So Making EVs Is Easy, Right? An Engineer Shows How Wrong That Is

The first one is that having fewer moving parts makes EVs easier to produce. As the automotive engineer consultant states, this myth has grains of truth that make it persist. It may be true that the rotor is a single part compared to the pistons, rods, crankshaft, valves, and everything else involved with a reciprocating engine. Despite that, have you ever imagined how hard it is to produce that rotor? Twohig gives us a glimpse of the hard work that goes into getting them right.

The second myth relates to the idea that you can just buy electric motors and battery packs off the shelf. Although some small companies do sell these components to DIYers and weekend EV converters worldwide, major automakers will not follow that path. They will spend the time to develop their own solutions as much as possible. Which would be their edge if they gave up on that?

Nowadays, verticalization is what is gaining steam. That means that automakers that decide not to buy their components from other companies have a significant advantage. Sandy Munro praises Tesla in every opportunity he has for that, but the company does not produce its own semiconductors, which is restraining car production nowadays. BYD does, as we have told you in a recent article.

The myth surrounding EV brakes is the third one Twohig tackles. It involves believing that an electric car can always count on regenerative braking to stop, something EV owners know is not valid, especially when the battery pack is fully charged. The engineering consultant adds more elements to that by mentioning the big challenge that involves stopping a much heavier vehicle without the aid of the manifold vacuum that combustion engines naturally have.

Twohig stresses how difficult it is for automotive engineers to make sure an EV stops even if the battery pack is out of juice. We have already seen multiple accidents happen when people do not have the necessary strength to push the brake pedal when it loses assistance for any reason. That’s why automakers developed BAS, or brake assist system, which increases braking pressure in emergencies.

Not needing cooling seems to be Twohig’s favorite EV myth to debunk. He even pokes on car designers for being some of the guys responsible for that and jokes he has few friends among them. From an engineering point of view, the thermal management of an electric car would be more complex than that of a combustion-engined car.

The engineering consultant talks about how difficult it is to manage precisely because the temperature drop across the electric motor is less than that presented in an ICE. Although that seems like a paradox, Twohig said that slight variance is where the challenge lies.

Apart from that, the battery pack needs cooling, as well as many other components in an EV, such as the inverters. It is like having radiator lines all over your car, with all the added complexity involved in that. This should be enough to understand how difficult it is to design an electric vehicle, but the engineering consultant remembers that EVs also need heating in cold weather.

This is where heat pumps play a major role. The 2012 Renault ZOE was the first EV to use one, and most other automakers have taken quite a long time to catch up. Heat pumps need air influx to work well, which would make it stupid just to eliminate the front grille to improve aerodynamics, in Twohig’s opinion.

The final myth the engineering consultant debunks is that EVs are easier to develop, one of the myths I have most persistently spread myself, even if it was not the only one. According to Twohig, some of the most expensive parts in a vehicle have nothing to do with what powers it: body-side outers, headlights, and the instrument panel are the examples he gives.

You should not stick with what I told you in this piece. I purposedly left the best bits out to invite you to go to the source. Twohig’s article is something you cannot miss if you want to stop spreading myths about EV manufacturing.

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