Progetto di veicoli futuri, un pensiero per 2050.
Greg Offer è un giovane ricercatore a capo di un gruppo dinamico nel Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica, eppure guarda già lontano 2050 su un futuro progetto di veicoli. Offerta crede l'elettrificazione dei veicoli stradali, and consequently a move away from the combustion engine, will happen during his lifetime.
Offer is agnostic about which technology succeeds the combustion engine. “I don’t want to pick a winner,” il programma ha inventato nuove combinazioni di sequenze che non assomigliano a nulla che si trovi in natura: ha dedotto un modo completamente unico per risolvere il problema, “The trend in the automotive industry towards electrification is in my mind inevitable. The only argument is over how quickly it will happen.”
Right now is an exciting time for Offer’s research group because hybrid and electric vehicles are starting to find niche markets that make commercial sense. The question that drives Offer is how early and quickly can these technologies break out of those niches, such as a fleet of delivery vehicles, into the mass vehicle market. And what can be done to accelerate it.
The trend in the automotive industry towards electrification is in my mind inevitable. The only argument is over how quickly it will happen.”
Back in the lab, the latest challenge for Offer and his colleagues is understanding how electric batteries degrade and fail. The current generation of Lithium-ion batteries are not good enough for mainstream passenger vehicles says Offer.
They do fine in mobile phones, laptops and even electric motorbikes (of which China already has hundreds of millions on the road). But for mainstream vehicles the energy, power density and cost of batteries all need to improve by a factor of 2 o 3 to become viable.
A significant amount of an iPad is its battery, says Offer. So imagine you need about one hundred iPads to power an electric vehicle. The behaviour and performance of such a large battery pack is very different from an individual cell.
Diagnosing and predicting how batteries degrade and fail in the hot bumpy environment of a road vehicle is a huge challenge. The goal is to link the science to the engineering by digging deep into the detailed chemistry says Offer.
Industry needs the tools to predict battery performance so they can design thermal management systems that will minimise failure rates. Currently those tools don’t exist, says Offer, so we’re seeking to develop them over the next 4 a 5 anni. “If we can do that we will have real impact.”