Electric Drive Modules : Advanced Solution for Driving EVs further

Electric Drive Modules Market

Stratview Research 27-10-2023

Electric vehicles (EVs) are the powerful means for decarbonizing road transportation, which accounts for >20% of global CO2 emissions. Electric vehicles’ sales have expanded exponentially in recent years and are expected to follow a healthy growth rate in the coming years.

But assured future growth demands greater efforts in diversifying power system manufacturing methods and reducing the weight of the vehicles for enhanced performance.

In a roadmap released by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 2017, it was announced that every 100kW electric traction drive should have a corresponding power density of at least 33 kW/L, a lifetime of 300,000miles/15 years, and a cost of $6/kW. This would enable a highly efficient, small, and economical building platform for passenger vehicles and the DOE is expecting to have this target achieved by 2025.

This, compared to the 2020 targets, is double the target power and the lifetime mileage, an 88% reduction in volume, and a 25% reduction in cost.

For EV manufacturers to deliver new, cost-effective, and better-performing EVs on the road, they will need versatile and scalable electric powertrain systems. This can be achieved using Electric Drive Modules or simply eDMs.

Electric Drive Modules are nothing but an integrated unit of electric motors, transmission, and power electronics. How are they beneficial? Let’s find out.

Electric Drive Modules in EVs

Conventional electric powertrains are composed of parts including an electric motor, battery, DC converter, transmitter, and more. Electric Drive Modules confine these components into a single system and act as a ‘plug and play’ solution for existing EV powertrains.

Fig.1. briefly depicts the components of an EV powertrain with and the integration of an eDM.

Fig. 1: EV powertrain with and without an integrated eDM

When an EV’s battery is charged, the integrated drive module converts the DC coming from the battery into AC and ensures that the necessary amount of torque is provided to the drive system for a smooth drive.

This integrated system eliminates unnecessary mechanical interfaces, which results in a reduction in the weight of EVs. Reducing the weight of an EV can improve the range of the vehicle, allowing for smaller batteries, which simultaneously reduces the cost of the vehicle. The weight reduction can also contribute to improving the fuel efficiency of the vehicle and in fact, several studies prove that reducing vehicle weight by ~10% can improve the fuel efficiency by 6%-8%.

In a nutshell, eDMs come with several benefits, including –

  • High system efficiency, leading to lesser battery consumption.
  • Modular design with a smaller footprint
  • Weight reduction
  • Improvised power and torque density
  • Better price-performance ratio
  • Scalability i.e., it can be used by vehicles with different payloads (Battery Electric Vehicles [BEVs], or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles [PHeVs]).

 

Growing Demand for BEVs and the Corresponding Impact:

In 2019, the electric drive module industry was a billion-dollar business already, that grew further swiftly to cross US$ 5.7 Billion in 2021. This figure is likely to turn into a double-digit billion-dollar business in the coming years and by 2025, the global eDM market is expected to cross US$10 billion.

The growth is fuelled by a dramatic rise in the demand for electric vehicles, specifically, increased production of BEVs will play a vital role. More than 70% of EVs sold in 2021 by the top market players such as Tesla, Nissan, etc., were BEVs.

However, recent advancements like the development of the 5th gen. electric powertrain by BMW unlocks several opportunities for PHEV OEMs to grow their business.

OEMs Envisioning Complete Electrification of their Fleet:

As the world targets to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2025, and reduce EVs’ weight by a certain amount, the interest of OEMs in replacing traditional, gasoline-powered engines with eDMs is fairly obvious.

Below given are a few benefits of EVs over a conventional gasoline vehicle according to The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Electric vehicles have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline cars, even when accounting for the electricity used for charging.
  • The CO2 emissions associated with an electric vehicle over its lifetime are typically lower than those from an average gasoline-powered vehicle.

 

Fig.2. Lifecycle GHGs for an EV and a Gasoline Car

 

  • Electric vehicles can be plugged into the same type of outlet as your toaster! When your vehicle needs charging while on the road, you’ll find over 1.8 million publicly accessible charging points (globally by 2021).
  • Availability of EVs in a variety of shapes and sizes and their range is more than enough for typical daily use in the U.S. (More than 98,600 plug-in vehicles were sold during December 2022 in the U.S. alone.)

 

Listed below, are some automotive OEMs that are taking massive steps towards electrification:

  • Dongfeng, a Chinese automobile manufacturer aims to electrify 100% of its latest models of passenger car brands by 2024.
  • All newly launched vehicles by Mercedes, will be fully electric from 2025.
  • Toyota, a global car manufacturer, plans to roll out 30 battery EV models by 2030.
  • BMW aims for 50% of its vehicles sold to be fully electric by 2030 or earlier.
  • Volkswagen states that the group intends to convert its vehicles into fully climate neutral by 2050.
  • Ford expects 40%-50% of its global vehicle capacity to be fully electric by the end of 2030.
     

 

China – Leading the Charge of the eDM Industry

The appealing sales of EVs in 2021 were primarily led by China, which accounted for more than half of the total global EV sales. The count of EVs with eDMs sold in China by 2021 crossed 3.3 million, which was more than that of the entire world in 2020.

According to the International Energy Agency, sales volume of EVs with e-drive modules in China reached a total of 3.3 million in 2021, followed by Europe with 2.3 million and the U.S., reaching 630,000.

China observed similar trends in the first quarter of 2022, with sales more than double, as compared to the first quarter of 2021. On the other hand, the US EVs market rose by 60%, and Europe witnessed a 25% increase in EV sales.


Fig. 3: Worldwide EV sales and sales share by region (2011-2021)

Other countries like Japan, India, and South Korea in the Asia-Pacific region have promising growth prospects with a reassuring policy framework. The next decade will be full of opportunities and will be worth watching as it will prove to be a huge market for eDMs.

The Electrifying Future of eDMs

It is obvious that the growth of the electric vehicles substantiates the growing market of electric drive modules. And we all know that the future of EVs is quite challenging with some bottlenecks.

Prices of raw materials like Cobalt, Nickel, and Lithium, for batteries, grew leaps and bounds recently. Lithium prices grew seven times higher by mid-2022, as compared to the start of 2021.

Geopolitical conditions also play a vital role, as it can be seen that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created further pressure in the battery market, since Russia supplies 20% of the global battery-grade nickel.

The sudden rise in electricity prices in Europe as a result of the political environment is another major roadblock.

Even so, the impetus produced by environmental concerns and favorable policies will likely keep EV demand skyrocketing in the future decade, and OEMs will reconsider their strategies to stay in business with some more innovations like eDMs. The future of eDMs is surely worth watching.

 

Authored by Stratview Research, published on e-motec.net.


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