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Vehicle Electrification Michael W. Degner Ford Motor Company Sanjeev Naik General Motors The automobile industry is undergoing one of the most dramatic and rapid transformations in its history. This transformation, toward vehicle electrification, is being driven by concerns about global warming, sustainability, and national security. In response to these concerns, many countries have implemented regu- lations that mandate dramatic improvements in automobile fuel economy over the next 10 to 15 years—more than double that of just a few years ago. And in efforts to meet these regulations, automobile manufacturers are developing advanced powertrain technologies, of which hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid elec- tric, and attery electric vehicles (HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs) are some of the b most promising. The concept of vehicle electrification is not new. In fact, battery electric vehicles were the most common type of vehicle in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But they were quickly displaced by improved internal combustion engines, which have dominated the automobile powertrain landscape for more than 100 years. That dominance is now being challenged by vehicle electrification, thanks to dramatic improvements in energy storage systems, electric machine drives, and electrical system integration and control. The speakers in this session discuss some of these advances, research to make further improvements, and some of the challenges that need to be addressed to enable widespread vehicle electrification. The first speaker, Jeff Sakamoto (Michigan State University), describes efforts to improve automobile electrical energy storage systems. Reducing the cost, size, and weight of such systems is a key challenge preventing the widespread adop- tion of PHEVs and BEVs, which show the most promise to dramatically reduce the world’s dependence on petroleum. His paper reports recent improvements in 39
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40 FRONTIERS OF ENGINEERING battery technologies (particularly with the use of lithium-ion technology), industry targets required to enable widespread adoption of plug-in vehicles, and some of the ongoing research to meet these targets. In the second talk, Matthew Willard (Case Western Reserve University), outlines the challenges and research under way to develop improved magnetic materials, which are used in electric machine drives. Magnetic materials of both the hard (permanent magnets) and soft (electrical steels and magnetic cores) type are critical in the design of high-performance electric machines and power elec- tronic converters. This presentation covers the desired material characteristics, some of the research challenges to develop better materials, and efforts to reduce the use of critical, strategic materials—rare earths—in these magnetic materials. Widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles could represent a significant increase in the load on the electrical transmission and distribution system. Arindam Maitra (Electric Power Research Institute) presents the results of an EPRI study on the potential impacts of this increased load and the changes necessary in the electrical transmission and distribution systems to address such impacts. Today’s drivers have high expectations for the safety, reliability, comfort, and connectivity in their vehicles. The final paper by Rahul Mangharam (University of Pennsylvania) discusses technical approaches to enhance vehicle safety through remote diagnostics, networking, recalls, and software upgrades.