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View Poll Results: Do you think EVs are easy to Conceptualize and Build ground up?
Yes 130 76.92%
No 39 23.08%
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Old 29th November 2019, 17:38   #1
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Default Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Do you think EVs are easy to conceptualize and build?

I personally think , conventional ICE engine technology is way more complex owing to engineering involved in engine and gearbox build. With EVs, the two most complex ingredients of a vehicle build are 'taken care'.

When I refer to as 'taken care' : I'm referring to Battery Pack and Electric Motors. Which are fairly standard and are not as complex as building an ICE engine - which has complex moving parts and lubrication system - as it is taxed with generating it's own power on board.

Probably this is the reason we see so many home grown start-ups coming up with credible offerings [EV Bikes/Scooters like Emflux, Ather and Ultraviolette and Truck like IPLT]. I'm not referring to China/foreign imports being marketed here.

On the other hand, since this is a new/unexplored territory for everybody including most of the automobile giants, it provides a level playing field for all. What do you think!?

Last edited by somspaple : 29th November 2019 at 17:51.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 10:02   #2
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Electric Car Section. Thanks for sharing!

Voted for YES!

The best giveaway is perhaps the large number of EV manufacturers we've seen in the last 5 years for four & two wheels, both. They easily outnumber the total number of fresh brands we've seen in the last 20 - 30 years.

EVs are way simpler than petrol / diesel cars to design and produce & they have GREATLY reduced the barriers to entry. Who was the last American manufacturer to launch before Tesla? Right, decades ago. China is seriously leading the charge in terms of manufacturing capacity and IMHO, they might end up as the world's supplier of batteries, electric motors, controllers etc. China will make these parts commodities just like computer RAM, hard-drives, motherboards & CPUs are today.

Any new brand will only have to worry about the design, packaging & marketing. The mechanicals will be readily available in the market. In a Dell computer, most of the "engine" comes from Intel, Samsung & the like. It'll become the same for mass market EVs.

Last edited by GTO : 3rd December 2019 at 10:03.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 10:24   #3
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Here's an interesting take on the topic. (Source)

Quote:
Itís a myth that electric cars are easier to assemble than internal-combustion-engine cars. Theyíre not. Nor is it true that EVs have fewer parts than ICEs. They donít. Yet automakers say EVs will eliminate a lot of manufacturing jobs. And theyíre right. Many factories making traditional powertrain components are threatened by electric cars.

Electric advocates often claim EVs are easier to make because they use fewer parts compared with traditional cars and trucks. But a recent tour of the Magna Steyr assembly plant in Graz, Austria, shows thatís not the case. The plant makes the Jaguar I-Pace (electric) and Jaguar E-Pace (ICE) on the same line. Both cars use about the same number of assembly stations and line workers.

While EVs lack gas tanks and fuel lines, radiators, hoses, exhaust pipes and mufflers, they do require other assembly steps that piston engines donít.For example, the installation of the battery pack on the I-Pace requires two separate assembly stations that are part of a feeder line located off the main assembly line.

The battery pack is a massive part lifted into place from under the car, then secured with multiple bolts to become a structural member of the chassis. Once the pack is installed, the vehicle moves to a second station where more workers connect wires and perform quality checks. It is a more complicated process than installing the gas tank on a piston-engine car.

Moreover, with the I-Pace, the installation of the electric motor requires more line workers than installing the gasoline or diesel engines in the E-Pace. Both vehicles use a modular cradle which includes the engine, transmission and front suspension. The cradle is fed in from under the car, then bolted into place.

While it takes 4 workers to install the module with a piston engine, it takes 6 to install the one with an electric motor. That is partly due to the design of the air suspension on the electric I-Pace, which is more complicated than the simpler strut suspension on the E-Pace. Even so, installing the electric motor module requires 50% more labor input.

Even though conventionally powered vehicles require the installation of components not needed with electric vehicles, EVs require extra assembly steps of their own. In the end, both types use about the same number of assembly stations and line workers. The claim that all electric cars are much easier to build just isnít true. EV proponents point out electric motors have far fewer components than a piston engine, and thatís correct. But it is a misleading apples-to-oranges comparison because it does not include all the parts of an electric propulsion system.

A battery pack, for example, can contain nearly as many parts as a piston engine. Munro and Associates, which specializes in tearing down and benchmarking cars, says that on a system-to-system comparison, EVs and ICE-powered vehicles have about the same part count.

Even so, EVs will eliminate a lot of factory jobs. While battery packs are complex systems that can contain thousands of individual cells, they are very different from the components needed for an ICE. The engineering skills needed to design them, the materials and the manufacturing processes used to make them, are completely different. Companies that are adept at making crankshafts, pistons, spark plugs, radiators and so many other traditional components have no role to play in an electric world.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 14:37   #4
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jailbird_fynix View Post
Here's an interesting take on the topic. (Source)
There are 2 points to note here:
1. This snippet speaks about assembly line. So unless it is an exotic, most of the ICE[Internal Combustion Engine] come pre-built to assembly line. But it is the complexity of ICE and Gearbox design and construction that is a big entry barrier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
..
EVs are way simpler than petrol / diesel cars to design and produce & they have GREATLY reduced the barriers to entry.
Exactly!

2. Also, it outlines a different topic about the effort required at assembly. But ICE/GB require a large set ancillary industry when compared to an Electric motor.

Last edited by somspaple : 3rd December 2019 at 14:40.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 16:23   #5
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Votes Yes.

My response is not related to new EV's, but retrofitting existing ICE to EV's. I have seen many people on YouTube converting ICE to EV's by using just below components
  • Electric Motor
  • Wiring Kit
  • Controller
  • Battery

This may not be true for manufacturing an EV from scratch. There are already many conversion kits available in market today for 2 and 4 wheeler's. Start-up companies like e-Trio and BharatMobi have already started converting Alto's, Swift's etc to EV.

Last edited by ramnaresh_2000 : 3rd December 2019 at 16:24. Reason: Typo
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Old 3rd December 2019, 17:04   #6
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
[b]

The best giveaway is perhaps the large number of EV manufacturers we've seen in the last 5 years for four & two wheels, both. They easily outnumber the total number of fresh brands we've seen in the last 20 - 30 years.
I have a different point of view on the above thought. Consider the early part if the 19th century when ICE engine automobiles were being developed, every city in Michigan had a car company, Pontiac, Plymouth, dodge, AMC and many more.

The reason i went back to the early 19th century was because that was when the internal combustion engine revolution took place and a similar renaissance is happening in the electric vehicle industry hence a large number of players. Eventually the players will shake out and the fittest will remain or merge.

Making an electric car can be less or more complex based on the car and the kit that it contains, Kaiyun a Chinese car make that hopes to sell its car in US for 7000 USD surely will have lesser complexity than a Taycan.

I also believe that as the technology progresses it will become more complex, gear boxes will be developed that can transfer the power better. Technology to reduce transfer losses will come into play. Battery technology may improve, a completely different technology may come into play for energy storage.

As i digress from the matter at hand let me come back and say that i voted Yes to the poll with the example of 2 wheeler industry.

Ather - a scooter company is using Mahle as its propulsion system and a custom packged Li-Ion power source, with batteries procured from a third party vendor. The IP that comes into play for them is more in the Battery Management System, the diagnostics and other connected systems. Strip out some of the Frills like the the sensors, the connected tech the scooter has lesser moving parts than Activa.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 17:11   #7
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Yes it is relatively easier to conceptualize and build EVs. That's why I have renewed my dream of designing and building a car some day
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Old 3rd December 2019, 18:21   #8
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Voted yes.

Open source EV designs are coming up on the internet, namely Open motors.

Such trends on internet definitely indicate that building EVs are simpler than ICE vehicles. EV startups sprouting all over the country also support this trend.

However, one must consider that only battery, motor and controllers can get commoditized. Chassis, suspension, braking, vehicle body and many other important parts will still need to be designed for every particular model. These remain as complex as before.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 19:06   #9
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Another interesting development will be success of the Teslas Cybertruck and it's design language taking off. Cybertruck-like car can be made just with sheet metal bending, no moulds or deep drawing sheet metals (no curved glass either). This should bring down the R&D cost significantly (unless one is trying to make it 'sledge hammer proof)
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Old 3rd December 2019, 20:31   #10
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

As sreedotk correctly points out it may seem EVs are simple today at the start of the EV story. Like with cars so with aircraft. In the first 60 years of the 20th century we had literally well over 100 companies designing and building aircraft. As what was expected from an aircraft got more demanding the number settled to a low 2-digit figure. Similarly what is expected from an EV will rise rapidly over the next ten years. Lifelong batteries, recyclable batteries, motors with super low resistance, fire safety etc. Building a basic EV might be simple but the demand for more green, more recyclable EVs will need huge investments in research which will knock out the smaller players unless that research is done by Govt bodies and shared universally at least with companies of that country.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 3rd December 2019 at 20:33.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 20:59   #11
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Let me turn the question around - If manufacturers bought engines from an established supplier (almost the case here in India at one time, with the Fiat MultiJet), then would all cars using that engine be essentially identical?

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Old 3rd December 2019, 21:58   #12
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Let me turn the question around - If manufacturers bought engines from an established supplier (almost the case here in India at one time, with the Fiat MultiJet), then would all cars using that engine be essentially identical?

Regards
Sutripta
I think still IC engines complicates car design due to weight of engine, mounting of engine, vibrations from engine, routing of transmission, various sensors and what not. Car dynamics due to engine weight, safety ratings, collapsible engine during accidents and many more such complication kick in.

In the case of EV, skateboard constructions reduces all the complexities though not completely eliminating. It is almost like we are moving towards ladder and frame.
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Old 4th December 2019, 10:58   #13
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sreedotk View Post
I have a different point of view on the above thought.
...

I also believe that as the technology progresses it will become more complex, gear boxes will be developed that can transfer the power better. Technology to reduce transfer losses will come into play. Battery technology may improve, a completely different technology may come into play for energy storage.
...
The point you made is quite logical and sound practical given the history of ICE evolution. However, there is a fundamental difference in EV technology, that is the use of electronics to do a lot of important stuff.

For one, its unlikely that gear boxes will be designed to better power transfer. Power characteristics will most likely be built into the motor controller. Motor controller is nothing but an electronic black box. There is a great possibility that many ready to use motor controllers for varying purposes will emerge, and these will be available in a ready to use manner.

BLDC hub motors are gaining huge popularity in two wheeler segment. Once the issue of unsprung weight is addressed a little better, they would become commonplace in cars also. These are direct fitments and do not need any prop shaft, live axle, differential etc. Building all wheel drive vehicles become trivial with hub motors by fitting hub motors.

The battery, charging and discharging management systems, heat dissipation systems also will get standardized over time. Evolution or even revolution in battery technology is a sure thing, but that does not change these factors much. As volumes build up, integrated battery systems with all the four components (power storage, charge and discharge management system, heat management system) integrated into one plug and play system may emerge. This too shall reduce the need for a great deal of custom design.

Someone intending to make an EV will just need to design the chassis, suspension and braking, keeping only the load and usage scenario as special inputs. Regenerative braking is a available as a feature in most of the low cost controllers even today. One would just need to slap on a friction brake system.

Many other aspects like ABS, electronic brake force distribution, traction control, dynamic all wheel drive systems etc can be built using electronics alone. While much open source option does not exist for these things at this moment, there is a solid possibility that the situation will change for better in coming days.

The scenario will undergo a huge revolution when startups like Open Motors achieve traction and battery manufactures start to standardize the form factor to enable easy swaps.

I am certainly oversimplifying things way too much. The practical scene will be a lot more complex. However, it is certain the entry barrier into the EV manufacturing space will reduce a great deal.

Lastly, ICE ecosystem evolved before the internet age. Access to knowledge back then wasn't like it is now. This helped the large manufacturers to gain and retain a significant upper hand over smaller players even with pretty small innovations. In this age of free knowledge, culture of open sourcing and Chinese clone manufacturing prowess, protecting IP for small items is not going to be worth the cost.


Finally, a out of topic and wistful thought. What if government build a few 100 Kilometers of testing tracks/roads at 5-6 locations across the country and allowed Ev startups to use them without needing them to go through extensive ARAI process for test vehicles!
This could just provide the spark needed to ignite the piled up "barood" of indian innovation and ingenuity.

Last edited by sen2009 : 4th December 2019 at 11:01.
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Old 15th December 2019, 13:13   #14
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

Voted a yes. In fact conversion kits should be made popular and affordable like the one bosch made for baleno.

Why do we need to scrap 20 or 30 year old cars whose structures are holding up. Rather convert them to electric for city runs.

Good for the cars and good for the environment(if electric cars are actually sustainable}.
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Old 15th December 2019, 16:21   #15
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Default Re: Are Electric Vehicles easier to conceptualize & build?

I feel, it's easy to build an EV, than a conventional IC vehicle.
We have only 4 main challenges in EV.

1) Light platform, many already have it.
2) High capacity battery.
3) Capable motor.
4) Fast charging Technology.

Rest are pretty straight forward.
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