The transportation sector is one of the main consumers of energy in the U.S.; it is second only to the electric power sector, accounting for 28% and 40% of the total energy consumption, respectively, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, transportation remains largely dependent on petroleum products that provide 92% of the energy. As a result, the transportation sector has recently exceeded the electric power sector in terms of CO2 emissions.
Electrifying the transportation sector is a proactive strategy with strong projected environmental, economic, and customer benefits. Electrified transportation significantly reduces the tank-to-wheel and well-to-wheel energy consumption and cuts the CO2 emissions by 51% (based on the current U.S. energy mix) to 98% (based on the current Swedish energy mix). As federal, state, and local legislatures are increasingly pushing for stricter fuel economy and air quality regulations, electrification is a prime candidate to satisfy upcoming requirements. Furthermore, electric vehicles have demonstrated the ability to exceed the performance of conventional vehicles. As of 2017, the 3 fastest accelerating vehicles (in 0-60mph timings) feature various degrees of drivetrain electrification, and the 0-60mph world record is held by a prototype with electric drivetrain. These are the statistics that attract the attention of the general public, however, they have been technically achievable for many years now. The key challenges to the inception of more electrified transportation are the various energy storage and conversion mediums, electro-chemical batteries and fuel cells being two examples, cost effective power-train components, i.e. machine and power conversion electronics, and the impact of the move of transportation energy to national electrical utilities.
In recent years, electrified transportation evolved significantly, with the appearance of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles and a 160% annual market growth. Electric vehicle technologies are progressing rapidly. New battery technologies are being studied and the battery costs have decreased by ~80% since 2010. Furthermore, the power electronic technologies are evolving which result in improved grid interfaces for fast-charging. Wide-bandgap switching technologies reduce the weight and volume of the drivetrain and are predicted to make a market entry in 2019.
This forum discusses challenges and trends in electrified vehicle technologies, such as power conversion and energy storage, the grid integration of electrified transportation and transportation policies, that pave the way for a higher penetration of electrified transportation.