PhD Student at École de technologie supérieure studying Carbon Nanotube MEMS.


Can Tesla beat the likes of Ford and GM to take over the automotive world?

What exactly is the future of cars? The auto industry’s fate rides on the answers to three unresolved questions: driven or self-driving? Electric or gas? Private or shared? Tesla's value A couple of weeks ago Tesla surged past automotive giants like Ford and GM to become the most valuable car company in the USA. For a firm that has existed for less than 2 decades, that is incredible. That sounds impossible It does indeed and the numbers also stand against Tesla. Tesla sold 80,000 cars last year. GM sold 10 million, meaning it exceeded Tesla’s annual vehicle sales every three days, on average. Despite the fanfare, Musk’s company lost $780 million in 2016. Ford made $11 billion. The future of Cars Right now, there is a huge focus on "self-driving cars" and this begs the question Will people drive cars, or will the cars drive themselves? The self-driving revolution is like a massive West Coast earthquake—experts claim it’s practically inevitable, but nobody can say for sure when or what it will look like. If this self-driving future never fully materializes, legacy car companies will probably benefit from the lack of disruption. But is it so obvious that they would also lose, even in the self-driving scenario? Is the future of cars electric, or something else? One of the most attractive points about Tesla is that it does not make fuel driven cars, their products are all purely electric and it is also worth mentioning that they are loaded with the best technology available. Several automakers, like General Motors and Honda, are dabbling in other clean energy, like fuel-cell systems. But hydrogen fueling stations cost about $2 million to build and there are only 34 in the United States today, with more than half in one state—California. Given the technology’s questionable viability, it is more likely that the technology will navigate more towards battery driven cars. Electric vehicles also have the benefit of tax credit benefits in almost all the countries which is a very attractive proposition for potential buyers. It does look very promising for Tesla Indeed, with manufacturers still struggling to catch up to Tesla, it is just a matter of time that Tesla becomes a behemoth in the auto industry and perhaps even save the environment. It is a waiting game.


Subsidy scheme or price discount scheme? Mass adoption of electric vehicles under different market structures

Abstract: This article analyses the electric-and-gasoline vehicle market under two different structures: monopoly and duopoly. Taking social welfare into account, the government offers a subsidy incentive scheme or a price discount incentive scheme to buyers of electric vehicles (EVs) to promote the adoption of EVs. We formulate a utility model composed of a population of consumers who make utility maximizing choices and manufacturers who set an optimal pricing that responds to the interventions of the government. Using this model, a framework for policy makers to find optimal subsidies or optimal price discount rates is developed. Unlike the monotonic relation in the monopoly setting, in the duopoly setting the relationship between consumers’ low-carbon awareness and EVs’ demand depends on the government’s policy. Although the demand for EVs, the consumer surplus, the environmental impact, and the social welfare are identical under two incentive schemes, the government prefers to implement a subsidy incentive scheme due to the lower expenditure involved. Furthermore, under a subsidy incentive scheme, EVs’ market in the monopoly setting has a smaller environmental impact than that in the duopoly setting. From the numerical tests, we show that results of social welfare comparison under two market structures depends on unit environmental impact of EV.

Pub.: 21 Apr '17, Pinned: 30 Apr '17

Electric Vehicle Adoption Decisions in a Fleet Environment

Abstract: Increasing long-term gasoline price and concerns on the impact of emissions have inspired alternative technologies like electric vehicles (EVs). As a part of the initiative to improve local air quality, cities encourage the adoption of EVs in mass transit system, in particular taxicabs. Motivated by the above, we study a fleet environment, like taxicabs, and build a model that captures the factors influencing EV adoption. We consider a vertically-integrated entity that is a combination of a taxicab company and an infrastructure service provider. We model the entity’s decision-making problem that includes (i) fleet renewal using either internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs) or EVs; and (ii) infrastructure planning corresponding to investing in fast chargers, and swap stations with stocked EV batteries. We characterize EV adoption in terms of problem parameters such as the mean and coefficient of variation of miles driven. We find that the adoption decision can switch between adopt and do not adopt and vice versa as the mean miles increases. EVs may be adopted at higher variability in miles driven even when they are not adopted at lower variability. To address the operational characteristics of taxicabs to a greater extent, we relax key model assumptions and find that the above conclusions based on the mean and coefficient of variation of miles driven remain valid. This research has practical implications on the attractiveness (or lack thereof) of EV taxicabs / swap stations and on the impact of various government or R&D improvement actions on EV adoption.

Pub.: 19 Mar '17, Pinned: 30 Apr '17

Electric vehicle charging in stochastic smart microgrid operation with fuel cell and RES units

Abstract: Plug-in electric vehicles increasingly augment their share in the global market as they appear to be an economic and emission-free alternative to modern means of transportation. As their presence strengthens, ways that will ensure economic charge along with uninterrupted grid operation are necessary to be found. This paper aims to approach the economic optimization problem that includes several Electric Vehicles (EVs) within a Low Voltage (LV) network comprising various Distributed Energy Resources (DER) as fuel cell, Renewable Energy Sources (RES), (photovoltaics, wind turbine) etc. via a scenario based simulation. The purpose is to investigate the main variables of the grid, such as its operating cost, charging patterns, power injection from the upstream network, resulting from the coordinated control of DER in Smart Microgrid operation in conjunction to the flexible load the controlled EV charging introduces. The base case study is that of absence of EVs, and therefore the demand is met only by the upstream network and the DER units. Subsequently, EVs are introduced as controllable loads and finally as dispatchable storage units incorporating a Vehicle to Grid (V2G) capability to the Smart Microgrid. Furthermore, the problem is not tackled deterministically and although forecasts for all network parameters are assumed to be known, forecasting errors and stochastic driver patterns cannot be ignored. Thus, for each imposed policy, a scenario based approach is implemented to determine operating cost in various cases along to DER utilization and the effect EVs bear on these results.

Pub.: 03 Mar '17, Pinned: 30 Apr '17

Caterpillar-like Graphene Confining Sulfur by Restacking Effect for High Performance Lithium Sulfur Batteries

Abstract: Lithium sulfur batteries, one of the most promising energy storage methodologies for emerging electric vehicles, suffer from poor long-term cycling stability due to the shuttle effect caused by the dissolution of high order polysulfides. To enhance the cycling stability of sulfur cathode for high-energy lithium sulfur batteries, it is very critical to mitigating the dissolution of polysulfides. In this work, a caterpillar-like and reconfigurable graphene was designed to serve as the sulfur host. The caterpillar-like graphene highly expanded in solution and tightly restacked in dry condition due to the van der Waals force. Elemental sulfur was trapped and confined inside the restacked graphene layers. High mass loading of 63.8% sulfur in graphene was achieved after the caterpillar-like graphene was dried at 155 °C. The graphene-sulfur electrode has a good rate performance of 708 mAh g-1 at 167.5 mA g-1, 582 mAh g-1 at 335 mA g-1, 470 mAh g-1 at 837.5 mA g-1, 400 mAh g-1 at 1675 mA g-1 and a stable cycling performance with small capacity decay of 0.16% per cycle over 200 cycles at 1675 mA g-1. Moreover, the underlying mechanism of the restacking effect of caterpillar-like graphene on immobilizing the soluble lithium polysulfides was studied by density functional theory (DFT), which clearly explained how the graphene immobilized the soluble lithium polysulfides by the restacking effect.

Pub.: 12 Apr '17, Pinned: 30 Apr '17

Factors affecting Japanese auto suppliers’ predictions about the future of electric vehicles: An exploratory empirical study

Abstract: This article investigates the effects of different characteristics of supplier-customer relationships in the Japanese automotive industry, and how these influence predictions about future technologies of a disruptive nature, such as Electric Vehicles (EVs). We conducted a survey of a broad set of suppliers in the Japanese automotive industry and another survey of suppliers registered with Toyota's two supplier associations. The data were used to analyse the influence of particular relationships and practices on information gathering about new technologies, preparations for R&D and production of new components, and predictions about new technologies. The study shows that suppliers’ R&D intensity and the usage degree of the drawing-supplied parts system lead to predictions favouring the uptake of new technologies. Moreover, communication between automakers and suppliers and arm's-length relationships simultaneously lead to favourable views on the future of new technologies, especially with regard to EVs. Moreover, we find that Japanese-style cooperative relationships, arm's-length relationships, communication between automakers and suppliers, and communication among suppliers all lead to less favourable views on new technology uptake (in this case, EVs). We discuss the implications of these findings for research and practice, specifically for EVs.

Pub.: 20 Apr '17, Pinned: 30 Apr '17

Embedded fiber-optic sensing for accurate internal monitoring of cell state in advanced battery management systems part 1: Cell embedding method and performance

Abstract: A key challenge hindering the mass adoption of Lithium-ion and other next-gen chemistries in advanced battery applications such as hybrid/electric vehicles (xEVs) has been management of their functional performance for more effective battery utilization and control over their life. Contemporary battery management systems (BMS) reliant on monitoring external parameters such as voltage and current to ensure safe battery operation with the required performance usually result in overdesign and inefficient use of capacity. More informative embedded sensors are desirable for internal cell state monitoring, which could provide accurate state-of-charge (SOC) and state-of-health (SOH) estimates and early failure indicators. Here we present a promising new embedded sensing option developed by our team for cell monitoring, fiber-optic sensors. High-performance large-format pouch cells with embedded fiber-optic sensors were fabricated. The first of this two-part paper focuses on the embedding method details and performance of these cells. The seal integrity, capacity retention, cycle life, compatibility with existing module designs, and mass-volume cost estimates indicate their suitability for xEV and other advanced battery applications. The second part of the paper focuses on the internal strain and temperature signals obtained from these sensors under various conditions and their utility for high-accuracy cell state estimation algorithms.

Pub.: 05 Dec '16, Pinned: 30 Apr '17