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

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
No. 1-18
Tezza
Tezza

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

Ambrose_Bierce
Ambrose_Bierce

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

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.

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.

ReadyKilowatt
ReadyKilowatt

Physics is a harsh mistress.