Billy explained his role and involvement with regards to the conference, critical engineering challenges and why it is important for engineers to attend.
Q: Please could you briefly explain your role, involvement, and experience with regards to EV batteries?
Billy Wu (BW): I am Dr. Billy Wu, a senior lecturer in the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London. I co-lead the Electrochemical Science and Engineering group which works at the interface between fundamental science and engineering application of energy devices such as batteries, fuel cells and supercapacitors. Our cross-cutting activities include materials development, device modelling, thermal management and control. My role in the Institution’s International EV Batteries conference is as an advisor to the conference, commenting on topics of interest for the programme, suggesting speakers and helping where needed.
Q: What would you say are the main challenges to EV batteries being adopted by consumers on a large scale?
BW: EVs are approaching an inflection point in terms of consumer uptake however progress in terms of continuing cost reductions, improvements to charging infrastructure and system lifetime remain challenges which needs to be addressed. Cost in particular is one of the major hurdles to consumer uptake but can be addressed at a range of scales from innovations in materials, manufacturing and system level engineering. However, deployment of these technologies requires a co-ordinated effort across the supply chain from multi-disciplinary teams.
Q: How do you see those challenges being overcome in the coming years?
BW: Improvements will likely be made in multiple areas resulting in an overall improvement in cost, charging and lifetime. Within cost, optimisation and innovations in the manufacturing process will likely help to drive down the cost of cells and improvements to the pack design will also reduce the additional non-cell mass in an EV. Improved thermal management systems coupled with improvements in cell design as recently demonstrated with Tesla’s tabless cell design will be key enablers. For faster charging, smarter algorithms will help to optimise the charging for speed whilst minimising degradation.
Q: Regarding new technologies for battery use and operation, what would you say are the ones to watch for the future?
BW: Solid state batteries have made significant improvements in recent years but still face significant technical challenges. However, if these issues are overcome, the energy density gains they unlock potentially could be game-changing and enable other modes of electrification. Beyond that, innovations in the battery manufacturing process have the potential to drive down the cost of cells. Approaches such as dry electrode manufacturing still have a long way to go but could significantly reduce the cost and speed of manufacturing batteries.
Q: Why is it important for engineers to join this year’s International EV Batteries conference?
BW: EV uptake is reaching an inflection point and there are still many challenges remaining. The International EV Batteries conference has a great line-up of speakers to present the state-of-the-art in the field which hopefully will stimulate new ideas and collaborations. Ultimately, this is a multi-disciplinary field and new ideas and perspectives will help the field to continue to innovate.
This year’s International EV Batteries conference will be taking place live online on 11-12 November 2020.
Join this conference to:
- Hear from battery experts from organisations including Arrival, Geely Powertrain Research Institute, Britishvolt, Department for Transport, London Fire Brigade, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Magna Powertrain, Groupe Renault, Williams Advanced Engineering, Vertical Aerospace and the Health and Safety Executive
- Find out how specific challenges of integrating EV technology into heavy duty, aerospace and military applications are being managed by leaders in the field
- Plan for a more cost-effective, stable and energy-dense battery by hearing about state-of-the-art battery cell chemistries and design
- Gain insights into the latest battery testing techniques and technologies to ensure an efficient and safe battery
- Learn best practice for thermal management of batteries to ensure optimal temperatures for safe and efficient operation
- Join the discussion through our interactive roundtables and our live question and answer sessions with the speakers
To book your place, please visit www.imeche.org/evbatteries.