White paper: Electrifying automotive to accelerate a greener planet

Imagine a future in which cities are bustling with self-driven, zero-emission vehicles that communicate to each other and the roads as part of a greener, more efficient environment.

Automotive greenerCars will park themselves and recharge themselves. They’ll be loaded with communications and entertainment options. You won’t own a car: You’ll lease one or use your smartphone to book a ride.

The seeds of that future already are planted. The question is no longer if, but when, it will happen. It’s a question of critical mass.

Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) are forecast to account for a quarter of global automotive sales by 2025, according to market research firm IHS Automotive.

As the transportation revolution progresses, our company is continuing to help vehicles become greener, safer and more reliable. Our technology helps HEVs reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enables new automated business models with a goal of zero emissions in pure electric vehicles.

Today’s full hybrid vehicles can cut fuel consumption in half and plug-in hybrids can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 80 percent.

Today, new cars contain more than 6,000 semiconductors – and that figure will continue to grow significantly as vehicles become smarter and because of the electrification of many of the vehicle components (e.g., battery management, traction inverters, on-board charger and DC/DC converter).

At TI, our engineers are behind the scenes, developing new types of semiconductor components to help run everything from a car’s infotainment and power management systems to connectivity and the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Already, some carmakers have their own fleet of car-sharing models. All major original equipment manufacturers such as Google, Lyft, Tesla and Uber are developing driver-less vehicles. And self-driving trucks have been tested in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Back to the future

So far, HEVs are more popular with consumers than EVs, which may be greener, but cost more and don’t offer all of the performance features of a gasoline combustion engine. But during the recent Paris Motor Show, nearly all carmakers introduced new electric or hybrid models.

Widespread adoption of pure electric cars will take time. For that reason, we’re focused on interim HEV innovations, as well as full electrification of the automotive powertrain.

HEVs provide some fuel efficiency and automation; however, there are recharging and mileage limitations with batteries used today. For HEVs, we’re developing high-voltage technology, including battery management, sensors and advanced monitoring, as well as dual supply rails on 12-volt and an additional 48-volt rail for power-hungry applications, resulting in better fuel, battery and cost efficiencies.

Consumer EV adoption is limited outside urban areas due to low mileage range and long charge times. One solution is to increase battery voltage to 800V, which would enable charging times as low as 20 minutes (for an 80-percent charge) with a range of 300 miles and beyond.

Autonomous driving

Integrated circuits help cars become more autonomous by monitoring road conditions, converting signals and communicating between vehicles. Our sensors already are used for driver assistance and self parking, with the goal of a fully autonomous car.

Self-driving cars can achieve greater fuel efficiency than most human drivers, especially in cities where maintaining a constant speed is difficult. Industry experts at the recent Paris Motor Show also claimed that autonomous vehicles may be safer to help reduce the number of accidents dramatically, which can in turn help result in fewer lives lost.

By 2020, most carmakers will introduce EVs with full or partial autonomous driving.

In 2035, IHS Automotive expects the global sale of vehicles with some level of autonomy to increase to nearly 21 million (4.5 million in the United States) as driverless cars are more widely adopted.

The future

Several factors are driving electric vehicle growth, including legislation designed to lower emissions, technology inserted into customer products to help make driving safer and movement toward mobility services instead of car ownership.

To learn more about advancing the automotive industry through technology innovation, read my white paper on the subject.