3M, DuPont, PPG, Corning new Entrants in Car Electrification Race

Mish

Electric vehicles are lighter and have fewer moving parts than conventional cars. The shift is not just about batteries.

Electric vehicles are the wave of the future even if battery technology is not where it needs to be at present. While Elon Musk and the car makers have a spotlight on batteries, what about other components in the cars?

Old-line industrial companies like 3M, PPG and DowDuPont vie to supply car makers of the future says the Wall Street Journal in its report Latest Entrants Into Electric Car Race: Makers of Post-It Notes, Paint.

  • 3M’s traffic-safety division meanwhile is developing new types of road markings and signs to better communicate with new cars’ navigation sensors such as lane-departure warnings. Scientists there have also been developing films to camouflage sensors that monitor whether drivers are staying awake, and screens built into rear-view mirrors to display backward-facing cameras.
  • PPG Industries, the Pittsburgh-based paints and coatings maker, has been developing car paints to become more visible to electronic sensors that guide autonomous vehicles.
  • Chemical producer DowDuPont is examining how to reduce the weight of vehicles with adhesives and other materials, which would increase the time between battery charges. The Delaware- and Michigan-based company expects more demand for products, such as nylon that can withstand higher temperatures in cars with heat-generating batteries, Mr. Stone said.
  • A fourth old-line industrial company, Corning Inc., has agreements in place to install its scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass—already used in cell phones—in at least 25 different models of cars in coming years, many of them not yet in production, said Jeff Evenson, chief strategy officer at the New York-based maker of specialty glass and ceramics.

Once battery technology catches up with the needs of urban drivers, gasoline powered vehicles will quickly vanish.

Meanwhile, in ways most have not yet begun to think about, cars are undergoing a historical transformation.

Everything about cars and how we drive them will change.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (15)
No. 1-15
JonSellers
JonSellers

@Sechel: living in the 'burbs, I'd throw some solar panels on my roof and have them charge a battery all day. Then come home and plug my car into the battery for a daily recharge. Of course you can't do that in the big city.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

John, Sechel - both correct

Kinuachdrach
Kinuachdrach

"gasoline powered vehicles will quickly vanish"

Kinuachdrach
Kinuachdrach

It is ok to be enthusiastic -- but stay grounded in reality. Many vehicles in the drier parts of the US are over 20 years old ... and still in good running condition. If manufacturers made only tax-subsidized electric vehicles starting today, there would still be lots of gasoline & diesel vehicles in 20 years time. And let's not even get into the question of how rapacious politicians are going to react if the tax-paying fossil fuel industries go away. The future would look very grim for currently tax-subsidized Big Wind and Big Solar.

Kinuachdrach
Kinuachdrach

Let's also remember the "Sailing Ship" effect -- the best, most efficient sailing ships ever built were constructed after the introduction of steam, when innovation was necessary to stay in business. All the elements talked about in the article would be just as useful for gasoline or diesel vehicles as for electric vehicles. This is one of the reasons that Natural Gas Vehicles have never taken off in a big way -- gasoline & diesel vehicles were improving at such a rate that the initial pollution-reduction benefits & fuel economy benefits of NGVs were soon equaled. The ideal situation would be for the Political Class to get out the way, eliminate all subsidies and remove all barriers to innovation, and let multiple technologies develop for the benefit of the human race.

jhpace1
jhpace1

When I see that picture above of the blue-shirted worker holding a glass tube with wires coming out, all I could think of was 1.) hydrogen electrolysis adding to the fuel line, or 2.) Joe Cell adding hydrogen to the fuel line.

dltravers
dltravers

One major item that is frequently ignored is the large amount of heat produced by gas engines that is very useful in cold climates. Certainly that would be a drain on those battery only vehicles.

dltravers
dltravers

Cars are changing and the self driving revolution will come with your auto being an entertainment center or a place to catch a nap. You might not ever have to buy a car again. Just call up a self driving car for a date and time to take you to and from work or out for some shopping.

dltravers
dltravers

This board needs a post radio button so you can hit it when you are ready to post

CautiousObserver
CautiousObserver

I tend to think it is all about the batteries. The other advantages mentioned are not new and are not enough to make an electric car economic. As proof I offer a link to an editorial about how Ford and Edison tried and failed to manufacture electric cars in the early 1900s, where Edison is even said to have cited the benefits our host mentions:

https://jalopnik.com/5564999/the-failed-electric-car-of-henry-ford-and-thomas-edison

It is worth noting that if low cost, high density, long life electric energy storage does appear it will revolutionize more than cars. Many things will radically change. People will probably start installing peak load shaving systems in their homes. Autonomous robots of all kinds will probably become common.

ReadyKilowatt
ReadyKilowatt

Physics is a harsh mistress.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

The battery is the sticking point I the design. To improve battery charge capacity, the pile geometry would have to change, which would mean thinner membranes. As membranes thin, they become more susceptible to rupture and fire. Adding storage by adding more batteries adds more weight. Batteries lose their ability to hold a charge over time. These are the major design issues. A revolutionary, rather than evolutionary, approach is going to get the technology there. But that is going to take a lot of research money.

aqualech
aqualech

Let us not forget the need for vehicles that can go where the charging stations are not and will never be. This reminds me of cashless-society ideologues who can't imagine people conducting business in places that do not have wireless internet.

Ambrose_Bierce
Ambrose_Bierce

the auto hasn't fundamentally changed, its a computer on wheels that drives itself

Tezza
Tezza

Perhaps if we can develop better materials like graphene, cars could become 10 times lighter and use much smaller batteries/charges.


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