“Successful electromobility requires efficient production“

Interview

“Successful electromobility requires efficient production“

We chat to Hartmut Rauen, Member of the Executive Directorate of the German Engineering Federation e.V. (VDMA), about electromobility as an opportunity for German industry.

Portrait Hartmut Rauen Hartmut Rauen (VDMA)

What‘s going on with electromobility in German industry at the moment?

An enormous amount – and at various levels. On the one hand, more and more applications for electric motors are being developed. Linde Material Handling is an outstanding example of this. With ist expertise, the company is opening up a lot of new areas for itself and its users. This development is very dynamic in nature and is, in turn, driving motor development forward. On the other hand, the German mechanical engineering sector is becoming ever more important as a supplier for the electromobility industry.

What does that mean in concrete terms?

It means that manufacturing represents a crucial aspect for the success of electromobility. This is because it‘s all about making the entire value creation chain more efficient – from the  construction of new and more powerful electric motors, through the development of new production solutions for building low-cost batteries, to the issue of lightweight construction. Mechanical engineering will, for example, come up with solutions for highly automated CFRP production in order to achieve the volumes required in future by the automotive sector. In this sense, mechanical engineering will be the provider of solutions.

What is the state of research in this area of innovation?

In my view, Germany is one of the world’s leading centres of research in the field of electric drive trains. In the VDMA research associations for Drive Technology (FVA) and Internal Combustion Engines (FVV), there are currently 30 ongoing research projects relating to the issue of electromobility. To illustrate how much effort is being put in: the FVA alone brings together approximately 1700 industry experts, plus around 300 players from the world of research and prestigious academic institutions, as well as representatives from the wider automotive industry and from many companies with specific expertise, such as Linde MH. It is a forum for the best minds to work together on joint research projects and lay the innovation groundwork required for company-specific developments.

How will electromobility develop overthe next few decades?

The electrification of the drive train will play an increasingly significant role in transportation – not necessarily in the form of purely electric drives, but mainly in hybrid versions. In the future we will hardly see any new cars on the road that have an internal combustion engine alone. In certain areas, such as city scooters for example, I believe that the electric motor is set to dominate completely. Some highly exciting developments lie ahead of us.

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