Industrial and commercial electric vehicles: see the future
Those selling components and subsystems should look at industrial and commercial electric vehicles before other electric vehicles. The IDTechEx report Industrial and Commercial Hybrid and Pure Electric Vehicles 2015-2025 now finds that Industrial and Commercial Electric Vehicles operating on land will constitute a huge 42% of the value market for electric vehicles, land, water and airborne in 2025.
They will lead cars in both gross sales and profitability and they have another vital characteristic: they see the future. Because such vehicles are bought by organisations not individuals, they are not bought on price but rather on total cost of ownership and performance, including green credentials. That means they can innovate first in many cases.
The only volume success of fuel cell vehicles has been about 8000 forklifts in the USA, many being sold without the crutch of subsidies and tax breaks. A few years later and the first fuel cell car has appeared on open sale this year - the Toyota Mirai. Most of the companies readying energy harvesting shock absorbers have targeted large vehicles such as buses first. Switched reluctance traction motors can be small, powerful and reliable but the control electronics has been expensive and complex. They first appeared on John Deere agricultural equipment some years ago then later in cars. AC induction asynchronous traction motors appeared first on forklifts before being adopted in cars.
Setting the record for safe deployment of the largest lithium-ion batteries are mining and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUVs (pure electric) and where do you see in-wheel motors and a solar roof on the leading model in a given sector? No, not cars where they are still to have volume success but on the best-selling pure electric bus in the world, the BYD B9 in China.
Next generation charging
Buses have used contactless charging for years while we await it in cars. Indeed some commercial vehicles demonstrate dynamic charging without stopping and only buses currently run in the hundreds with the more reliable and longer-lived supercapacitors in place of lithium-ion batteries. Charging in seconds with 400 kW? That is the TOSA bus system of ABB. Cars have nothing like that.
Multiple energy harvesting
1.5 kW thermoelectric harvesting is being trialled first on giant Komatsu construction vehicles which already pioneer use of water-cooled supercapacitors to harvest braking of rotation and drop. Commercial vehicles such as off-road golf carts rented out by golf clubs and commercial inland boats have charging from sunshine on the vehicle roof and nothing else. The industrial VineRobot in a European Commission program will inspect vines, propelling itself alone purely on sunshine. Private cars that do that are planned for a few years from now.
New range extenders and power electronics
Range extenders on the increasingly favoured series hybrid powertrains of EVs are usually piston engines not usually designed for the task - at least if you talk cars. However, some buses and trucks have used gas turbine range extenders for up to a decade or more. Next generation range extenders will arrive in cars but later. Indeed, the new Mirai is really a hybrid car with a fuel cell range extender. The silicon carbide inverters that permit longer range by lightweighting and better efficiency are appearing first on industrial and commercial vehicles and military vehicles.
This year IDTechEx forecasts in eleven categories of Industrial and Commercial vehicles and discusses taxis but they are mainly regular hybrid cars. They have studied the needs, technology and markets in unprecedented detail. They give number, price and market value for Indoor forklift/intralogistics, Outdoor forklift/intralogistics, Mining, Construction and Agriculture, Heavy mobile cranes, Buses under 8 tonnes, Buses over 8 tonnes, Delivery trucks & other on-road, Airport, Indoor cranes/platform lifters and Off-road other. In addition, an extensive components chapter explains why most are changing radically and merging and new forms are being added such as energy harvesting and new range extenders. IDTechEx give a variety of manufacturer profiles. For those wanting to drill down into important sub sectors, IDTechEx has reports on Electric Buses 2015-2025 and Electric Vehicles for Construction, Mining and Agriculture 2015-2025 .
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Top image: American Forklifts