The roads are clearing up for the widespread use of electric vehicles globally.
Investments in electric vehicle technology continue to grow and access to the resources needed to build lithium batteries is becoming more streamlined. In the U.S. alone, over $73 billion were invested in battery manufacturing alone, as highlighted in a New York Times Op-Ed about the growing popularity of electric vehicles.
Least to say, we are on the precipice of an electric vehicle gold rush.
From batteries that can power trucks and construction equipment to last-mile electric vehicles used for delivery, companies around the world are working toward a more sustainable future through electric energy.
Let’s take a closer look at three pioneering companies making gains in electric vehicle technology.
Battery Immersion Cooling: XING Mobility
XING Mobility partnered with Japanese automotive aftermarket parts supplier, HKS.
XING Mobility is a Taiwanese company that develops and produces modular electric powertrains and battery systems. The batteries can replace diesel-powered engines for commercial and industrial vehicles, making them more sustainable.
The company's objective is to "empower every and any industrial vehicle to go electric," with a focus on the mining, construction, and agricultural industries.
The XING team is also at the forefront of testing out battery immersion cooling systems, which tackles overheating – a common problem in electric vehicle technology. It works by surrounding battery cells with coolant instead of relying on cooling plates or channels. This way, the company said in a press release, the distribution of heat is more even and efficient at cooling.
While going green is a top priority for many industries, XING Mobility co-founder and CTO Azizi Tucker found that energy efficiency rose when using XING’s electric drivetrains.
“Typically, gasoline engines or diesel engines may be in the 20-percent range, but that’s only half the story,” he said. “The real difference comes when we look at idle times. Many commercial vehicles can be idling up to 70 percent of the engine’s running time, just burning fuel while they wait. When electric vehicles are idle, power consumption goes down to virtually zero.”
Taking Flight: BETA Technologies
The wings of BETA’s ALIA aircraft resemble the wings of a migrating seabird.
BETA Technologies will be taking flight near you soon.
The Vermont-based company is developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL or EVA) aircraft for the cargo and logistics market, plus the charging infrastructure needed for recharging the battery. However, in a partnership with Blade Air Mobility, BETA is working to develop aircraft that can serve short-distance commuter and commercial customers as well.
In February 2023, BETA and Blade Air successfully completed a test flight of the ALIA-250 from Plattsburgh, New York, to White Plains, New York, a distance of about 300 miles.
The ALIA-250 takes off and lands vertically, much like a helicopter, and transitions to long-range flight like a plane. Electric aircraft like the ALIA have the same environmental advantages as electric vehicles: no pollutants, no combustion engine, and no burning of fossil fuels. Batteries can be charged at solar-powered stations.
The financial advantages of ownership include decreased maintenance and operating costs because electric planes have significantly fewer parts than traditional ones.
Blade Air is working with BETA toward building a network of dedicated terminals that use passenger-configured ALIA aircraft for routes in the U.S.
Tiny Vehicles, Big Impact: evTS
The FireFly is highly maneuverable in narrow urban spaces.
Tiny vehicles have big advantages in the narrow streets found in cities – especially if they’re battery-ran.
Take the FireFlyESV, a compact three-wheel electric utility vehicle that can easily get through congested streets found in any major city. evTS, the Boston-based developer behind the Firefly, primarily serves government and educational institutions, along with the last-mile delivery market for food and packages.
Since evTS serves a wide range of markets, each utility vehicle can be customized depending on the needs of the customer.
evTS also offers a “transportation-as-a-service” model that is attractive to government organizations and companies, which can choose to pay a monthly service fee. That fee includes the vehicles, charging stations, electricity, insurance, and regular repair and maintenance costs.
In 2023, the company secured orders for the U.S. Veterans Affairs Hospital in Salisbury, North Carolina. In 2022, FireFly vehicles will be distributed in the U.K. with hopes for European adoption.
Powering the Future of Electric
All these companies (and more!) are leveraging the power of the Onshape cloud-native platform to streamline workflows and create efficient development processes to innovate in electric vehicle technology.
From touting the sharing and collaboration features to the intuitive PDM (product data management) capabilities, Onshape is becoming the CAD platform of choice for companies seeking to iterate quickly and innovate continuously.
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