To speed up development of Taiwan's EV industry, the government will spend USD $310 million through 2016.
The target is 3000 electric vehicles and 160,000 electric scooters on the island nation's roadways before 2013, according to Jerry Wang, Director of the Intelligent Electric Vehicle Promotion Office in Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, who spoke with AEI and journalists from Germany and Japan during an EV-focused tour in August that was arranged by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.
Various EV activities are under way in the country with a population of 23 million.
Taiwan's second largest city, Kaohsiung, is slated to launch yet this year a battery exchange program for e-scooters produced by Kentfa. After the program fully ramps up, 20 battery exchange stations will be located near the city's MRT (subway) stations.
At a battery exchange station, an e-scooter driver can swap out a depleted battery module or modules (each weighing less than 5 kg/11 lb) for fully charged module/s for a fee that is deducted from an e-card.
When the Kentfa e-scooter is fully charged, the driving range is approximately 80 km (50 mi) based on a four-module battery pack that provides 48 V/28 Ah. A shorter driving range is possible with three battery modules (48 V/21 A·h), two modules (48 V/14 A·h), or one battery module (48 V/7A·h).
The Kentfa e-scooter's lithium iron phosphate battery pack, designed and manufactured by Exa Energy Technology Co., has a U.S./Taiwan/China/South Korea patented design that addresses the winding process for high-rate discharge.
According to Exa Energy Technology Co. Chairman Wen Lai, the company's rechargeable battery portfolio will expand. "We are in development now with a battery pack for an electric passenger car," said Lai, referencing a 332.8 V/40 A·h pack.
The R&D assignment for 25 scientists and engineers at battery cell maker E-One Moli Energy Corp., a company that has had HEV and PHEV applications under the Molicel brand since 2004, is to design large-format cells of 20, 30, and 40 A·h.
The large-format design means fewer cells—in other words, fewer modules—in an electrified vehicle application.
Said Charles Sher, E-One Moli Energy's Sales Division Vice President, "We are the biggest battery cell company in Taiwan capable of doing mass production. We would pursue large-format R&D even without the possibility of money from the government because we need to keep up with global competitors."
As a 40-year supplier of power management and automation solutions, Delta Electronics' push into the EV arena is highlighted by the content it will provide to a 2013 model year PHEV from a Chinese carmaker. The vehicle will use a Delta Electronics power control unit, traction motor, integrated stator and generator, vehicle control unit, dc/dc converter, and onboard charger.
Fukuta Electric and Machine Co. projects that its EV-related business will increase from this year's projected USD $2.7 million in revenues to $8 million in the next three years. Select vehicles from U.S.-based Tesla Motors and Taiwan's Luxgen use Fukuta electric motors. The EV motors produced by Fukuta range from 4.9 to 375 kW.
Taiwan's Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC) features a 318-acre (129 ha) proving ground and support facilities. ARTC's activities for electrified vehicles include developing EV standards, EV core technology research, and EV pilot run demonstrations for the government. In recent months, ARTC has worked aggressively to expand its EV testing and verification capabilities.
The construction blitz includes the addition of an EV electrical safety lab that will be operational in late 2011. An electromagnetic compatibility lab (sized to accommodate a bus) will be operational in 2012. And in 2013, a battery pack reliability lab and a battery abuse test lab will be operational.
According to Sandy Chen, ARTC's Specialist for Testing Technology Driving Project, the opening of those labs will put ARTC in a unique position.
"We will have complete EV testing capabilities for the industry. This will be a first in Taiwan. Earlier this year, ARTC added an EV service center and a charging station with dc fast chargers and ac level 2 chargers. We can provide connectors that are compatible for electrified vehicles produced in the U.S. (SAE), Japan (CHADEMO), China (GB), and Europe (IEC)," said Chen.
Taiwan's first commercial e-van demonstrations are scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2011.
According to Robert Lo, Project Manager for the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) Mechanical and Systems Research Laboratories' Intelligent Mobility Division (IMD), the first activity for the commercial e-van will be a shuttle route between the ITRI campus in Hsinchu and the high-speed rail station in Hsinchu.
Built off a China Motor Corp. vehicle platform, the commercial e-van has a GVW of 1850 kg (4080 lb) with a 500-kg (1100-lb) payload. Maximum speed of the e-van is 100 km/h (62 mph), and its driving range is 100 km (62 mi). The e-van has a 50-electric motor, a 22-kW·h Li-ion battery pack, and a 6-kW onboard charger.
Engineers at ITRI's IMD were responsible for integrating the e-van's electric motor, battery pack, and vehicle control system.
ITRI's IMD is part of the Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium. Others involved in the initiative that supports development of EV technologies are ARTC, the Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (MIRDC) as well as the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST).
Said Lo, "We have to cooperate with each other because this is new technology, and the strengths for each organization are not the same. At IMD, our strength is powertrain design and development. For ARTC, they have a proving ground and as such their strength is vehicle testing and certification.
"For MIRDC, their strength is metal materials processing, so they can contribute lightweight material to the EV chassis. And CSIST's focus is on military weapon development—they developed an aircraft missile—so their contribution is their knowledge of advanced technology."
Taiwan's EV industry is also getting support from four R&D alliances, including an EV chassis industry association and an EV advanced propulsion driving system association.
As the country's emerging EV sector gains footing, industry participants continue to spread the word about Taiwan's capabilities. For instance, this year's inaugural EV Taiwan show attracted more than 18,000 attendees, including 1661 overseas visitors. The 2012 EV Taiwan event, April 12-15 at the Taipei World Trade Center, will again serve as a showcase for domestic suppliers of EV technologies.