What Electrification Means to SAE International
Today's cars, trucks, buses and yes, even airplanes with electric propulsion systems are the evidence of a seminal moment in transportation – the move away from internal combustion. But it's not only the development of a new technology that is exciting. It is also the awareness that we can harness an old idea to move to a safer and cleaner future.
That said, vehicle propulsion based on electricity instead of internal combustion is not new. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it was in the late 1800's that French and English inventors built some of the first electric cars. Ferdinand Porsche, of gas-powered sports car fame, even developed his own, named the P1, in 1898. The development, marketing and success of the Ford Model T in the early 1900's, however, scaled back development of electric vehicles (EVs) to almost zero in the 1930's. Now, electrification is at the forefront of research once again.
The current industry push for vehicle electrification is based on a number of factors, not the least of which is the growing list of countries seriously considering banning the sale of new vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) in the near future. According to Thomson Reuters, 26 countries, three states, and the European Union are currently planning and legislating for the end of new ICE vehicle sales by 2040, and some as early as 2030.
These ICE-limiting proposals to reduce environmental contaminants, coupled with safety concerns and plans for intelligent transportation systems, have all accelerated the push to electrification.