IDTechEx forecasts that the global sale of hybrid and pure electric cars will triple to US$178.9 billion in 2024 as they are transformed in most respects. Among the trends is that in-wheel motors are at last appearing in born-electric vehicles optimised for this disruptive change. Also, 140 lithium-ion battery manufacturers are threatened by Tesla planning a mega factory to dwarf all of them put together.
Launches of production models of fuel cell cars are promised around 2015 by companies such as Hyundai, Toyota, Daimler and Tata Motors, bringing these centre stage to the contempt of competitors that consider them to be a dead end. IDTechEx sees a gathering trend towards OEMs making their own key enabling technologies.
Very different options for the elements of an electric vehicle are now emerging. It may be possible to have flexible batteries over the skin of the car in due course. Sometimes such laminar batteries permit faster charging and greater safety. In about ten years, structural components such as load-bearing supercapacitors and batteries will save even more space and weight in the most advanced vehicles.
Vehicle electrics will be a greater part of the cost of the vehicle as they replace hardware and give greater safety and performance. Electrics will change radically from the introduction of wide bandgap power semiconductors to printed electronics. There is scope for energy harvesting from shock absorbers, thermoelectric harvesting which will be viable around 2017 and there will be some local harvesting for devices around the vehicle (e.g. Fiat vision).
Radically new functional systems with previously impossible shapes and functions are expected to transform e-car systems beyond recognition.