In conversation: Dr Richard Ahlfeld l H2D2 snow groomer dossier l Battery sealing focus l Coil windings l Electrogenic E-type conversion l Battery energy density l Thermal runaway prevention focus

THE COMMUNICATIONS HUB OF THE ELECTRIFIED POWERTRAIN Read all back issues and exclusive online-only content at ISSUE 025 | MAY/JUNE 2024 UK £15 USA $30 EUROPE €22 Under pressure Fighting fire Trade-offs in battery sealing Preventing thermal runaway Iconic conversion Electrifying Jaguar’s E-type

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64 Focus: Thermal runaway prevention Stopping thermal runaway starts with cell engineering and design, and electrochemical development 74 PS: Battery repair and recycling An uncomfortable truth is that EV batteries have higher than expected failure rates and they are costly to repair, while their actual condition is difficult to assess 4 Intro Engineers are working towards the ‘Plateau of Productivity’ when it comes to designing the tech of the future 6 The Grid E-mobility power management standard, eVTOL vehicle with US certification, building lighter components with 3D-printing, propulsion boost, doubling battery density, electron beam welding, and more… 16 In conversation: Dr Richard Ahlfeld Monolith’s CEO has worked on NASA’s space systems and now he is improving powertrain development roadmaps with AI 20 Dossier: H2D2 snow groomer A project is making it happen for ‘possibly the hardest type of vehicle to electrify’ 34 Focus: Battery sealing Why choosing the right material and process can be tricky 44 Insight: Coil windings Electric machines are not as simple as they look and coil windings have a crucial role to play in magnetic attraction 52 Digest: Electrogenic E-type conversion One developer of electric powertrains is carrying out bespoke conversions of classic models 58 Deep insight: Battery energy density An array of strategies are being used to get more oomph out of battery cells, bringing thermal management challenges 20 6 44 52 64 58 3 E-Mobility Engineering | May/June 2024 May/June 2024 | Contents

THE COMMUNICATIONS HUB OF THE ELECTRIFIED POWERTRAIN Read all back issues and exclusive online-only content at ISSUE 025 | MAY/JUNE 2024 UK £15 USA $30 EUROPE €22 Under pressure Fighting fire Trade-offs in battery sealing Preventing thermal runaway Iconic conversion Electrifying Jaguar’s E-type The learning curve Publisher Nick Ancell Editorial Director Ian Bamsey Technology Editor Nick Flaherty Production Editor Vickie Johnstone Contributors Peter Donaldson Rory Jackson Technical Consultants Ryan Maughan Danson Joseph Dr Nabeel Shirazee Design Andrew Metcalfe Ad Sales Please direct all enquiries to Nick Ancell Tel: +44 1934 713957 Subscriptions Please direct all enquiries to Frankie Robins Tel: +44 1934 713957 Publishing Director Simon Moss Marketing & PR Manager Claire Ancell General Manager Chris Perry Office Administrator Lisa Selley Volume Six | Issue Three May/June 2024 High Power Media Limited Whitfield House, Cheddar Road, Wedmore, Somerset, BS28 4EJ, England Tel: +44 1934 713957 ISSN 2631-4193 Printed in Great Britain ©High Power Media All rights reserved. Reproduction (in whole or in part) of any article or illustration without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. While care is taken to ensure the accuracy of information herein, the publisher can accept no liability for errors or omissions. Nor can responsibility be accepted for the content of any advertisement. SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscriptions are available from High Power Media at the address above or directly from our website Overseas copies are sent via air mail. EDITORIAL OPPORTUNITIES Do you have a strong technical knowledge of one or more aspects of e-mobility systems? As we grow we are on the lookout for experts who can contribute to these pages. If that sounds an interesting challenge then don’t hesitate to explore the possibility of writing for us by emailing ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES If you are looking to promote your company to engineers active in the electrification of vehicles, we have various advertising packages available to suit your needs. With a maximum of 25% of the publication allocated to advertising we offer a unique opportunity to become one of E-Mobility Engineering’s exclusive advertising partners, ensuring you are not lost in a crowded market. To discuss the opportunities and how we can work with you to promote your company please contact Nick Ancell +44 1934 713957 THE COMMUNICATIONS HUB OF THE ELECTRIFIED POWERTRAIN SUBSCRIBE TODAY visit ALSO FROM HPM Market research firm Gartner has a curve that it applies to the adoption of new technology. It starts with a rapid rise on the back of hype and investment, followed by a collapse into the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’. The climb out on the ‘Slope of Enlightenment’ leads to 2G and 3G designs, the ‘Plateau of Productivity’ and a stable global business. This happened with the PC and the smartphone, and now it’s happening with electric vehicles (EV). The ups and downs of EV sales around the world, along with the challenges of charging infrastructure, are highly publicised, but miss the point. Engineers were addressing these issues four to five years ago. Now they’re working on tech for five years’ time, from battery pack sealing (page 34) and coil winding (page 44) to thermal runaway tech (page 64), and new materials and techniques (page 6). The drive to boost the energy density of battery packs (page 58) is not only reducing their size and weight, but it’s also a key factor in electric aircraft. Following years of engineering, a number of eVTOL air taxis and short-range passenger aircraft are entering the last stages of airworthiness certification, and being tested in commercial settings. Nick Flaherty l Technology Editor EME Update Each month the E-Mobility Engineering e-newsletter provides a snapshot of the top stories on our website during the previous month. To keep up to date with the latest technological developments, sign up today at 4 May/June 2024 | E-Mobility Engineering Intro | May/June 2024 Read all back issues online UST 55 : APR/MAY 2024 UK £15, USA $30, EUROPE €22 Charge and go Battery materials advance, boosted by 3D printing Safer skies Autopilots in the age of AI Future template How Applied EV can place any body structure for any task on the Blanc Robot ELECTRIC, HYBRID & INTERNAL COMBUSTION for PERFORMANCE ISSUE 152 APRIL/MAY 2024 Birth of a legend Creating the MG Metro 6R4’s V6 David versus Goliath Electric racing’s galvanising clash A giant in Midget circles Stanton Racing Engines’ SR-11x UK £15, US/CN $25, EUROPE €22

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6 The Grid New standard proposed for e-mobility power management Intel is proposing a standard for power management across an e-mobility platform, based on its work in the computer sector, writes Nick Flaherty. It is taking a whole vehicle energymanagement approach, inspired by PC equipment. It is looking to apply these concepts to an electric vehicle (EV) platform for the first time to provide a central energy management standard. However, such an architecture only works if an entire industry is involved, as there can be dozens of electronic control units (ECUs) from different suppliers. With an average of 100 ECUs in today’s vehicles, the cumulative energy usage by these components is about 316 Wh/mile. The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) specification helps reduce the power consumption of a CPU by up to 60%, and Intel sees this being extended to software-defined vehicles, which could yield substantial power savings. This, in turn, could reduce battery size requirements, boost an EV’s operational range, and reduce weight and cost. The proposed standard will define the ECU interfaces and functions necessary to enable OEMs to develop and deploy context-aware, vehicle-wide, optimal power generation and consumption while allowing varied implementation. For example, an OEM could determine when an individual ECU should enter a low- or high-power state, based on different driving modes, providing improved energy savings. The ECU supplier would be able to implement differentiated energy-saving algorithms while still complying with the standard. By defining a standardised powermanagement protocol, the amount of power used in the EV can be reduced, improving the long-term range and life of batteries without compromising on performance or safety. At the highest level, the intent is for all ECUs to support multiple states of power operation. Such an architecture consists of three distinct concepts: description, discovery and control. At the core of whole vehicle power management is the ability of the ECU to provide a description of its capabilities, covering system (S-states), device (D-states) and compute (C-states) states. These detail the power states, how long the ECUs are in each state and what devices they power. This hierarchy of S-states, D-states and C-states, along with a description of what the ECU does and how long it will take to enter or exit any of the defined states, provides the basic building blocks for intelligent whole-vehicle power management. Once implemented across the vehicle platform, measurable energy savings can be achieved. For example, does an EV battery need to run at 800 V consistently? The SAE J3311 committee, which includes Stellantis, HERE, and Monolithic Power Systems, aims to deliver the first draft standard within 12-18 months. POWER May/June 2024 | E-Mobility Engineering Intel is proposing a vehicle powermanagement standard as SAE J3311 (Image courtesy of SAE International)

The Grid 7 First showing of new eVTOL vehicle with US certification Joby Aviation has shown its electric vehicle take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle in Europe for the first time as it receives US certification for its propulsion systems, writes Nick Flaherty. The certification plan, approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is a critical step towards receiving type certification. The eVTOL was shown in Europe for the first time at the Mobile World Congress exhibition by partner SK Telecom. The propulsion system is designed by Joby, and the certification plan covers the electric propulsion unit, propeller system, variable pitch actuation, coolant pump, nacelles and associated electrical wiring, clearly defining the route to certifying these systems for use in commercial passenger operations. “We now have an approved path across our certification programme for all the structural, mechanical and electrical systems of our aircraft. This sets the stage for our team to execute against that path with a well-defined approach to for-credit testing and analysis as we continue to lead the industry towards certifying an electric air taxi with the FAA,” said Didier Papadopoulos, president of Aircraft OEM at Joby. The FAA type certification process is a rigorous review of the design, manufacturing and performance of a novel type of aircraft, requiring the applicant company to demonstrate that every aspect of its aircraft meets applicable safety regulations. With all but one certification plan accepted and the final document now under FAA review, Joby is nearing completion of the third of five phases of the type certification process. It is now focused on the fourth stage, covering detailed testing and analysis across the aircraft’s components and systems. Joby has recently received its Part 145 Maintenance Certificate from the FAA, allowing the company to perform select maintenance activities on aircraft and marking another key step on the path to commercialising Joby’s electric air-taxi service. The company has already delivered its first two S4 aircraft to the US Air Force, which will have a 100-mile range with a pilot and four passengers, and a top speed of 200 mph. US space agency NASA will also use the aircraft for research, focusing on how they could fit into the national airspace. The aircraft, which are the first to be built on Joby’s Pilot Production Line in Marina, California, are stationed at Edwards Air Force Base for the next year, with charging and ground-support equipment provided on base by Joby in a facility that was purpose-built by the Air Force for joint flight-test operations. The US Air Force and Joby will conduct joint flight testing and operations to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities in realistic mission settings. Operations will include the training of Air Force pilots and aircraft maintenance crews ahead of the launch of a commercial passenger service in 2025. The eVTOL vehicle currently uses commercial automotive lithium-ion pouch cells with an energy density of 288 Wh/kg, which turns into 235 Wh/kg at pack level. Joby also owns H2Fly, which recently completed a series of piloted flights with its HY4 hydrogen electric demonstrator aircraft. This is fitted with a hydrogenelectric fuel-cell propulsion system and liquid hydrogen, which powered it for a flight of over three hours. The use of cryogenically-cooled liquid hydrogen increases the range of the HY4 from 466 miles (750 km) to 932 miles (1500 km) with the same tank, marking a key step for mid- to long-range aircraft. AIRCRAFT E-Mobility Engineering | May/June 2024 The Joby S4, shown at Mobile World Congress (Image courtesy of the author)

The Grid Building lighter components with 3D printing each layer has a unique function and characteristics. The resulting monolithic and monomaterial parts are simpler to produce in a single 3D-printing operation, without any assembly, eliminating scrap. The technique can be used for seats, using a single material to achieve levels of comfort, cushioning and support that cannot be achieved with the usual fabrics, foams and reinforcements. It is also 30% lighter. A seat can even be modelled to the shape of the driver. Renault has used AM to make tooling, as well as prototype parts. The structure developed by Renault and the CEA opens the way to new applications, including areas the vehicle occupants come into contact with, such as front seats. “The almost total freedom of design, savings in materials and weight, integration of functions and reduction in manufacturing times mean that AM is a sector strongly supported by the CEA,” said CEA-Liten CEO François Legalland. ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING 8 May/June 2024 | E-Mobility Engineering The mesh material for additive manufacturing (Image courtesy of CEA) AIRCRAFT Propulsion module for take-off and landing aircraft Greenjets and Ricardo have shown a fully operational, demonstration propulsion module for use in electric aircraft, writes Nick Flaherty. The InCEPTion module, the result of an 18-month project, is aimed at eVTOL aircraft weighing under 5 t. The system uses a bespoke wraparound, immersion-cooled, ultra-high-performance, 20 kW/h battery, using 32 connected modules in a toroid. In addition to the design and build of the fully integrated module, Ricardo has been responsible for the compete thermal management system, incorporating increased safety aspects from the initial design stage. The toroidal shape has been designed to form part of the structure of a propulsion system, with shared cooling and structural elements, making its delivery challenging and complex. The design is configured in a 360o orientation, with bonded composites and a foam structure to reduce weight. “The architecture of our largest engine, the IPM500, has benefited greatly from our collaboration with Ricardo. With Ricardo’s custom battery pack integrated into the nacelle of our engine, we make vital savings in efficiency and weight, along with close integration with the rest of the powertrain. It also improves safety by moving significant battery weight away from the fuselage,” said Anmol Manohar, CEO of Greenjets. “Our engineers have designed, developed and built a system that is fully scalable, which also enables different combinations of the same module to power multiple aircraft concepts, from electric vertical take-off and landing applications to general aviation aircraft and sub-regional aircraft. The system is versatile and can be 100% battery or fuel-cell hybrid-powered,” said Matt Beasley, director of global engineering and operations at Ricardo. “Our engineering expertise in the automotive industry is enabling us to deliver innovative, sustainable projects in the aerospace and maritime industries.” Greenjets is now working with Ricardo on ground and wind-tunnel tests for integration into an engine for use in commercial aircraft. The InCEPTion propulsion module (Image courtesy of Ricardo) Researchers in France are developing a new way to use additive manufacturing (AM) for EVs, writes Nick Flaherty. Renault Group is working with French research group CEA-Liten on a complex mesh structure that can be produced in a single, 3D-printing AM stage to produce components with adaptive mechanical behaviour. CEA-Liten has filed 10 patents on the technology, which can be used to reduce the weight of the materials in an EV. Each of the Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) strands making up the mesh of the lattice structure can be parameterised three-dimensionally to form multi-layer networks of cells in which

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10 BATTERIES All-solid-state sodium batteries closer to practical use Researchers in Japan have developed a process that produces a sulfide solid electrolyte with the world’s highest sodium ion conductivity, writes Nick Flaherty. The synthesised material, developed at Osaka Metropolitan University, is a key contender for all-solid-state sodium batteries. The solid electrolyte, Na2.88Sb0.88W0.12S4, has a sodium ion conductivity about 10 times higher than required for practical use and a glass electrolyte with high reduction resistance. Using sodium polysulfides (sulfides with at least two atoms of sulfur) as both the material and the flux, which promotes the integration of the solid electrolyte into a solid-state cell with a conductivity of 125 mS/cm at 25 C. This is key for allowing the sodium ions to move from the anode to the cathode. It uses a simplified production process at atmospheric pressure. Many other solid electrolytes need high-pressure processes in a sealed reaction vessel. “This newly developed process is useful for the production of almost all sodium-containing sulfide materials, including solid electrolytes and electrode active materials,” said Professor Sakuda, who led the project at the university. “Also, compared to conventional methods, this process makes it easier to obtain materials that display higher performance, so we believe it will become a mainstream process for the future development of materials for all-solid-state sodium batteries.” A practical process for an all-solidstate sodium battery cell needs mass synthesis for high-alkali-content sulfide glass electrolytes, which are characterised by high ionic conductivity and high levels of formability. Typically, vacuum sealing and quenching are conventional techniques employed during the manufacturing process. The researchers used a new method to produce the sulfide glass electrolytes with high alkali concentrations, achieved through ambient-pressure heat treatment and a gradual cooling process by incorporating a small quantity of silicon dioxide (SiO2). The ionic conductivity of the resulting sodium oxythioborosilicate glass exhibited 1.5 × 10–5 mS/cm at 25 C, surpassing that of Na3BS3 glass. The team built a rechargeable, solid-state sodium battery cell that works at 60 C without the need for high-temperature quenching. May/June 2024 | E-Mobility Engineering Pilot line provides double the battery density of lithium ion Nissan has shown its pilot line for all-solid-state batteries, writes Nick Flaherty. The Yokohama Plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, will supply EVs in 2028, which means the platforms are currently under design. The laminated, all-solid-state batteries will have an energy density of 800 Wh/L, approximately twice that of conventional lithium-ion batteries, a significantly shorter charging time due to superior charge and discharge performance, and lower costs due to less expensive materials. Nissan expects the production line to reduce the cost of the battery cells to $75 per kWh in fiscal 2028, and then to $65 per kWh, which would be on a parity with internal combustion engines. The pilot line will use the prototype production facility developed at the Nissan Research Centre, also in Kanagawa Prefecture. Nissan plans to use all-solid-state batteries in a wide range of vehicles, including pick-up trucks. The laminated SSB cells are being shown in the Hyper Force concept vehicle this month (April), which uses the e-4ORCE all-wheel control. The cells will be used in the Gen 3 Formula E electric racing car. BATTERIES The all-solid-state battery pilot line (Image courtesy of Nissan)

The Grid 11 E-Mobility Engineering | May/June 2024 Electron beams offer faster, more precise welding Weight-saving composites for electric buses Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE) is working with Ford on automating electron-beam welding, writes Nick Flaherty. The EB-eDrive project will examine how to scale up electron-beam welding for joining copper and aluminium components in electric motors. Ford Powertrain Manufacturing is working with CVE to find ways to reduce the time it takes to manufacture hairpin stators using electron-beam welding, which is faster and more precise than existing processes. Speeding up the welding of the stators could help increase the production of EVs. Electron-beam welding is significantly faster than conventional laser-welding techniques, and it is already used in wind turbines and nuclear reactor motors. The two companies have a scope of Exel Composites in Finland has developed a large-scale composite process for electric buses, writes Nick Flaherty. It has secured a project with Foton Bus and Coach in China to supply glassfibre composites, which will reduce the maintenance requirements and weight of the vehicles due to their corrosionresistant and lightweight properties. The geometric design flexibility of composites enables wider structural engineering possibilities than traditional metals, such as steel and aluminium. Exel Composites will produce a series of structural, composite profiles for many different bus models, including fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) side panels, skirt panels and fake roofs. Pultrusion technology allows the continuous production of FRP structural shapes in an automated process by works, have drawn up preliminary designs and demonstrated some small samples of e-beam welding. “The potential benefits that electronbeam welding can bring to the production of motor stators is huge. As well as looking to reduce manufacturing times, pulling fibre glass through a resin bath or resin impregnator. The resin hardens from the heated steel pultrusion die, resulting in a strong, lightweight product that follows the shape of the die. This process offers greater tensile strength and durability, while reducing density we will be seeing what we can do to improve the quality of hairpin welds to reduce the risk of electrical shortcuts and the production of non-functioning stators,” said Bob Nicolson, CEO of Aquasium Technology, the parent company of CVE. Another CVE project, called EB-Bat, is a collaboration with Delta Cosworth and The Welding Institute (TWI) to design, build and test an electron-beam welding machine for battery busbar components. The CV EB welding equipment includes systems ranging from 50-200 kV with beam powers up to 100 kW. The current system developed by CVE can weld three strips of metal up to 250 mm long with a combined width of 3 mm. It has a 60 kV beam with a power of 10 kW, and it can weld the metal strips together in groups of 30. by 30% compared with traditional aluminium profiles. The weight savings provided by fibre glass, compared with aluminium, reduces the strain on the chassis and the battery. The composite panels do not rust and can last for decades. WELDING BUSES Composites for bus design (Image courtesy of Exel Composites) CVE and Ford are seeking to reduce the time it takes to make hairpin stators, the electromagnet system central to the smooth running of EV engines (Image courtesy of CVE)

Technical consultants Ryan Maughan is an award-winning engineer and business leader with more than 20 years’ experience in the High-Performance, Heavy-Duty and Off-Highway Automotive markets. Prominent in the development of Power Electronics, Electric Motors and Drives (PEMD) for these demanding applications, he has successfully founded, scaled and exited three businesses in the electric vehicle space. He is currently CEO of eTech49 Limited, an advisory business specialising in disruptive hardware technology in PEMD. In addition, he is Chairman of EV North, an industry group representing the booming EV industry in the north of England, a board member of the North East LEP and an adviser to a number of corporations. Danson Joseph has had a varied career in the electrical power industry, having worked in areas ranging from systems engineering of photovoltaic powerplants to developing the battery packs for Jaguar Land Rover’s I-Pace SUV. With a PhD in electrical machines from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, Danson has focused on developing battery systems for automotive use. After completing the I-Pace project he formed Danecca, a battery development company with a focus on prototyping and small-scale production work, as well as testing and verifying cells and packs destined for mass production. Dr Nabeel Shirazee graduated from Leicester University in 1990, where he studied electrical and electronic engineering. An MSc in magnetic engineering followed at Cardiff University, where he continued his studies, earning a PhD and developing a permanent magnetic lifting system that has been patented by the university. His interest in magnetics led to a patented magnetic levitation system that was awarded the World’s No 1 Invention prize at INPEX in the USA. In 1999, he founded Electronica, a magnetics research and design consultancy. Since then, he has been involved in various projects, including the design of an actuator motor for a British aerospace company. He has also licensed the levitation technology in France. Ryan Maughan Danson Joseph Dr Nabeell Shiirazee Researchers in the US have developed a solid-state lithium-air battery cell with a potential energy density of 1000 Wh/kg (writes Nick Flaherty). The capacity is potentially four times that of the current lithium-ion battery technology used in heavy-duty vehicles such as aircraft, trains and submarines. The electrolyte is a mix of polymer and ceramic materials that takes advantage of the ceramics’ high ionic conductivity and the high stability and high interfacial connection of the polymer. The electrolyte is based on Li10GeP2S12 nanoparticles embedded in a polyethylene oxide polymer matrix. The result allows for the critical reversible reaction that enables the battery to function – lithium dioxide formation and decomposition – to occur at high rates at room temperature. It is the first demonstration of this in a lithium-air battery. “We found that solid-state electrolyte contributes around 75% of the total energy density,” said Mohammad Asadi, Assistant Professor of chemical engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology. “That tells us there is a lot of room for improvement, because we believe we can minimise that thickness without compromising performance, which would allow us to achieve a very high energy density.” Prof Asadi said he plans to work with industry partners to optimise the battery’s design and engineer it for manufacturing. The prototype cell is rechargeable for 1000 cycles with a low polarisation gap, and it can operate at high rates. BATTERIES Lithium-air’s quadruple potential The Grid March/April 2023 | E-Mobility Engineering 11 12 The Grid MINING Dynamic charging e-rail powers mining trucks A patented power railconnection system is boosting the use of EVs in mining, writes Nick Flaherty. BluVein in Australia has been working with Hitachi Energy on the dynamic charging system to deliver batteryelectric haul trucks up to 400 Mt. BluVein will focus on its leading-edge e-rail and connection, while Hitachi Energy will supply the electronics and digital controls to power the system. The e-rail uses electrical contacts that are enclosed in the Ingress-Protection (IP) rated slotted rail. This rail is mounted above or beside the vehicle, and an arm and hammer connects them, providing power to drive the EV and charge the batteries while in operation. BluVein will focus on its leading-edge e-rail and connection of the truck, while Hitachi Energy will supply the electronics and digital controls to power and monitor the whole system. The system is independent of the truck or charging system manufacturer, but BluVein has a deal with Epiroc in Sweden to convert the Minetruck MT42 underground diesel truck to electric use with the slotted, e-rail system. The firms are exploring off-vehicle hardware requirements for BluVein1 for underground and smaller fleets. May/June 2024 | E-Mobility Engineering A power rail system for electric mining trucks (Image courtesy of Hitachi Energy)

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CWIEME Berlin Tuesday 14 – Thursday 16 May Berlin, Germany Battery Cells & Systems Expo Wednesday 15 – Thursday 16 May Birmingham, UK The Magnetics Show North America Wednesday 22 – Thursday 23 May Pasadena, USA European EV Thermal Management Summit 2024 Thursday 6 – Friday 7 June Frankfurt, Germany PCIM Europe Tuesday 11 – Thursday 13 June Nuremberg, Germany hy-fcell Canada 2024 Monday 17 – Wednesday 19 June Vancouver, Canada Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo Tuesday 18 – Thursday 20 June Stuttgart, Germany The Battery Show Europe Tuesday 18 – Thursday 20 June Stuttgart, Germany INDUSTRY The Battery Show and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo Europe The Battery Show and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo Europe returns to Stuttgart on 18-20 June 2024 for three productive days of activity. Industry professionals from across the advanced battery and H/EV supply chain will be at the co-located events to forge new relationships with top manufacturers and suppliers, get a close look at the latest technologies, and learn from influential engineers at the twotrack, expert-led conference. Attendees will be able to explore the show floor with a complimentary pass, and meet with more than 1,000 suppliers and manufacturers, from innovative start-ups to industry giants. The exhibitor list includes the likes of Aspen Aerogels, Parker Hannafin and Castrol. The conference programme will feature speakers from Audi, BMW, CATL and Volvo, to name a few, and explore topics such as the development of EV architectures, with OEMs sharing their latest developments in e-motors, inverters and powertrain systems. What’s more, manufacturers will share their plans for closed-loop EV battery manufacturing, recycling and reuse. More information at can be found at: Diary 14 May/June 2024 | E-Mobility Engineering

16 May/June 2024 | E-Mobility Engineering Monolith’s CEO tells Rory Jackson how AI can help improve and shorten vehicle and powertrain development Rules of the game For much of the 21st century, automotive applications of big data have been limited to some attempts at predictive maintenance in vehicles and powertrains. This is beginning to change, with the growing use of analytics by many major organisations to characterise current and future battery cell chemistries, based on vast testing data, and to optimise vehicle qualities such as structural integrity, aerodynamics or power efficiency, based on accumulated test data on respective parameters. However, the benefits of analytics depend on the algorithms at their core. Naturally, a more intelligent algorithm could more accurately predict a cell’s future behaviour, generate a more aerodynamic fairing geometry with a higher success rate, and yield myriad other benefits for battery and vehicle development. Creating such an algorithm thrust Dr Richard Ahlfeld, chief executive officer of Monolith, into the public spotlight in 2016. At that time, he had been working with NASA to explore how the next Mars mission, the Artemis project, or other space systems could benefit from his work on machine learning for complex engineering tasks. He presented his research to wide and positive acclaim from NASA’s global supporters, with someone immediately approaching him afterwards to try to license his technology. “As I was still an employee at Imperial College, I couldn’t license anything, so I went to the university, told them that Monolith’s AI tools are being applied to a range of EV development processes across vehicle, pack and powertrain (Images courtesy of Monolith)

17 Dr Richard Ahlfeld | In conversation E-Mobility Engineering | May/June 2024 (sometimes thousands) of the pertinent cell type and cycle them in test machinery, charging and discharging them exhaustively across different environmental conditions. As a result, every major OEM and many other organisations worldwide are investing in cavernous cell-testing labs full of multi-channel battery testers. The average battery testing lab is a project worth hundreds of millions of dollars, designed around creating masses of data, with each organisation operating their lab independently, without any sharing of best practices or data between companies that could make the work shorter or easier. “We have tried in the past to get groups to publicise data, especially when it has been scientifically superrelevant, but the reality is: anyone who is investing close on billions of dollars in testing and characterising cells to get them to market is adamantly against giving any kind of advantage or help to their competitors. No-one is sharing information,” Ahlfeld says. This reticence to share battery testing data, even between labs testing the exact same cell model, leads to a few problems. For one, it means companies must spend (and arguably waste) months of time and effort generating 1-2 TB of cell data per week to understand how long the cells will last in application. As such massive quantities of data are too much for humans to realistically analyse, AI analytics are of obvious use. Second, battery testing labs will experience more cell failures than those seen in EVs, e-bikes and smartphones, from minor cell swellings to severe leakages and explosions. These tend to occur in controlled spaces without risk to researchers, but can still cause delays and setbacks to module development, lasting potentially months. “If you’re supposed to release an EV in three years – which China is achieving, though in Europe it still takes maybe five – and you’ve wasted six months testing a cell only for it to go bang and cause you to start from scratch, that is of potentially huge consequence on your time-to-market,” Ahlfeld notes. Lastly, organisations cannot be certain of the most efficient test plans, encompassing the numbers of cells and cycles per cell, and ranges of conditions to repeat tests under, along with other parameters and permutations. “This, from my view, is the biggest problem in battery testing: there are so many conditions to test that the default fallback strategy for most OEMs is to test everything, so you end up with more than 800,000 possible test combinations of cell data; each test takes between six people wanted to buy my algorithm, and with their encouragement, we founded a company,” Ahlfeld recounts. Since founding Monolith in 2016 as a spin-out from Imperial, Ahlfeld and the company have worked with not only NASA but also McLaren Automotive, BMW, Honeywell, Mercedes, Michelin, Siemens, among others, to improve and shorten vehicle and powertrain development roadmaps using AI. “The goal was always to examine how engineers could adapt to this new world in which terabytes of data were being produced by organisations making new aircraft engines, new cars and so on,” Ahlfeld says. “So, we built our Monolith software platform around this idea of making it easier for engineers to take sensor data, vehicle data and so on, and stream it into a processing engine that figures out key answers to specific questions and problems that they have.” The problem of data For a tangible understanding of how AI can make a difference to e-mobility, Ahlfeld puts forward the example of battery testing. “In many cases, the first decision you need to make when designing a new EV is choosing a cell chemistry for your needs, and today we’re on the cusp of sodium-ion, solid-state, aluminium, silicon anode, and other new cell technologies becoming commercially available, but it is most likely you will pick an NMC chemistry today,” he says. “You need to prototype modules and packs around that, but essentially, no-one really knows how a cell behaves down to its electrochemical elements. It’s incredibly complicated and intractable, and that is the reason some cells die after 12 months and others after 60 months. It is true for current batteries and even more true for next-generation batteries.” Hence, the only way to believably tell someone if their new EV (and its pack) will last for five years is to take hundreds AI tools such as the Next Test Recommender treat battery testing as a game, learning (based on the game’s rules) how to build a test plan much faster and better than humans can

In conversation | Dr Richard Ahlfeld 18 and 18 months. They’re wasting huge amounts of money, two to five times what they should be spending, from our experience,” Ahlfeld says. “But the longer you’ve been in the game, the better you’ve learned how to safety-rate a cell using a shorter and smarter test regimen. Peter Attia, who used to lead battery testing at Tesla, was a Stanford researcher specialising in AI for battery testing. He proved he could reduce the time and cost of battery testing programmes by something like 98%. Within the controlled limits of battery tests, AI can learn how to solve these problems much faster than humans.” How AI learns Monolith’s AI platform functions on different types of learning, depending on the application. For optimising a battery test plan, the algorithm goes through a sequence of steps analogous to learning the rules of a game. “Once it learns the rules, it learns to optimise its next move. It is essentially reinforcement learning, with specific Bayesian optimisations to make it work robustly in dimensions with high noiseto-signal ratios, like battery tests, which often output very jagged, erratic curves in cells’ performance parameters,” Ahlfeld explains. “Inference is the most important thing: we give the platform a data set, and it has to draw conclusions and assumptions from that set in order to optimise the next one. It is an entire area of machine learning, and we’ve gone through all types available over the last five years, applied them to real test lab environments and picked the ones that worked, adding on user interfaces that make them easier to interact with. “For our test lab optimisation toolbox, users upload the results they have so far, and the algorithm goes through a search to figure out the rules of the game and the final goal in order to output recommendations.” He likens the fundamental behaviours of the toolbox to how some social media apps recommend content. From an algorithmic perspective, both types of system must work in noise-heavy environments and infer what should be chosen next, based on past choices (be they clicks, or the number and types of cell tests). While there are variations, fundamentally, each solution in the Monolith platform has been engineered in the same way: the team has identified an ideal machine-learning tool for solving the specific problem of how to test a battery faster, and then made it easier for engineers to work with it. AI in battery testing Three AI solutions within Monolith stand out with regard to battery testing. The first is its Anomaly Detector software, which monitors users’ test stations 24/7, and upon detecting something indicative of a fault condition, alerts them to stop the test. “In predictive maintenance, you have a finished product with well-established behaviours. With new battery cells, you don’t know how they’re supposed to work, but with this solution’s self-learning, deep learning-based algorithm, just 20 seconds of training it with a ‘golden run’ of ideal test results is enough for it to start learning what is normal for safe cell behaviour, thereafter telling you – almost in a paranoid way – whenever a cell does something unusual,” Ahlfeld says. The system can work across hundreds of channels with different sensor types, tracking and judging not only voltage or current sensors but also accelerometers, gyroscopes, torque sensors and other automotive-testing equipment. “Lots of things can trigger an alert to the Anomaly Detector in battery tests. We have seen it flag when a cell swelled up slightly or overheated, when a sensor drifted over time, technicians running the wrong script, unusual vibrations caused by a researcher doing a dance nearby, and it can be configured to prioritise certain signals over others,” Ahlfeld notes. “Users don’t have to fine-tune an advanced deep neural network. They just label acceptable data signals as okay, so the system learns what is normal behaviour for a cell, and hence what isn’t normal or acceptable, be it overheating, overcurrents and so on.” The second solution is a Next Test Recommender, which formulates a May/June 2024 | E-Mobility Engineering Monolith can be applied to anything with a prototype to be validated, sensors to pull data from and a moderately complex range of different test conditions

19 cell-testing plan (or the remaining parts of an incomplete test plan) based on driving cycles, charging habits, ambient environmental conditions and other factors that the pack will be subjected to. Naturally, the rate of error in one’s prediction models for cell ageing will be very high when testing starts and drop as tests conclude. If AI is applied correctly to train one’s models, the rate of error drops much more sharply against the rate of tests, so the Next Test Recommender routinely reduces the number of tests that its users need to run by 30-60%. “That system is very similar to the sort of reinforcement learning that became popularised through Google DeepMind years ago. It basically treats battery testing as a game with specific rules, and essentially the victory condition is discovering with very high certainty how long the battery will last, when it will get too hot and those sorts of end-of-life conditions,” Ahlfeld explains. “If you’ve looked at Google Go, or any other chess robot, then you know this is something AI has been good at for decades. If you give AI the rules to a game, it can usually learn them much better and faster than a human can, and become very hard to beat. So, it’s very hard to beat an AI at building a test plan if you’re trying to do it yourself manually, and each test costs you time and money, so there is no sense in not using AI to do it.” The last solution for battery testing is Monolith’s Early Stopping Model, which forecasts the results of the remaining planned tests (typically up to six to 12 months ahead) and aims to judge whether running the remaining tests on the plan is unnecessary; for instance, if a cell seems unfit for purpose, based on test results, then it makes little sense to AI to continue characterising it. “In many cases the AI can, for instance, see faster than a human when a cell is ageing too quickly, and when it makes no sense to go all the way to, say, 5000 cycles if, after 800 cycles, you’ve got a whole batch of them that are degrading faster than is ideal,” Ahlfeld says. Future intelligence Beyond cell characterising, Monolith can be applied to anything with a test prototype to be validated, sensors to extract data from, and at least a moderately complex range of different conditions across which that prototype should be tested (to ensure the system is being used to its full potential). “For instance, if you are investigating tyre dynamics or friction in automotive or motorsport, you have so many different conditions that you need to run the tyre in that it quickly gets mind-boggling. Similarly, if you’re in some facet of powertrain optimisation or dyno testing – for example, maybe motor durability testing – you have hundreds of different scenarios to deal with,” Ahlfeld says. “If you have a prototype motor, you need to figure out the best combinations of test parameters, how long you need to test it for, and how far you can trust the data. Empowering engineers to quickly figure that out is what we sought to achieve through Monolith AI since founding the company eight years ago.” Today, Ahlfeld and his team are shifting their work towards visualising what laboratories will look like five to 10 years into the future, particularly as generative AI makes it possible to produce code or compile test reports faster than ever before. “Using AI for anything languagebased is a lot easier now than it was five years ago, but ChatGPT will never be able to understand the intractable physics of batteries,” he says. “If you could ask ChatGPT how to make a functioning sodium-ion battery, that would be great, but it can only learn off the internet, and no-one on the internet has solved that yet. “Advanced thermal-management techniques, new battery chemistries, tyre cooling and plenty of other vehicular problems will always require a real, physical laboratory for experimenting and investigating to see what works. “But if we can build the AI algorithms behind those labs to allow, say, faster discovery of new battery materials, next-generation powertrain configurations and so on, we can bring the future, high-throughput test laboratory to life.” E-Mobility Engineering | May/June 2024 Dr Richard Ahlfeld Dr Richard Ahlfeld was born in Hausen ob Verena, near Munich, Germany, and he achieved his Bachelor of Engineering degree at Bundeswehr University in 2010 (in Mathematical Engineering). He went on to study Aerospace Engineering and Mathematics in a Master’s capacity at Delft University of Technology from 2011, briefly working as an intern at MTU Aero Engines that year, before graduating Summa cum Laude and with Honours in 2013 (completing his Master Thesis at Airbus Defence and Space). After completing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Data Science in 2017, at Imperial College London, he founded Monolith AI. Soon after, the company started its first paid work with McLaren Automotive, aimed at reducing a new supercar’s early-stage engineering deviations and accelerating its virtual validation lifecycle. Today, he continues to lead Monolith as CEO. In his spare time, he plays the piano, and he has written articles for The AI Journal as an editorial contributor since 2021.

20 May/June 2024 | E-Mobility Engineering A unique project plans to electrify the niche market of snow groomers, reports Rory Jackson Power on the piste More than 300 ski resorts decorate the five mountain ranges of France, and these are home to some vehicles that are quite unlike those found at any other kind of sporting retreat. One may at first think of snowmobiles, once described to us as “possibly the hardest type of vehicle to electrify” given the icy environments, high vibrations and duty cycles they must be designed to handle – although, as seen in our feature on the Aurora Powertrains eSled in Issue 16 (winter 2022), a few companies are starting to successfully design and commercialise such vehicles to run on batteries rather than diesel. Snow groomers are arguably less thought of, despite being more central to the running of ski resorts. Also known as ‘trail groomers’ in American English or ‘piste bashers’ in British English, these are large, heavy vehicles, typically powered by diesel engines and running plough-like, hydraulically operated sets of blades, tillers and other snow-shaping equipment off their front ends. Through the hydraulic equipment running off their diesel engine shafts, these powerful mobile machines are widely used in the maintenance of ski slopes, as well as the erecting of winter sports structures such as half pipes, terrain parks and snow-tube parks, which are highly valued by skiers and snowboarders, not to mention the grooming of cross-country skiing trails, and the clearing or ring-fencing of roads and runways for logistics or medical services to make their way in and out of resort grounds. Standard snow groomers come with significant drawbacks, however. They typically consume a costly 30-35 litres of diesel per hour. It follows that they produce copious carbon, NOx and other pollutants harmful to resort patrons, not to mention considerable noise. Their high fuel consumption, the wintery environments in which they work and the many moving parts in their diesel powertrains also make for very high maintenance costs when using fleets. Take all the financial and experiential benefits that could be gained from curing snow groomers of their need for diesel, and group these with the existential threat that climate change poses to the survival of ski resorts or any other industry reliant on snowcapped mountain tops (with average annual snow cover days projected to decline by 50-78% in some ranges A consortium of French companies has created a hydrogen-electric powertrain, ideal for electrifying snow groomers and other heavy-duty, long-range vehicles (Image courtesy of PistenBully)