates every sector. It is happening even with cars where the rise of mobility is fueling serious debates about the future of mobility and the role of autonomous taxi fleets and shared facilities. In general, even if the business models are not radically redrawn, the profit pool within the value chain will be re-balanced. This will change the winners and losers and will demand that all participants begin looking ahead and planning now.

To learn more, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/robotics or contact research@IDTechEx.com.

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Consultancy and Events services, helping you profit from emerging technologies. Find out more at www.IDTechEx.com.