Electric Car Development – but is the future all electric?

      Add to your calendar Last updated - 14/06/2018 20:16

Technical lecture
17 October 2018 19:30 - 21:00
This event has finished

Meet from 19:00 with the lecture starting at 19:30.
Note that we are meeting in a different lecture theater than normal.  Go to room 03MS01 in the management school.

This is a free lecture that is open to everybody.  To help us manage the event please book in advance via this website.

One of the great challenges for engineers is to harness the energy of the sun through cost effective generation, transmission and storage - ultimately to power the wheels of mass transport.

The roots of EV development came in the UK’s switch from horses to electric cars in 1915, now in 2018 history is repeating itself with rapid growth in electric passenger car production and sales enabled by major advances in Lithium based battery technology and high efficiency hybrid drivetrains.

With local air pollution levels at deadly levels in many cities and accelerating climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions from vast global consumption of fossil fuels, the drive to go electric is compelling but at what cost? Government subsidies are diminishing, Lithium prices are rising due to massive demand and the pressure is on production engineers to ramp up volumes and go for real economies of scale…

The fundamental fuel for sustainable transport must be renewable and emission free…but how do we overcome the 10 to 1 net energy density advantage that fossil fuels still hold over the most advanced batteries? Global development is now focused on every stage of energy transfer - essential if clean electric cars are to take 50% of the market by 2030 (Boston Consulting Group)

The lecture will briefly review the history of EV development in Europe and USA since 1970 covering four important pure electric and hybrid drivetrain projects, a land speed record attempt and some epic long distance ‘rapid recharge’ runs.

The fascinating story behind the US and Japanese led breakthrough in Lithium-Ion technology during the last decade is followed by a comparative study of three production electric passenger cars, by BMW, Nissan and Tesla. Finally we take a hard look at the opportunities and obstacles facing engineers as we head for an all electric future.


Sir John Samuel has been active in the battery and electric car arena for many years.


University of Surrey
United Kingdom

Contact Details

Peter Recardo
07923 491447
Email: Send a message

Cart Shopping basket (0)

© 2011 Institution of Mechanical Engineers. IMechE is a registered charity in England and Wales number 206882