Electric vehicles | EnVisioneering Exchange podcast ep. 11

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Guest bio

Ian Stonington, Marketing Manager for Danfoss Editron, has been in the electric vehicle industry since 2012. Much of that time has been with UQM Technologies, which was acquired by Danfoss Editron in mid-2019. Stonington’s previous positions include Account Manager and Global Sales Account Manager. Stonington is passionate about electrification and what the future of the industry can offer the world in terms of improved energy management.

Episode summary

John meets with Ian Stonington to discuss electric vehicles (EVs). Their conversation focuses on two major options in the EV industry: those with traditional battery-power and hydrogen fuel cells. In addition to explaining the various benefits offered by EVs (better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, etc.), Ian also delves into different regulations and policies throughout the world that push for vehicle electrification.

Main points

  • Energy supply is one of the most important issues facing the planet. Electrification is one way to address that challenge.
  • Electric vehicles (EVs) can be thought of as electric drive systems (a motor plus an inverter), making them similar to traditional vehicles, just without an internal combustion engine, which is the least efficient part of a traditional vehicle.
  • EVs as part of a fleet have a lot to offer, on top of the environmental benefits. In one example, Proterra, an EV busing company produced a study showing that by switching from diesel to EVs, a customer’s average fuel cost goes from about $1/mile to 6¢/mile.1
  • The National Zero-Emissions Truck Coalition (ZET) was started by CALSTART in California before pushing their message nationwide.
  • California recently passed regulations for half of all trucks to be at zero emissions by 2035 and all trucks by 2045. This goal can only be met with the use of electrification.
  • An estimated quarter of all greenhouse gas emission in the US come from transportation. Of that, the majority come from commercial vehicles.
  • One opportunity available to companies with fleet vehicles is to retrofit or “repower” their vehicles into EVs.
  • Repowering vehicles typically cost 1/3 of buying a new EV.
  • While batteries are often talked about, hydrogen fuel cells are another important area of innovation within the subject of electrification.
  • An example of one type is the compressor fuel cell system. In it, a compressor blows air into a fuel cell stack to induce a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, thereby creating energy.
  • The largest barrier to using fuel cells is the lack of infrastructure, especially with cars.
  • One available option is a hybrid system—combining battery-powered systems with fuel cell technology.
  • Marine vehicles are especially good candidates for fuel cells because they are able to refuel substantially faster than traditional EVs while still cutting emissions.
  • Other countries are including electrification even more than the US.
    • China’s 13th Five-year Plan allots significant subsidies for hydrogen fuel cells.
    • The central government of India sanctioned more than 5,000 buses for 65 cities. One major motivating factor was energy independence and security.
    • Because more than 50% of the population of India travel primarily by bus, the growing trend of electrification is significantly reducing air pollution in that nation.
  • While the US is behind much of the world in terms of vehicle electrification, part of that is due to geography and our reliance on cars. Despite the challenges, the future is one of electrification.

1Numbers are pulled from Proterra’s website and differ slightly from those provided by Stonington. For more information visit https://www.proterra.com/vehicles/catalyst-electric-bus/fuel-economy/

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Learn more about fuel cell compressor systems

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For more information and additional episodes of the Envisioneering Exchange podcast, visit https://www.danfoss.com/en-us/about-danfoss/insights-for-tomorrow/envisioneering-exchange/

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