The Future of Propulsion is Electric
Sept 10, 2021
ePropelled’s Nick Grewal and David Hudson were recently invited to participate in a podcast hosted by Elite Experts Conferences—a company specializing in organizing invitation-only technical business conferences and connecting creative start-up companies with progressive global organizations and research institutions. They focus on leading-edge automotive developments in e-mobility, green mobility, and materials science among others.
Although the interview covered technology and ePropelled’s unique systems and patents, it also included topics such as inspiration, management styles, natural environment, professional regrets, and —notably—the future of electric propulsion.
In fact, David noted that the reasons electric propulsion is appreciated now and seen as the future of propulsion in general, are the same as they were one hundred years ago: EVs are quiet, smooth, and easy to drive.
So far, “evolution” has been the prevailing story in electric propulsion and it’s very rare to witness a “revolution” in the industry. But Tesla demonstrated the fact that a newcomer company could come up with something new and revolutionary. Whether they dominate the EV scene doesn’t matter. “They’ve woken up the entire industry to the fact that they’re all doing it wrong,” commented David.
However, as excited as many people (and governments) are about electric propulsion, it’s not that easy to just make the switch. As David explained during the podcast, the car itself doesn’t change but the power train in an electric car is 100% different. There are no carry-over parts and that’s scary for the automotive industry.
Nick added that despite the push for electric, automotive companies are struggling on their road from internal combustion engines to electric propulsion. Even revolutionaries like Tesla don’t have all the answers. Nick realized this when he wanted to buy an electric car for himself. He looked at the Model S Tesla with an induction motor and realized that this was 20-year-old technology. He was sure electric propulsion could be done better, so he started ePropelled.
With the industry charging towards electrification, many new and old companies want to build electric cars but need electric propulsion. Unfortunately, traditional suppliers and manufacturers have their hands full. After years of producing internal combustion engines, it’s a difficult process to start thinking about something brand new and different.
Their whole world is changing and it’s challenging. They are doing their best, but it would be difficult for anyone to change the way they do things within only a few years. They have a lot on their plate, while companies like us only have one thing to worry about. All we need to think about is EVs.
Traditional manufacturers and suppliers also have established and existing customers who take priority. But new companies interested in building EVs do have some new options and ePropelled is one of them. In fact, Nick stated that our typical customer says, “I know what I need, but I can’t find one. Can you build me one?” And, of course, the answer is yes.
The future is about changing the existing thinking, as well as creating a new supply chain and manufacturing routes. But it’s also about delivering performance attributes (power, torque, range, performance, energy efficiency, etc.) in a way that’s never been available before.
When Nick started ePropelled, he didn’t just want to focus on one aspect of the motor or propulsion itself. Instead, the company has a more holistic approach to the problem of electric propulsion and works with an understanding of how much energy the vehicle needs, how it stores it, and how this energy is deployed. It’s about overall efficiency.
However, ePopelled’s take on efficiency is very broad and focused on getting more output from the same input as would be achieved by other technologies. More specifically, we use energy more intelligently and economically to deliver superior performance. Most motors’ top efficiency is only available at one parameter (such as at 40 m/h). Our technology allows vehicles to operate at maximum efficiency at all parameters.
We look at all aspects of motor performance because focusing on one parameter is simply not good enough. Nick wants ePropelled systems to be used inside each car out there, so we need to be certain that our systems are the best in the world.
With most manufacturers preparing to move to electric within the next 10 years, the only thing we can’t be sure about is what energy they’ll be using (battery, fuel cells, hydrogen, etc.). However, Nick pointed out that at ePropelled, we don’t care where the energy is coming from, we just want to provide the most efficient, the cleanest, and the best way of using it.
The automotive industry has a lot of work to do, and the infrastructure still needs to be built, but it will be because the ball is rolling already. In fact, David stated that it’s our job to convince people who are invested in internal combustion engines and their improvements to abandon this method of propulsion because “we don’t need it where we’re going.”
David’s career started at Jaguar and progressed through Tata Motors where small EVs caught his eye. While there, he met Nick and ended up working as an advisor for ePropelled for two years before joining us full time. He made the jump from the corporate world to a startup because he believes in what we do and because there is a lot of passion in our work.
He and Nick make a strong team and divide their responsibilities where David’s interest in high efficiency and Nick’s interest in improving the world are a great match.