Yearly Archives: 2018
Friday, August 17, 2018

Summer School 2018 – a place for knowledge and meetings

This year’s Summer School for PhD students was conducted during an intensive week in May. At Toftaholm’s mansion in Småland, Sweden, around 20 participants met in order to gain in-depth and broader technical knowledge in the field of e-mobility. And not least – to make contacts.

Swedish Electromobility Centre’s Summer School is primarily aimed at PhD students with interest and research in electromobility at Swedish universities. It gives an opportunity to meet, in one single place for a week, to study and discuss electromobility together. In addition, participants get the opportunity to get to know each other and establish contacts with other researchers in different aspects of electromobility.

“The course gives both overview and in-depth knowledge of key components such as batteries, fuel cells and electrical machines as well as tools for systems studies that will be used for evaluation, design and construction of vehicle drive systems”, said Professor Jonas Fredriksson about this year’s course.

Two of the participants during the course week were the Chalmers doctoral students Anton Klintberg and Lukas Wikander. Both are active in control technology and focus on the ageing and health of batteries. They have previously been to single events organised by the Centre. Now they got the advice to apply for the Summer School from their research colleagues.

“I saw it as an opportunity to get the full picture. Normally, you are so focused on your subject. Here you get an opportunity to see everything in a context”, says Anton Klintberg.

The week met their expectations, although it was also very intensive with a whole week of teaching and practical moments from the morning to evening.

“It’s good with an intensive course for a week. You get very focused and you do not think about anything else. It is a lot to learn in a short period of time”, says Lukas Wikander. “Therefore, it was good that many of the classes ended with practical exercises, like designing your own battery. It’s a great way to firmly embed your memory of the course. In particular, it forced us to discuss topics with the other participants. It was very good that we came from different research areas. This meant that you did not fall too much into details.”

“In the evening we had an Electric Car Challenge with a miniature car track. We would optimise an electric drivetrain to use as little energy as possible and complete the entire lap”, says Anton. “It was obviously best to drive as fast as possible – as long as you did not drive off the track!”

Both Anton and Lukas were very pleased with the course and the lecturers.

“The teachers were extremely good, both extremely knowledgeable as well as educative”, says Anton.

“There are not many other ways to learn these general things. You would have to discover them later, but it would certainly take three to four years. And by then it’s almost too late”, says Lukas.

In addition to all the new skills, it was also a great benefit to meet and get to know the other participants.

“One of the best things was to meet people from other places and other backgrounds. Both in the same area as ourselves, but also others. These contacts can be valuable for a long time”, concludes Anton.

After the week at Toftaholm, the course will be completed with a home assignment and final report after the summer.

 

Text: Daniel Karlsson, photo: Elna Holmberg & Chalmers


Friday, July 6, 2018

Canadian Minister and Ambassador visited Swedish Electromobility Centre

In late June 2018, Swedish Electromobility Centre had the honour to welcome the Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development of Canada, John Knubley, and the Ambassador of Canada to Sweden, Heather Grant. The meeting at KTH in Stockholm was an opportunity to present Swedish electromobility research and discuss collaboration, with representatives from the Swedish industry attending as well.

In addition to the Deputy Minister and the Ambassador, Sheryl Groeneweg, Director General for the Manufacturing and Life Sciences Branch, Canada, and Jillian Senkiw, Senior Trade Commissioner, Embassy of Canada, also attended the meeting.

“We are pleased to have a continuing dialog between Swedish Electromobility Centre and Canada” says Elna Homberg, Director of the Centre.

The visit was hosted by Royal Institute of Technology KTH. Annika Stensson Trigell, Professor and Vice President, welcomed to the university. Professor Göran Lindbergh from KTH and the Centre presented the latest electromobility research.

Scania and AB Volvo added the industry perspective. Representing was Andreas Ireholm, Global Product Director Electromobility, AB Volvo, and Mats Reimark, Director Powertrain Research, Technology and Concept Development, Scania.

With researcher Abdilbari Shifa Mussa during a lab tour at KTH.
Photo Magnus Karlström.


Friday, June 29, 2018

Sweden invests 1 billion SEK in testbed for electromobility

Chalmers University of Technology and RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden), have now begun, with support from the Swedish government, the establishment of a Swedish testbed for electromobility. Overall, contributions from the government, and the industrial partners CEVT, Scania, Volvo Cars and Volvo Group, enable an investment of 1 billion Swedish krona for the testbed.

​In 2017, RISE and Chalmers University of Technology were tasked by the Swedish government with creating a testbed for electromobility. It has now been decided that the testbed, called the Swedish Electric Transport Laboratory (SEEL), will be located in the Lindholmen area of Gothenburg, with facilities in the Stockholm region too. RISE and Chalmers will build and own the facility jointly, with industry as the customer base.

The aim of SEEL is to strengthen the competitiveness of the Swedish automotive industry, to help Sweden remain at the forefront of innovations in the transport sector, and to accelerate the shift towards a fossil-free Swedish society.

SEEL will provide testing for all the different areas of electrified transport. For example, electrified gearboxes and driveshafts for different types of vehicles, drivetrain and component testing for hybrids and electric vehicles, as well as charging and smart power-management. Even the marine and aviation sectors are expected to be able to make use of the testbed.

Stefan Bengtsson, President and CEO of Chalmers says, “this investment offers great opportunities for education, research and industrial development. The testbed complements the laboratories that Chalmers already has. It is ideal for us to take responsibility as one of the owners, to effectively contribute to rapid knowledge development relating to electric vehicles”.

The different parts of the test bed will come into use as they become ready, with the lab expected to be fully operational by 2022.

Read more

Via Chalmers & RISE


Thursday, June 7, 2018

New technology risks over-regulation – Annika Tidblad on the legal requirements for electric vehicles

“When working with a technology area under development you need to be careful not to make mandatory requirements limiting for the technology, and locking technology into existing solutions.”

Annika Tidblad at Volvo Cars is the battery specialist who has become one of Sweden’s leading technical experts on standardization and legal requirements for electric vehicles. Within Swedish Electromobility Centre, she contributes both with her competencies and her networks. In September, a meeting for the United Nations electric vehicle safety group will be hosted by the Centre.

Annika, tell us about your special competence and your way here?

“I am foremost an expert in battery technology and its use in various types of applications; from cell chemistry and materials to application requirements and usage perspectives. I work on standardization work within the SIS and various ISO groups, but even more with regulatory issues.”

 

“The road here has been quite long but determined. After 10 years as a researcher in applied electrochemistry and corrosion theory at KTH, I started working for a company in Järfalla, who was then the world leader in independent battery testing and battery usage guidance. It was eventually sold to Intertek. I was there for 11 years and worked partly with testing issues – standardized tests, but also developing tailor-made testing programs for different applications that lacked standards for a wide range of applications: portable electronics, medical technology, different types of vehicles, telecom, and so on. In order to understand how and what is interesting to test, I had to get into what different applications required in terms of electrical performance, climate and environmental resistance, maintenance and cost perspective, and more. The more I learned, the more obvious it became just how much test methodology and requirements control the product development and the direction of the resulting technical solutions.”

“In parallel, I worked as a quality manager for the company’s accredited battery testing and as a technical assessor of corrosion labs for SWEDAC, which meant that I spent more and more time interpreting and understanding the background to different standards and systematic working methods. Thereafter, the step was not far to slip into the area of legal requirements, which is both about asking relevant requirements for different characteristics, but also for establishing fair methods for verifying compliance with the requirements. When working with a technology area under development you need to be careful not to make mandatory requirements limiting for the technology, and locking technology into existing solutions. This requires long-term consistency thinking and ability to explain and defend complex technical connections for non-experts and government agencies with several different agendas. I like the challenge because it forces me to use many different skills besides the purely technical factual skills, such as pedagogy, rhetoric, psychology, politics…”

“I’m probably quite unique in my career, not only in Sweden, because there are not so many “tech nerds” dealing with legal requirements and lobbying, and I feel that my knowledge is highly valued by both the international automotive industry and several agencies around in the world.”

What are the major issues and challenges?

“For electric vehicles, there is a lot of focus on electrical and battery safety as well as electrical performance characteristics. The absolute biggest challenge is to secure a sensible development atmosphere for battery technology and associated systems for electric vehicles. There is a high risk of locking the technology at the existing level, therefore obstructing or preventing further development of battery technology with higher energy density than today.”

Where do you see the need for more research?

“I think the research done today needs to be complemented with more systematic issues, for example, to demonstrate that battery technology is safe and that incidents can be detected and prevented in time, before catastrophic accidents with high potential damage occur.”

“In addition, I would like to see a broader approach to the “State of Health” in order to prevent unnecessary aging and wear of battery systems, with better diagnostics and understanding of what drives different types of degenerative processes.”

Annika Tidblad discusses with participants in a workshop on battery safety with Swedish Electromobility Centre at KTH in May 2018.

 

How is Sweden doing in an international perspective?

“My feeling is that we are good at both research and product development. We have a long tradition of conscious, systematic work with safety and quality. There is also great openness for different types of solutions, not least at the technical systems level, which I think is absolutely crucial in order to enable development towards increasingly more energy and power dense battery systems.”

In September, the Swedish Electromobility Center will host a “UN meeting”. What is it about – and how come the meeting ended up here?

“It is a working group meeting within the framework of the UN vehicle regulatory body. I have been active in the informal working group for Electric Vehicle Safety for many years now, and leads certain issues on behalf of the industry. At the moment, especially those relating to thermal runaway and propagation. I was previously appointed spokesperson for the heavy (vehicle) side of the working group. The meetings circulate between different participating countries. Given that we from Sweden have a strong presence and great impact in the working group for our knowledge and experience, it was great to invite the group to Sweden. I contacted the Swedish Energy Agency about three years ago, and thanks to their support it has become possible.”

Which questions will be discussed?

“Legal requirements for electrical vehicle safety: electrical safety and battery safety. This is phase 2 of the development of the Global Technical Regulations (GTR), which then provides the basis for harmonization of legal requirements among member states and regions. The result will be noted in the UN ECE R100 et al, but also in other related legal requirements. Already a revision of R100-02 is underway with regard to new requirements developed in Phase 1, which are documented in GTR 20, published this year.”

What do you hope to achieve?

“We want balanced and fair requirements and associated verification methods, and that they are harmonized in all major international markets. Particularly important at the moment is vibration resistance, thermal runaway and propagation, water resistance, and requirements on the interface between charger and battery. New technology is often perceived as much more dangerous than existing, and it can easily lead to over-regulation, thereby discriminating new technologies. We hope to prevent this.”


Friday, June 1, 2018

EU report on the impact of electric vehicles in European manufacturing

“Electric vehicles: Shifting gear or changing direction?” is a case study by the EU agency Eurofound within their project Future of Manufacturing in Europe. The study is focused on the impact of electric vehicles for the European vehicle manufacturing industry.

The study was lead by Faugert & Co, and Swedish Electromobility Centre played a key role by offering knowledge about, and contacts to, the Swedish vehicle industry. The Centre hosted a workshop at Chalmers with representatives from the west Sweden vehicle cluster, which contributed to the findings. The participants were Michael Östberg, Alelion, Hans Fogelberg, Region Västra Götaland, Hans-Olof Dahlberg, Swedish Energy Agency, Pontus Andreasson, Volvo, JC Persson from ETC Battery and FuelCells, and the Swedish Electromobility Centre’s Director Elna Holmberg and electric vehicle expert Magnus Karlström.

The study concludes that the production of the electric drivetrain and the batteries of electric vehicles will lead to changes both in the production line and in the value chain. The transition to electric vehicles and changes in the value chain will influence tasks and jobs and the demand for skills. Manufacturing of electric vehicles requires a wide range of engineers, for example power electronics. The required new skills are often related to using new materials, producing and developing the batteries, increased use of IT, and designing and operating the production process itself, for example process engineering. In addition, skills are required to integrate new technology into vehicles. Multidisciplinary skill sets such as mechatronics are going to be an asset.

Production and uptake of electric vehicles will also lead to new occupations outside the manufacturing industry. The establishment of charging infrastructures creates new jobs in energy, construction and service sectors.

The study also concludes that public and public-private actions and strategies for promoting the transition to Electric vehicles require collaboration between the industry and higher education institutions to ensure that the high-qualified skills needed will be distributed.

Read the study Electric vehicles: Shifting gear or changing direction?

Future of Manufacturing in Europe, FOME is a pilot project proposed by the European Parliament and delegated to Eurofound by the European Commission. The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) is a tripartite European Union Agency, whose role is to provide knowledge in the area of social, employment and workrelated policies.