Conference Paper

Vehicle Electrification - Quo Vadis? / Fahrzeugelektrifizierung - Quo Vadis?

Conference: 33rd International Vienna Motor Symposium 2012 / 33. Internationales Wiener Motorensymposium 2012, Volume: Fortschritt-Berichte VDI, Reihe 12 (Verkehrstechnik/Fahrzeugtechnik), Nr. 749, vol. 1, p. 186–215, ISBN 978-3-18-374912-6

ABSTRACT This publication describes the development of electrified propulsion systems from the invention of the automobile to the present and then provides an outlook on expected technology progress. Vehicle application areas for the various systems are identified based on a range of energy supply chains and the technological limits of electric powertrain components. GM anticipates that vehicle electrification will increase in the future. Battery-electric vehicles will become competitive for some applications, especially intra-urban, short-distance driving. Range-extended electric vehicles provide longer driving range and offer full capability; with this technology, electric vehicles can serve as the prime vehicle for many customers. Hydrogen-powered fuel cell-electric powertrains have potential for application across most of the vehicle segments. They produce zero emissions during all phases of operation, offer short refueling times, but have powertrain cooling and hydrogen storage packaging constraints. While the market share of electrified vehicles is expected to increase significantly, GM expects conventional powertrains with internal combustion engines to also have a long future – however, a lot of them will be supported by various levels of electrification.

-- Kurzfassung: Die Entwicklung der elektrischen Fahrzeugantriebe von der Erfindung des Kraftfahrzeugs bis zur Gegenwart wird in dieser Veröffentlichung beschrieben und es wird ein Ausblick auf den zu erwartenden Fortschritt gegeben. Unter Berücksichtigung der Randbedingungen verschiedener Energieketten und technischer Grenzen aller Systemkomponenten eines elektrischen Antriebsstrangs werden sinnvolle Einsatzfelder elektrifizierter Fahrzeugantriebe aufgezeigt. In Zukunft werden die Antriebstränge zunehmend elektrifiziert. In einigen Anwendungen werden batterieelektrische Fahrzeuge wettbewerbsfähig, was besonders für den Einsatz im städtischen Kurzstreckenverkehr gilt. Für solche Anwendungsfälle eignen sich Fahrzeugkonzepte vom Kleinwagen bis zum Stadtbus. Elektrofahrzeuge mit Reichweitenverlängerung erlauben weitere Fahrtstrecken und können somit vollwertige Erstfahrzeuge darstellen. Dadurch wird das Elektrofahrzeug für größere Kundengruppen einsetzbar. Wasserstoffbetriebene Brennstoffzellenfahrzeuge fahren jederzeit ohne lokale Emissionen und lassen sich schnell betanken. Die Anwendung der Brennstoffzellentechnologie ist für die meisten Fahrzeugsegmente sinnvoll und im wesentlichen technisch nur durch die notwendigen Baugrößen der Antriebskühlung und der Wasserstoffspeicher für besonders hohe Anforderungen begrenzt. General Motors ist davon überzeugt, dass der Marktanteil der elektrischen Antriebe signifikant zunehmen wird, geht aber auch davon aus, dass die konventionellen Antriebe mit Verbrennungsmotoren noch eine lange Zukunft haben – wenn auch viele eine Unterstützung durch Hybridisierung erhalten werden.


Questions & Answers about this publication

  • Ulrich Eberle added an answer in Electric Vehicles:
    Can anyone help me to find the distribution percentile of NiMH, Li-ion, LiPO, etc... in electric vehicle?

    I'd like to have an idea on the distribution of these technologies in modern EV.

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

    Ulrich Eberle · General Motors Company

    Julien, I can only second Markus Lienkamp's point considering modern EVs (covering not only pure battery EVs, but also valid for extended-range EVs). Various aspects of vehicle electrification are discussed in the conference paper attached below. The piece is also providing some insight into battery technology progress over recent decades and a conservative forecast. Also please find attached a paper on the technology status of electric energy storage considering the first generation of the propulsion system of the Chevy Volt.

  • Ulrich Eberle added an answer in Battery Technology:
    What are the new developments in battery technology and its applications?
    Batteries have been used for ages to power different types of appliances. Man cannot imagine life without batteries. The battery technology is bound to take a big leap in the future as scientists become more concerned with environmental issues. The major improvement aspects that the scientists are now considering include mobility, lifespan and efficiency.
    Ulrich Eberle · General Motors Company
    Although batteries really provide great promise for future applications, huge leaps are unfortunately quite rare, at least when discussing battery energy density, since its very invention 200 years ago.

    If you are interested in some aspects of automotive battery technology, you might find the link below to a paper prepared for the 33rd Vienna Motor Symposium helpful.
  • Ulrich Eberle added an answer in Hybrid Vehicles:
    On the design of a hybrid vehicle with electric traction - any thoughts?
    We still live in the era of oil and gasoline powered or diesel powered (or more recently, ethanol powered) cars. We already have idea how should be the next generation of automobiles. But how will be the car for the intermediate phase?
    I think it should be a car with electric traction, with batteries, with a small or micro internal combustion engine only to recharge the batteries.
    I think it could be a car like today's electric cars, equipped with a gasoline engine with maybe 5 hp and a fuel tank with a capacity of perhaps 20 liters. Thus it would be possible to overcome the current limitation of autonomy of electric automobiles.
    This suggestion is not accidentally simple. It is simple because the automotive industry is very slow to introduce effective changes.
    Ulrich Eberle · General Motors Company
    the attached link regarding vehicle electrification might be of interest to you.
    Best Regards
  • Ulrich Eberle added an answer in Fuel Cells:
    What are the different fuel options?
    Which fuel is most popular?
    Ulrich Eberle · General Motors Company
    Dear Kari,

    The question which fuel is optimal is highly depending on the specific application and is in any case highly complex. The complete chain from the production of the energy carrier to the specific end-application has to be considered.

    Even if we single out automotive applications, there is no "silver bullet" to solve all specific challenges for all vehicle types and driving profiles at the same time.

    To my knowledge, the most comprehensive study on well-to-wheel efficiencies in a European context is the so called Eucar/Concawe/JRC study by the automotive and oil industry in collaboration with the EU Joint Research Center. The most recent version of the study may be downloaded on the web pages of the JRC:

    A brief overview on the history and future prospects of powertrain electrification, in particular in comparison with liquid and gaseous fuels, is to be found as an attached link. Hopefully, that paper is interesting to you.

    Best Regards

  • Ulrich Eberle added an answer in Energy Storage:
    Chemical Energy Storage
    I am working on a project to compare the different chemical energy storage technologies ( production of Synthetic natural gas, Dimethyl ether and Mthanol from biomass by hydrogasification) . The electrolysis is considered as source of H2 and O2 .

    I would apperciate to have your comments and suggestions regarding this:

    Anybody worked on this practically?

    What could be the main reasons of acceptance or rejection at industrial scale?
    Ulrich Eberle · General Motors Company
    Dear Shahid, the industry's gold standard regarding well-to-wheel efficiencies for automotive energy carriers is the so called Eucar/Concawe/JRC study. This is a comprehensive joint study conducted by the European automotive industry, energy companies and the central research center of the European Union. This assessment is regularly updated by the consortium.

    You will find a reference to that study and hopefully some further interesting information when you access the following link: