Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Lienkamp; Lehrstuhl für Fahrzeugtechnik Fakultät für Maschinenwesen; Technische Universität München Foto: Andreas Heddergott /TUM; Verwendung frei für die Berichterstattung über die TUM bei Nennung des Copyrights / Free for use in reporting on TUM, with the copyright noted

Interview with Prof. Markus Lienkamp: “Battery factories must be built in Europe”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Lienkamp researches and teaches at the Technical University of Munich on the subject of electromobility with the aim of creating new vehicle concepts, driver assistance systems through to automated driving as well as mobility data and mobility concepts. Sabine Metzger spoke to him about the development of electromobility and the battery technology of the future for the current issue of eMove360° magazine in german language (download free PDF).

Prof. Lienkamp, it’s a pleasure to see you again. We met for the first time in 2017 at the Glyptothek. At the eMove360° Award ceremony, which you attended not only as a laudator and jury member, but also as the proud doctoral supervisor of the winning team in the Electric Car category. “A Car”. In short: What has become of the project?

Prof. Lienkamp: We presented the concept vehicle at eMove360° 2017 and the IAA 2017. The response was overwhelming. Everyone wanted the car for the German market too. As a result, the two doctoral students in charge founded the company EVUM Motors. They have been building the car in small series in Bavaria since 2021. So you can buy it now.

They have been researching electromobility at TUM since 2009. Acceptance of electromobility is growing rapidly. But why is it not higher yet?

Prof. Lienkamp: The situation varies greatly around the world. Nordic countries already have an 80% share of new electric car sales. China is developing rapidly. Only Germany currently has declining figures. All car manufacturers in China and the EU expect electric vehicle sales to reach 50% by 2030. Costs are falling rapidly due to mass production and innovations. The electric car will prevail.

The battery is the heart of the modern vehicle. Battery development in Europe is lagging behind that in Asia. Can Europe catch up?

Prof. Lienkamp: For transportation reasons, the battery should be produced wherever possible where the car is assembled. So battery factories need to be built in Europe. Fortunately, we have companies like PowerCo or Northvolt that develop and produce in Europe. Battery production is also not rocket science and is simply very capital-intensive. Many OEMs wanted to leave this investment to others and wait and see which technology really catches on. I believe that we can catch up with the Asians.

What about support? Is there funding at a federal or European level, for example?

Prof. Lienkamp: This issue is affecting the entire research landscape. The German government has cut almost all funding for batteries and electric cars. This is a big shock and many research institutions don’t know what will happen next. The only major funding that has been approved is for Northvolt’s production facility in Heide.

What does the battery of the future look like to you?

Prof. Lienkamp: We will see NMC technology in high-class, high-performance vehicles. In terms of cell format, round cells and prismatic cells with the largest possible format will win the race. In the lower vehicle segment and for trucks, LFP cells or their derivatives will be used. If sodium batteries develop as rapidly as promised, they could replace LFP cells in some areas.

We keep hearing that e-mobility is not yet the last word in wisdom. In your opinion, are there any alternatives to electric drives?

Prof. Lienkamp: No. The fuel cell is unaffordable and eFuels only make sense if we have an abundance of renewable energy. This is still a spaceship enterprise discussion for the foreseeable future.

Your second field of research is autonomous driving. What is the status quo today and where will we be in five or ten years’ time? When will I be able to pick up my car via an app and have it drive me to Salzburg without anyone at the wheel?

Prof. Lienkamp: The costs and technical feasibility play the decisive role here. This technology will be used first in the most lucrative applications, such as trucks. This is on routes that are easy to handle, such as driving from hub to hub on highways. Cars will come much later.

We are delighted that you will be speaking at the eMove360° Conference in October: You will be speaking on the topic of “Automated and electrified long-distance logistics of the future”. Is this the topic that is particularly on your mind at the moment? Could you please briefly outline what conference participants can expect?

Prof. Lienkamp: I would like to show how the electrification and automation of trucks can develop synergetic benefits if you think about the two together. Let us surprise you.

Last but not least: How do you personally charge your batteries?

Prof. Lienkamp: Just by spending time with my doctoral students in Abu Dhabi at an autonomous car race. Generally through my job at the chair with the young, highly motivated people. Privately with my wife, my family and my hobbies.

Thank you very much for the interview.

26.06.2024   |  

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