On September 16, 2020, the Global New Energy Vehicle Supply Chain Innovation Conference was held at the Nanjing International Expo Center. Not only were well-known domestic and foreign original equipment manufacturers and component companies in attendance, but also experts and scholars from the automotive industry, as well as representatives from relevant government departments.
At the conference, Wang Binggang, the leader of the National New Energy Vehicle Innovation Project Expert Group, gave a speech on “Exploring the Technological Path of Energy Saving and New Energy Vehicle Supply Chain.”
The following is a summary of the key points of the speech:
During the previous stage, I participated in the development of version 2.0 of the “Energy-saving and New Energy Vehicle Technology Roadmap” organized by the Automotive Engineering Society. Now, the development of our new energy vehicles has reached an important node. We have been working on this for nearly 10 years, and our country plans to achieve this by 2035. Therefore, how we should proceed in the next 15 years is something that the whole country is paying close attention to.
Last month, version 2.0 of the “Energy-saving and New Energy Vehicle Technology Roadmap” was approved by experts and is expected to be officially released soon. Next, I would like to closely combine some technological routes related to the development of energy-saving and new energy vehicles and the industrial chain, and share some of the ideas we have gathered in the development of the roadmap with everyone.
China Should Develop New Energy Vehicles and Energy-saving Vehicles in Tandem
Regardless of development plans or projections in the roadmap, by 2035, energy-saving vehicles and new energy vehicles will each account for about half of the vehicles. It should be said that by then, the automotive industry should be able to realize the transformation to electrification. Therefore, everyone agrees that we need to pay equal attention to the transformation of traditional vehicles. That is, these two matters should be tackled together.
The expert group does not recommend abandoning traditional vehicles for three reasons:
China has a vast territory, and its geography, climate, roads, and usage environment are very complex. Multiple automotive technologies and diversified energy structures may be more suitable for China.
China is a large energy-consuming country, and only diversified energy can be safer for China’s transportation energy. Relying solely on electricity or oil is dangerous.
China’s electricity is still mainly generated by coal. According to the electricity department’s plan, coal will still account for around half of electricity generation by 2035. In addition, coal is not only an energy source but also a precious material resource. The world still has abundant oil and gas resources that we can utilize.
So, based on these three reasons, energy-saving and new energy vehicles should develop in tandem in the next 15 years.
To Make Vehicles Energy-efficient, They Need to Develop Hybridization
There are a large number of traditional vehicles, and petroleum imports in China are very high, with a large proportion consumed by automobiles. Therefore, energy-saving of traditional vehicles is a very important task, also to fulfill our commitments to energy conservation and emission reduction on an international level.From the current point of view, the most effective way is to use a hybrid powertrain. Although many enterprises and research institutions have made new achievements in the efficiency of internal combustion engines, most of them are of academic value, and the engineering value is not significant. Therefore, the expert group believes that in the next 15 years, it is necessary to fully transform to hybrid powertrain. Therefore, we propose that in the future, all vehicles should be electrified to replace the fuel ban, which may be more in line with the national situation.
What will the comprehensive electrification bring?
Today we are talking about the industry chains of intelligent connected vehicles, several industry chains. In fact, the entire automotive industry should be a complete industry chain, if we take electrification as the overall thinking of the entire automotive development, the industry chain of the entire automotive industry is integrated and overlapped, and it is a complete industry chain, not divided into industry chains based on vehicle types.
The six core technologies of energy-saving vehicles: hybrid powertrain, integration technology, special engine technology, special power coupling mechanism technology, high-performance motor technology, and high-level power-type battery technology (electronic control system technology). Plug-in hybrid powertrain and hybrid powertrain are largely repeated. From this point, everyone can see that if traditional vehicles move towards hybridization, they will largely overlap with the technology of new energy vehicles.
Therefore, comprehensive electrification can eliminate the boundaries of the traditional (new energy) vehicle technology system, build a new overall technology architecture and industrial chain layout for the Chinese automotive industry, and help form a comprehensive thinking and layout for the development of China’s automotive industry.
Firmly adhere to the pure electric powertrain strategy
From a global perspective, pure electric powertrain is developing best in China. We have made very good development in the electronic control technology brought by pure electric powertrain, and have played a great role in promoting and guiding the global development of electric vehicles. Therefore, we should adhere to it.
China’s new energy vehicles will enter the rapid development period
To welcome the rapid development period, the industrial chain needs to be well planned and opportunities should not be missed. Has the new energy vehicle already reached the turning point of the S-shaped curve of a typical emerging industry, from the period when the government incentive policy was the main to the market-oriented period? This means that new energy vehicles will enter a period of rapid development, and everyone should be prepared for it in the future.
The industrial chain layout of power batteries should take into account technological progress and market needs
Any type of vehicle, as long as it is electrically driven, cannot do without power batteries and motors, and power batteries are our core. When discussing battery technology, our expert group has undergone great changes. In the past, our roadmaps were mainly based on energy density, such as when it reached 300, 400, 500 Wh/kg, and the initial technology roadmap for 2035 was based on this thinking.
However, after repeated discussions by the expert group, it is believed that this thinking still needs to be adjusted and changed. Power battery technology needs to consider diversity, including energy-type, power-type, and energy-power comprehensive type. Power-type needs to be taken into account. As hybrid powertrain is power-type, once hybrid powertrain develops massively, the demand for power-type batteries will be very large, but what we are doing now is mostly energy-type.Consider the market demand and the proposed roadmap, which presents a unique approach. We propose three types of batteries for electric vehicles: the popular type, the commercial type, and the high-end type. These three types of batteries have different requirements for performance, lifespan, and cost. Batteries are not a single technology mode or characteristic. Instead, they should be determined based on the development needs of vehicles. This is an important consideration in the technology roadmap for electric vehicles. It proposes the requirements of batteries from the diversity of automotive development.
The electric drive system is the centerpiece of the future automobile industry supply chain. According to the previous statement, traditional cars and new energy vehicles will merge to become electric-drive, achieving comprehensive electrification. The electric drive system is the core technology of the entire automotive industry in the future.
Based on the characteristics of new energy vehicles and market demand, we can construct the infrastructure for charging and swapping. China’s infrastructure must be diversified, and different types of vehicles require different infrastructure, including private, dispersed facilities. Centralized public charging systems must be developed, and we are currently discussing how swapping should be conducted. Some people believe that swapping will replace charging in the future. However, the expert group believes that while swapping is a very good basic infrastructure model, it is not the only option. It may be more suitable for certain types of vehicles but not necessarily for all types.
In China, diversified infrastructure models should be able to develop under the market’s demands, providing safer, more economical, and more convenient services. Strategic development is having electric vehicles interact with the power grid as an important consideration in the infrastructure.
Intelligent network connection technology affects all types of vehicles. Intelligent network-connected vehicles originated from traditional cars. It integrates technologies from various fields, such as automotive, information communication, and transportation facilities. This is not something that the automotive industry can accomplish alone.
In the intelligent network connection chapter, we constructed a matrix. The expert group believes that this will bring new changes and opportunities to the automotive industry’s development. To allow it to bear fruit, the automotive industry needs to closely cooperate with the information industry and transportation systems, strengthen communication, and establish an autonomous industrial chain system.
China’s automotive industry’s foundations are still weak, with many shortcomings that are the “bottleneck” and often found in foreign domestic enterprises. While we are open to the development of Chinese auto industry, it should be a global industry that plays a role in China. So, it is essential to break through basic common technical issues.We regard the Chinese market as a global competitive arena. Through competition, the Chinese automotive industry can be strengthened. To achieve this goal, we cannot only focus on complete vehicles, but must also include the foundation. Today’s conference has an industry chain theme. I made an appeal from the podium, hoping that investors and industry insiders would pay more attention to our foundation.
The above is a summary of all the content released by Wang Binggang at the meeting.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.