More Power to Electric Vehicles

By Catherine

Written by Catherine Bolgar*

In some ways, the car of the future is a blast from the past.

The electric car was invented more than 100 years ago, but was overtaken in the 1930s by petrol-powered autos.

A brief history of electric vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are getting a second wind as a more sustainable alternative to cars. EVs produce no tailpipe emissions—an important quality because global carbon dioxide emissions from passenger cars and freight transport are forecast to double by 2050 according to the International Transport Forum, with cars accounting for the lion’s share.

While the electricity powering EVs may be generated by fossil fuels, it still pollutes about 40% less than regular cars. And that could be cut by shifting toward renewable energy for the electricity EVs use to charge up.

About 180,000 EVs are on the road today, a drop in the ocean compared with the global fleet of over a billion petrol -powered cars, a number expected to grow to three billion by 2050. The Electric Vehicles Initiative, a forum of 16 countries, hopes to get 20 million EVs on the road by 2020, which would represent 2% of total passenger cars.

Electric car in charging

In other words, we’re still a long way from the future.

Why are EVs such a hard sell? The advantage of petrol-powered cars is unlimited range, something that has become inseparable from the essence of “automobile”—this thing that lets you go anywhere, at any time. EV ranges run from 70 to 100 miles (112 to 160 kilometers) on a single charge. Statistics show that 95% of vehicle trips in the U.S. are less than 30 miles and that only 1% of trips are more than 70 miles, so current EV range is plenty for most trips.

People cite worries about having to look for a charging station, or that charging will take longer than topping off the gas tank does. However , EVs have advantages.

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Drivers are accustomed to a routine of filling their gas tanks weekly, even though it’s smelly and, in bad weather, unpleasant. “One of the conveniences of electric vehicles is you plug it in overnight and don’t have to go to the charging station,” says Don Anair, research director of the clean vehicles program of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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A range of innovations aims to address some of the technical problems.

  • Better batteries. Consumer electronics such as smartphones have helped drive advances in battery technology, particularly in improving battery life while reducing size. Auto-makers are shifting to lithium-ion batteries, from nickel-metal hydride batteries. However, researchers continue to chase new technologies, such as lithium-air, silicon alloy anodes, lithium metal graphene-anode and other battery combinations. Already, the cost of batteries for plug-in EVs has dropped by half in the past four years, and the size and weight have shrunk 60%.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells. A technology at an early stage of commercialization is EVs powered by hydrogen fuel cells. “It’s a good option for consumers looking for an EV, but who don’t have a place to plug in to charge,” Mr. Anair says.
  • Old mixed with new. The hybrid uses both electricity and petrol fuel, with a growing range of choice. At the mostly-petrol-with-a-little-electricity end of the spectrum, conventional hybrids switch to electric in high-consumption situations like traffic jams, with batteries charged by regenerative braking and the gasoline engine. Plug-in hybrids run on the battery and switch to the internal combustion engine when the battery is out of juice. At the mostly-electric end of the spectrum, an EV with a range extender keeps powering the wheels from the battery while a small gas motor charges the battery enough to run the car farther. A range extender allows for a lighter-weight battery, which helps improve efficiency.

The first battery-powered vehicles with range extenders are on the market. BMW’s electric vehicle, the i3, now has an optional range extender that adds up to 75 miles of driving on a charge. General Motors has added a range extender to the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera.

In the future, consumers will have more choices of low-carbon vehicles to drive,” Mr. Anair says.

  • Lighter vehicles. Reducing weight, whether for EVs or conventional vehicles, improves efficiency. The internal combustion engine burns fuel to make power, but only 25% to 30% of the energy in a gallon of gasoline turns the car’s wheels, while the rest is lost as heat, explains Lawrence Burns, professor of engineering practice at the University of Michigan. If the driver weighs 150 pounds (68 kilograms) and the car weighs 3,000 pounds, then only about 1% of the energy is being used to move the driver. “We have to get vehicles more in line with our body weight,” he says.

Lighter materials such as aluminum, carbon fiber, magnesium, composites and steel alloys are gaining favor already, as a way to meet fuel efficiency requirements. Ford’s new F-150 pickup truck , for example, now has an aluminum body, reducing the weight by 700 pounds.

F-150

With nanotechnology, we are able to create new types of materials with new products,” Dr. Burns says.

One reason why consumers shy from lightweight or small vehicles is how they withstand crashes. In the future, connected and driverless vehicles will improve traffic flow and reduce accidents. “We can have cars that don’t crash, so we can get mass out of the car,” Dr. Burns explains.

Connectivity and big data could help in another way: by improving systems for people to share vehicles and to deliver goods more efficiently. A global shift away from cars could save $100 trillion, cut 40% of urban passenger transport emissions and avoid 1.4 million early deaths by 2050, according to a new study.

We not only need to improve the vehicles or fuels, but also to think of the whole transport system and how you can improve services in passenger transport and logistics, making use of information and communications technology,” says Nils-Olof Nylund, research professor at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, which has launched a program to make Finland a model country for sustainable transport by 2020.

In looking at mobility as a service, the goal is to reduce the need for cars and instead increase public transport, walking and biking, he says. Key to public transport are frequency and communication—people don’t like to wait for public transport, especially in bad weather. Knowing exactly when the bus will arrive, thanks to a smartphone app, can eliminate that barrier.

In addition, buses, which run along fixed routes on fixed schedules, are ideal for electrification—charging stations can be located on the routes, Dr. Nylund says.

What I see coming is not one thing but a combination of connected, shared, driverless, tailored vehicles, combined with business models focused on selling miles, trips and experiences, not just cars, gasoline and insurance,” Dr. Burns says. “Technologically, I don’t think there’s anything that stops us from having a dramatically more sustainable transportation system than in the past.”

 

*For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join The Future Realities discussion.

3DEXPERIENCE FORUM: AEC Industry Track Recap

By Akio

AEC leaders gathered in Las Vegas this week to take part in the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM, a unique event that explores innovation across a number of industries.

It was valuable to listen to real practices.”
– 3DXForum AEC track attendee 11/11/14

Collaborative Design and Industrialized Construction

The AEC track on the afternoon of November 11, 2014 inspired participants to take on industry challenges such as providing a high quality experience for tenants while completing under budgets, maintaining sustainability, improving project productivity and efficiency, and ensuring construction worker safety.

Attendees were also encouraged to envision the future of their firms by understanding how Owners, Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Product Manufacturers, and Fabricators can collaborate using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform in a cloud environment to achieve efficient, industrialized construction practices and BIM Level 3 adoptions.

In the opening session, speaker Marty Doscher (Vice President, Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Dassault Systèmes) discussed how 3D adoption has spread through the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry and that now is the time to evolve to BIM Level 3.

This session explained how 3DEXPERIENCE Business Solutions provides the new and innovative scheme of design and construction processes delivering Building Life Cycle Management.

Industrializing Construction: Industry Solutions Based on Best Practices from Manufacturing

Peter Terwilliger (Solution Experience Director, Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Dassault Systèmes) demonstrated Dassault Systèmes Industrialized Construction solutions, featuring project modeling applications built on the cloud-based, collaborative 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform interface is beautiful and looks like easy to use”
– 3DXForum AEC track attendee 11/11/14

The comprehensive project management and execution solutions leverage the power of 3D to efficiently and consistently cover construction project requirements end-to-end, from planning to fabrication.

Lean Construction Industry Solution Experience by Dassault Systèmes Read the rest of this entry »

Top Three Considerations for Planning Your Move to the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

By Matt H.

Over the past year there has been a lot of communication around the new 3DEXPERIENCE platform made available in the R2014x release. Some ENOVIA customers may wonder how this impacts their past investments with Dassault Systèmes. While the R2014x release offers many new benefits to Dassault Systèmes’ customers and upgrading is very similar to past ENOVIA V6 upgrades. The reasons are:

  1. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is an extension to the ENOVIA platform used in previous releases – in other words, both have the same technology foundation.
  2. All V6 commercial licenses from past releases are migrated to R2014x at no charge and in many cases the new licenses have expanded functionality.
  3. As with past releases, a customer can upgrade with the same functional scope or choose to expand their implementation’s scope with new processes for new user roles.

1. 3DEXPERIENCE Platform Technology

The same data model and business process rules that power the 3DEXPERIENCE platform also powered the ENOVIA platform. In fact, the same basic approach also powered the MatrixOne platform. This is why so many of ENOVIA’s current customers have been able to successfully upgrade since their first implementation in the mid to late 1990’s. This evolution of platform technology is best conveyed in the following figure:

The evolution of platform technology by Dassault Systèmes

The evolution of platform technology

While the “engine” of all 3 evolutions of the platform is very similar, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s spans a much broader scope of functionality. In addition to the formal control of product development processes, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform also provides social collaboration and data federation capabilities to either enterprise or public data sources. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform also delivers the latest IT technologies including cloud support and a modern user experience for desktop and mobile devices.

2. License Upgrades

All licenses from past V6 releases are upgraded to R2014x at zero charge as part of the standard V6 maintenance policy. In many cases these upgrades will provide more standard capabilities than customers previously received. For example, the license for Engineering Bill-of-Material Management now includes standard capabilities for managing an approved vendor list, which was previously licensed separately. Another example of the added standard value provided with R2014x is all licenses for managing CAD data now include standard library classification and reuse capabilities. Of course, the best way to learn of the added value of R2014s is to contact a 3DS Sales Executive to arrange a presentation of all the standard benefits in R2014x.

3. Expand and Transform an ENOVIA Implementation w/ R2014x

A customer may choose to upgrade to R2014x just to get the new functionality described in the previous sections. However, over the past few years, ENOVIA has added business processes for many roles beyond PLM’s traditional roots in Engineering and Design departments. Additionally, many of these roles and processes are now uniquely tailored to specific industry needs as delivered in the 3DS Industry Solution Experiences.   The R2014x upgrade is an excellent opportunity to also assess your company’s business goals and determine if there are new processes and user roles that need to be included in the ENOVIA implementation.

Summary

Hopefully, this quick introduction to upgrading to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform has answered many questions, and provides assurance that this upgrade will be similar to all past V6 upgrades. Remember:

  1. The 3DEXPERIENCE represents an evolution of the technology rooted in ENOVIA V6 and the Matrix One platform
  2. Your licenses will migrate to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform – often with additional functionality.
  3. Take advantage of the new technology available in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to solve new business challenges.

We look forward to working with you to help you get the most out of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Be sure to contact one of our solutions experts at enovia.ux.ww@3ds.com for more information.  Additionally, please feel free to comment or ask you questions in the comment section below.

Matthew J. Hall Matthew Hall is the ENOVIA User Advocacy & Social EXPERIENCE Specialist.You can find him on Twitter at @mjhall. Connect with ENOVIA at @3DSENOVIA



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