The road ahead is paved for electric vehicles

A little history

The first hybrid car was built in the late nineties—1899! More than a century ago, an engineer named Ferdinand Porsche used gas with an electric motor.1 Approximately 300 of the System Lohner-Porsche Mixte were produced. But when Henry Ford started the first automobile assembly line in 1904, gas-powered engines became the standard for automobiles. Fast-forward to the 1990s and mass-market auto manufacturers moved into new territory, developing electric-powered vehicles in small steps with hybrid autos that rely on both gas and electric power (HEVs). One of the first mass-produced hybrids was the Toyota Prius in 1997. Today, the Prius is sold in more than 40 countries and is touted by the United States EPA2 as the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market. By 2019, the combined annual sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) reached an all-time high, topping two million.
 

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Fueling the charge

The drive to move away from fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions—as well as make other environmental improvements such as more shared transportation, reduced carbon footprints in manufacturing plants, and recycling or reducing waste—is fueling the charge to EVs. After all, with fewer people driving to work in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, global emissions declined by 2.4 billion tons according to the Global Carbon Project team.4 This anomaly confirms that carbon emissions can be reduced, especially within the transportation sector. Consumers are willing to drive EVs in all iterations as BEVs, HEVs, and PHEVs become more comparable to internal combustion engines (ICEs) in design, driving range, cost/price premium, comfort, and amenities. Governments throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, and the United States have—or are working on—legislation to reduce CO2 emissions, beginning with the auto manufacturers. Whether through financial incentives and/or tax breaks to companies that switch over to EV production, cash subsidies or lower taxes to consumers for buying EVs, or increasing taxes or financially penalizing companies that do not get onboard, government intervention is shaping automakers’ product strategy. Automakers, motivated by government response to clean up environmental issues, are announcing financial commitments to R&D and developing multiple EV models as well as setting production targets and sales goals well into the future.

A push for EVs

Many of the major automakers are promising to have their entire line of vehicles fully electric near the midpoint of this century. And they’re committing major dollars to develop multiple electric models and revamp production plants and processes, all with the expectation of reducing carbon emissions and creating a transportation sector that’s finally fully powered by electricity. A timetable of events as highlighted in Car and Driver5 2021: BMW working on 10 EV models 2022: Mercedes plans on 10 EV models; Ford working on an EV F-150 2023: Honda in partnership with GM to develop an EV crossover; Mazda and Nissan also working on EVs 2024: Land Rover planning its first all-EV model 2025: BMW predicting 15%–25% global sales of EVs; Ford investing $29 billion; GM investing $27 billion; Hyundai showing 23 EVs worldwide; Jaguar expecting to be all electric; Toyota launching 60 new hybrid, electric, or fuel-cell vehicles; Volkswagen expecting to build 1.5 million EVs across their brands; Volvo pledging 1 million hybrids or EVs by end of year 2030: The U.K. banning sale of diesel- and gas-powered cars; Kia predicting 40% EV production; Mitsubishi predicting 50% global sales of hybrids or EVs, Subaru forecasting 40%, and Volkswagen targeting 60% in the European market 2035: GM eliminating diesel- and gas-powered light-duty pickups 2036: Jaguar Land Rover targeting zero tailpipe emissions 2040: GM committing to its entire operation to be carbon neutral 2050: Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Nissan each planning to reach net-zero carbon emissions.

Improving EVs with Saflex® PVB interlayers

Saflex® PVB interlayers have long played a role in improving automobiles with better, stronger, lighter-weight, and technologically advanced laminated glass for windscreens, side windows, and sunroofs. Our products add the benefits of safety, security, solar protection, improved acoustics, connectivity, and style. Perhaps one of the biggest areas of improvement for EVs comes from the application of Saflex PVB interlayers for better acoustics. Noise sources, material weight, and vehicle design account for the difference in acoustics between EVs and ICEs. Many EVs are designed with heavy, dense batteries below the floor to lower the center of gravity. To create this required space, the rear seats are often positioned higher than in ICEs. To create the perception of more headspace and openness for rear-seated occupants, many EVs have large, panoramic sunroofs. PVB interlayers can help reduce the overall sound transmission through the sunroof. Solar protection—from maintaining a cooler interior to preventing UV damage—is a key factor for including Saflex Solar interlayers in EV models. Whether the need is simply solar protection or solar protection with connectivity, manufacturers and aftermarket dealers have plenty of options with Saflex S series, Saflex Solar Connect, and XIR® interlayers. Saflex Color interlayers add style to any EV ride. Darker colors provide an extra layer of security, while lighter colors may add a fresh look. Saflex products also help keep the cabin occupants comfortable and ensure that road noise is kept to a minimum. To learn more about the future application use of Saflex PVB interlayers in EVs, visit saflex.com.

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