Dr Peter Harrop / Chairman / IDTechEx
As the world’s first conference on Energy Independent Electric Vehicles approaches on September 27 to 28 in the Technical University of Delft Netherlands, key players, all of whom are speaking at the event, have been announcing some remarkable new developments. Raghu Das CEO of analyst IDTechEx says, “Tesla has shaken the motor industry to the roots and some of these companies are going to do it again this time in aerospace and the marine industry, not just automotive.”
Professor Elias Siores of the University of Bolton in the UK, developing multi-mode harvesting fabric for sails and airships and other declares, “Energy independent vehicles are the way to the future. Moving away from traditional power sources and into renewable energy through harvesting and conversion of energy is likely to happen soon. This necessitates the development and use of smart materials in systems capable of harvesting, converting, online use and storage. Current research is moving fast forward in this direction and academia and industry close collaboration is improving the state of the art continuously”.
A new addition to the event lineup is Hanergy of China which startled the industry with gallium arsenide bodywork on its prototype cars shown recently and due for launch 2020. They generate around one kilowatt but the challenge is to reduce the cost to manageable levels, something they promise to do while further increasing efficiency to 40%, because they make their own solar film for bodywork. This will be invaluable on aircraft too. Even with traditional single crystal silicon film photovoltaics in the wings and tailplane, some aircraft already on sale increase range and endurance by 30%. Reversing propellers also charge their batteries. Energy independence comes next.
Martijn Lammers of Lightyear in the Netherlands, who is preparing a solar car for general sale in 2019 says, “Energy independent vehicles might speed up the adoption of EVs. It makes them more scalable because they are less dependent on electric infrastructure”.
On August 25th, Sono Motors of Germany, also launching a road legal car for sale in 2019, announced a unique investment campaign. On Seedrs and wiwin, investors can acquire shares of the emerging company or issue loans, or both. €2.5 million are expected to be raised via the two channels. A few weeks earlier, Sono Motors presented the Sion at the Munich Technology Center. The innovative electric car has integrated solar cell as bodywork, not just a roof, a range of 250 km and it will cost only 16,000€ (excluding the battery).
CEO Laurin Hahn says, “Offering an electric vehicle for such a competitive price will allow Sono Motors to target the mass market. The development of the first prototype was accomplished in close cooperation with supporters from all over the world. Within a year, Sono Motors collected over €850,000 through a crowdfunding campaign. The founders want to build upon this success. We could only build the Sion because we were supported by so many great people who share our vision. Without them, Sono Motors would never have been so successful. That is why we want our supporters to be part of our future success.”
“We offer these forms of investment for a reason,” said CFO Martin Sabbione. “Investors and supporters are given a fair, transparent and unique opportunity to grow with us and profit from our success. The sales potential for the e-mobility market is estimated by experts at several hundred billion euros. The special characteristics of the Sion and the early presentation make us very well positioned in this market. The accumulated capital of the two campaigns will finance the development of the Sion and the first steps of industrialization,” he said.
However, it is not all about solar vehicles, because electricity from wind power will be used for vehicles when stationary, on boats on the move and in the form of tethered drones it will make huge amounts of electricity for ships. Toyota of Japan, speaking at the event, has recently patented an efficient wind turbine to charge cars when they are stationary. Speaker Professor Pietro Perlo of IFEVS Italy has another version. Indeed, speaker Joep Breuer reminds us, “Wind has the potential to power the world 20-100 times. Harnessing high altitude wind is essential to capture this potential and make the transition to a fossil fuel free transportation system possible. Kitepower is proud to be one of the leading companies in airborne wind energy”. He refers to Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) first being commercialized in 2018 and suitable for roadside charging and powering energy independent ships. It taps the wind above 200 meters that is four times stronger and much more consistent, greatly reducing the need for batteries to bridge any intermittency.
IDTechEx announces a new report, “Battery Elimination in Electronics and Electrical Engineering 2018-2028”. It also has available “Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) 2017-2027” and “Energy Independent Electric Vehicles Land, Water, Air 2017-2037”. The world is moving on.
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