How Electric Vehicles are Driving Automotive Interior Trends

Without the restriction of a cumbersome internal combustion engine or fuel tank, electric vehicles have begun a new trend in automotive interiors. Of course, there needs to be space for the batteries and electric motor in EV’s, but many EV auto manufacturers are looking for ways to break free from traditional auto frameworks when it comes to design, such as Ford’s new Mustang Mach-E, with a cooler under the hood. Electric vehicle technology hasn’t always been looked upon fondly by consumers, who, in the past, have criticized the look of electric cars simply because they didn’t look like traditional cars. Now, however, manufacturers are experimenting with more aerodynamic designs and incorporating them into SUVs, sedans, and sporty vehicles.

EV Interiors – How are They Transforming Traditional Auto Trends? 

With no need for a gas gauge on the dashboard, EV designers are opting for a sleeker, futuristic look. Since connectivity is an integral part of our lives, it’s equally important to incorporate cars with a central hub containing a great display and easy-to-use controls such as voice command and Bluetooth connections. In other words, less is more to current EV buyers since user experience is one of the most prominent things buyers are looking for in a car. From a functionality standpoint, electric vehicles don’t require as much front-air intake as a traditional vehicle since cooling the engine isn’t as necessary. Instead, designers can now focus on efficient designs that promote battery life. 

Electric Vehicle Powertrain Design Trends

Beyond user experience, safety standards are obviously a top priority for buyers. All EV’s go through rigorous testing for safety and compliance, ensuring:

  • Batteries stay secure during a crash
  • There is a limited risk of a chemical spill from batteries
  • The chassis is isolated from the car’s high-voltage system to prevent electric shock. 

Electric vehicles are also built with a lower center of gravity than regular cars, so they have a better chance of avoiding rollover during an accident. This lower center of gravity is also said to improve ride quality. One potential safety issue with EVs is their near-silent operation, which can make it difficult for pedestrians to sense when they are near. 

Heating & Cooling EV’s

Each electric vehicle manufacturer has a different way of managing powertrain heating and cooling. For instance, the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf use passive airflow cooling to their battery packs, liquid cooling for the rest of their powertrain components, and motor. However, Tesla EVs make use of an interconnected liquid heating and cooling system throughout the entire powertrain.  

EV Battery Life

The battery life of electric vehicles is something that has definitely improved over time and is still being improved upon with each new model. McKinsey & Company enlisted a team of engineers to manually disassemble 10 EV models to inspect their batteries, powertrain components, and technology that drives these cars forward. McKinsey’s engineers discovered a variety of cylindrical, prismatic, and pouch batteries are utilized in modern EV’s with multiple chemistries. They didn’t find a particular winner when it came to battery life and longevity in these designs, but they determined that the manufacturers had improved battery life by 30% between the years 2011 and 2018.

Native EV’s Vs. Non-Native EV’s

McKinsey research and testing also found that native EV’s – which are vehicles that are designed as electric vehicles, not adapted into an EV from a prior gas-powered vehicle, have a clear advantage when it comes to driving and interior space as the battery compartment is well-thought-out instead of awkwardly adapted to a car’s traditional footprint. A native EV’s battery pack can be condensed to fit at the very bottom of the vehicle, optimizing interior space by up to 10%.

Powertrain Components and Materials

Traditional vehicles are being made with different plastics and other materials in order to reduce the weight of the vehicle and enhance fuel efficiency. However, EV manufacturers, who don’t need to worry about fuel consumption have experimented with vehicle body materials such as aluminum, steel, and carbon fiber to find the best material for long-range driving. 

Each EV manufacturer has a different supply-chain strategy for batteries and components, with some being outsourced, and some made in-house:

  • Chinese EV-maker, BYD makes all their own major powertrain components for their e6 vehicles in-house
  • Tesla sources its EV battery cells from Panasonic, transmission components from BorgWarner, and makes all its own battery packs, power electronics, and motors
  • Chevrolet outsources most of its powertrain components for the Chevy Bolt, as well as most of the electronics and user interface components from LG in Korea

Electric Vehicle Growth Projections

It’s taken a while for the consumer market to adapt to the idea of electric or even hybrid vehicles, but as more people buy, overall trust in the technology should improve over time. In 2019, EV manufacturers made a pledge to invest $225 billion over the next few years in EV development due to restrictive emissions regulations and high-stakes fuel efficiency guidelines in most countries. Some big-name car companies have lofty goals for their EV lineups, including:

Innovative Automation Automotive Manufacturing

Auto manufacturers are paving the way by creating new, sustainable, and innovative technologies and electric vehicle trends for the mainstream market. At Innovative Automation, we are proud to be a global leader in cutting-edge solutions with diverse applications to several industries, including automotive, consumer goods, and medical device manufacturing. 

Contact us today for an innovative, knowledgeable and highly experienced team to guide your switch to automation. 

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