An Electric Car Manufacturer Is a Company That Produces Vehicles Powered by Electrical Motors
An electric car manufacturer is a company that produces vehicles powered by electrical motors. Car companies large and small are rushing to release electric cars of their own.
Toyota is one example with its bZ4X and several others on the way. Another is Mercedes-Benz with its EQ lineup of electric sedans and SUVs.
The History of Electric Vehicles
The late 19th and early 20th centuries simply bubbled with automotive inventions, with steam power dominating, followed by electric vehicles. Many names that are still familiar today dabbled in electric cars during this era, including Ransom Eli Olds, who produced one of the first mass-market gas-powered Oldsmobiles and then developed the Edison Electric car. The one known survivor of his short-lived lead cab now resides in a museum.
Before the rechargeable battery was invented, EVs used primary batteries that had limited capacity and offered little range. These vehicles were essentially Electric Classic Car toys for the elite, as they could only be driven around town and not over long distances. Once the rechargeable battery was created, EVs became more viable.
While there are several inventors that have contributed to the advancement of EV technology, Michael Faraday is widely considered to be the father of the modern electric vehicle. Other great inventors like Anyos Jedlik, Robert Anderson, Professor Sibrandus Stratingh and Christopher Becker also helped to develop a few prototypes of EVs.
The first real breakthrough came when Gaston Plante introduced the lead-acid battery in 1898, which used 20 separate cells rolled into thin sheets of lead that were bonded together with dilute sulfuric acid as the electrolyte. This improved the performance and longevity of EVs, making them more practical for daily use. From there, the popularity of EVs started to decline, with affordable gasoline-powered cars becoming on-trend.
The Manufacturing Process
The manufacture of electric vehicles requires a significant investment in R&D, and it also necessitates that companies completely revamp their manufacturing processes. These processes need to be accurate and precise, and they must be compatible with the complex product designs that EVs feature. Additionally, the manufacturing process needs to be environmentally sustainable. This is because electric cars use batteries that contain rare earth metals, and extracting these metals is a difficult and costly process.
EV production is also disrupting the traditional supply chain of car manufacturers. Many factories that have previously manufactured ICE vehicles now need to convert their production to EVs, and some of these facilities will even be built from the ground up to exclusively produce electric cars.
There are several different manufacturing processes that can be used to make EV parts, but the most common is injection molding. This involves heating plastic material until it becomes molten, then injecting the material into a prepared mold cavity. The resulting part is then cooled, solidified, and removed from the mold.
Another popular manufacturing method for EVs is metal fabrication. This begins with coils of aluminum of various gauges, which are uncoiled and fed into a blanking machine that flattens the material into blanks. These blanks are then cut with large, custom-made dies that form the body panels of an EV.
The high-capacity lithium-ion batteries used to power EVs recharge fully with minimum energy loss. They consist of a positive and negative electrode—graphite or a combination of carbon and a metal oxide—and electrolytes that convert chemical energy to electrical current. The cells are stacked into battery modules, which are sold to automakers who assemble them into cars and SUVs. When the battery reaches the end of its useful life, around 80 percent of its components can be recycled for future use.
Some automakers have vertical integration with battery manufacturers to control their supply chains. Ford, for example, is working on diversifying its raw material suppliers and establishing battery-and-EV manufacturing facilities in the United States. Other automakers, such as General Motors and LG, are partnering to co-locate battery and EV production at the same factory.
As the EV market expands, automakers are looking for ways to improve transparency in their supply chains and address environmental and human rights concerns. One possible solution is “battle-passport” technology, which allows EV manufacturers to verify that critical minerals like nickel and cobalt were mined in accordance with internationally recognized ethical standards. Other potential solutions include technological advances that reduce the need for rare metals, such as substituting silicon inputs for graphite in lithium-ion batteries or developing cobalt-free or -reduced cathode technologies.
Luxury automakers are accelerating their adoption of electric vehicles. Toyota’s luxury division Lexus, for instance, has jumped on the hybrid bandwagon with plug-in hybrids and is now moving into battery electric vehicles with its dual-motor 312-hp RZ 450e.
The world’s leading car companies are betting big that electric vehicles are the future of electric car manufacturer worldwide driving. Many have pledged to electrify their entire lineups within the next decade or less, while others are working toward a carbon-neutral future by 2030.
New regulatory targets aim for EV sales to account for 50-plus percent of all new car purchases by 2030, and many governments are offering generous EV subsidies. This will be a huge challenge, and it won’t happen overnight.
Fortunately, the technology behind today’s battery-powered cars is maturing rapidly. Some manufacturers are converting existing models into EV variants, while others are starting from scratch with all-new offerings. The result is a broad range of electric cars, with the numbers growing fast.
By 2024, Consumer Reports estimates there will be 70 EV models on the market, including SUVs and crossovers that can drive 250 miles or more on a single charge. Audi is aiming for early dominance with its E-Tron GT and E-Tron EV SUV, both of which will launch this year on VW Group’s Premium Platform Electric 800-volt architecture. Acura will resurrect the ZDX nameplate with an all-electric model that should debut in the spring of 2024, and both it and Honda will rely on parent company GM’s Ultium-platform underpinnings.
Even old-timers like Chrysler are jumping on the EV bandwagon with its sleek, high-efficiency Ariya sedan and a Cadillac-branded four-door called the Lyriq. And Dodge is rethinking its tire-melting V-8 muscle cars with a snazzy electric concept called the Charger Daytona SRT that should reach production in 2025.