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4 Electric Vehicle Trends to Watch

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April 6, 2018—A recent Green Car Reports article pulled out four key trends from a McKinsey & Company report that signal the state of electric vehicles (EV) currently on the market and where they're heading.

 

Electric-car range is now "enough" at 200 miles or more

That roughly squares with what EV buyers and shoppers seem to feel; clearly the 70 to 80 miles of earlier cars wasn't high enough.

 

Vehicles designed from the start as electric cars have an advantage

McKinsey feels that carmakers will produce much better electric cars when they start with an EV-only architecture based on a flat, thin, underfloor battery pack.

The lack of bulky engine, transmission and cooling components under the hood also allows a cab-forward design, and more cabin volume for a given footprint than an adapted gasoline vehicle.

 

The integration of electric-drive powertrains is increasing

That means power electronics have fewer components and can be mounted more compactly, further reducing the space required for components of the drivetrain.

We've seen examples of that in the successive iterations of the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt, whose ancillary electronic components have been integrated, reduced in size and mounted closer to the motor and charger inside the car.

 

Approaches to battery thermal management still vary

Data appears to show that liquid-cooled battery packs from Tesla and General Motors hold their energy capacity longer than those from Nissan that use passive air cooling.

Battery life over the average 15-year-life of a vehicle remains an unknown today, but stories of significant capacity loss over the first five years won't help sell new electric cars unless replacement packs are cheap, easily installed and widely available.

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