Things are feeling a bit more normal when we can attend technical conferences, share our latest test results and confer with our colleagues in the industry. Last week we attended and presented at the Society for Automotive Engineers biggest conference, the World Congress held in Detroit. The conference location is right on the river overlooking Canada and as such is a metaphor for the bridges we build across companies and research institutes to grow and learn. It feels good to be back in person at these events.
Electric vehicles were the star of the show as many of the presentations focused on the newest technology required for this growing and adapting market. We presented technology about our new alloys for electric vehicle wiring and charging interfaces, which enable higher operating temperatures and more wear durability.
Our work was also highlighted in a talk by USCAR regarding Department of Energy funded research into lightweighting . This effort focused on the development and use of magnesium sheet metal as a weight savings concept. The multidisciplinary effort produces results on alloy design, sheet metal forming, corrosion resistance, welding and paint. Clearly there is potential for magnesium in automotive and that leads to fuel efficiency or more miles from your EV.
We also got some great insight from other industry leaders into the future needs and demands of the industry. Building out EV charging infrastructure and adapting our workforce from internal combustion to EV requires a broad-based systematic approach. This will take real effort and we have the opportunity to design something great.
As a closing thought, we should remember that electric vehicles are not brand new. Engineers have been working on these for more than a century. SAE World Congress had a 1912 Baker Electric car on display at the show. Of course it didn’t have the sleek design of a modern Tesla Model S, nor its range, but the electric vehicle concept was there for the taking. Now is our time to make this a reality of today.