Thursday, 25 July 2024

By Sébastien Frasse-Sombet
Senior Global Product Manager, ARaymond

As the automotive industry continues to evolve and electric vehicles (EVs) become more mainstream, innovations are affecting all vehicle components, including the fasteners and assembly systems used.

One such system is thermal management, a critical element of an EV, with dozens of connection points in each vehicle. The EV and its battery pack must be adequately cooled to ensure safe and efficient operation. It’s essential to secure all fluid lines to avoid leakage inside a battery pack or near the vehicle’s electric components.

Autonomous driving functions are expected to increase this requirement. During autonomous driving, a vehicle’s ADAS computer is cooled by the same liquid that cools the battery. Loss of function can damage the calculator from overheating, potentially leading to an accident. As a result, OEMs are increasing demands for secure connections and product traceability.

In addition to helping automakers ensure EVs are as safe as possible, advances in fastener solutions for thermal management are also making the process of building EVs more ergonomic — allowing suppliers to tailor and customize parts for each requirement. The result is a better and safer electric vehicle for drivers.

Safety first
A key element of thermal management fluid interfaces is a reliable locking mechanism. This comes in many forms. Some quick connectors, when inserted, can provide visual, tactile, and audible confirmation — so an installer feels and hears when the connection is made.

Other options include the use of QR (quick-response) or DMC (datamatrix) codes, allowing for better traceability. QR codes are two-dimensional matrix barcodes invented in the mid-90s. They were initially created to track automotive parts during the assembly process and became widely used in consumer products in the 2000s.

DMC is also two-dimensional but square and can store a significant amount of information. For this reason, it’s becoming the preferred method of encoding data.

In either case, this data is available for review in the event of any concerns or maintenance issues with the vehicles. Such verification is critical for safety and traceability reasons, making identifying possible root causes of potential problems easier. Secured fasteners for thermal management systems and fluid line connections keep EV drivers and passengers safer, an essential goal for all automakers.

Better health
Advanced connection systems for EVs also mean improvements for the technicians building and installing these fastening solutions. This is because many connectors used on EVs have become low-push quick connectors — which means less insertion effort is required during installation.

This is important as it saves plant workers potential repetitive strain or musculoskeletal injuries from accessing the installation point continually throughout their shift.

Typically, these installation points can be challenging to access, increasing the chance of a faulty connection, which can lead to vehicle component damage or poor reliability. There’s also a significant number of connectors required in every EV.

Additionally, larger fluid lines are used, so a proper connection requires more force. When done manually, ergonomics are a concern. By simplifying the architecture of fastener installation, OEMs provide a safer workplace for employees assembling EVs while improving vehicle reliability.

Versatile designs
Automakers have specific requirements and specifications for their electric vehicle lineup. Special features and custom component designs have become essential. One such feature is lightweighting, especially for EVs where vehicle weight and range are significant.

Many custom designs are compressed in size so they fit into tight spaces. The trend toward smaller connectors allows for better space optimization and reduced weight. Part materials can be plastic or metal to serve the connection point best, whether for the battery pack or to seal in individual battery cells.

Suppliers can work with OEMs to offer environmentally friendly materials, eco-friendly designs, and a full lifecycle analysis of the parts. This allows suppliers to play an important role in helping OEMs reach their CSR goals. Custom designs further allow connections to be built for ease of assembly and serviceability, as well as with sustainability in mind. An improved sustainability model minimizes the OEM’s footprint while maximizing coolant flow.

While EVs are presenting new fastening challenges due to a focus on thermal management, the industry is rising to the challenge with products that improve vehicle safety, address ergonomic issues at the assembly level, and create customized solutions that will benefit the automakers and the environment.

Sébastien Frasse-Sombet is a Senior Global Product Manager for global automotive supplier ARaymond.

Published in NEWS


Electric vehicles continue to generate news, specifically regarding how ready the public are to adopt them en masse.

But in the luxury realm of vehicles, many automakers are fully committed to making EVs a priority, and Audi is one that fits that category — planning to make all new vehicle offerings electric by 2026, and completely electrify its vehicle lineup by 2033.

At the moment, they have several EV options for sale, and I recently spent some time behind the wheel of their flagship EV — the 2024 Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron.

Improved for 2024 with a more powerful battery and longer range, improved aerodynamics, as well as some styling updates, the Q8 e-tron aims to be one of the main options for people looking to join the ranks of luxury EV ownership.

Read on for a full breakdown of what it has to offer and how well it competes in the overall EV landscape vs. rivals from BMW, Genesis, Jaguar and more.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS


It’s an interesting time for the world of electric vehicles.

Story after story talks about how the EV revolution is falling short and demand isn’t living up to expectations.

But don’t tell that to Hyundai, who are rising to become perhaps the biggest star in the EV field behind Tesla, which had a bit of a head start on the legacy automakers.

The Ioniq 6 is one of Hyundai’s stronger EV offerings, and is the sedan version of their Ioniq 5 crossover. Its most direct competitor is the Tesla Model 3, but it is also high-end enough to take on upscale vehicles like the BMW i4 and the Polestar 2.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of an Ioniq 6, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up in today’s EV landscape.

Published in CAR REVIEWS

The Genesis brand, which has made major moves in the luxury car world for the past half-decade or so, is making a heavy move toward EVs.

They see the future is electric, and already offer multiple EV options, both on the SUV and sedan side of the business.

When it comes to the Genesis sedan lineup, the vehicle that began this transition is the midsize G80 sedan. Genesis first launched an Electrified G80 variant for the 2023 model, which carries over to 2024. What’s interesting about this particular model is there isn’t some radical new design offered, instead they are keeping the standard G80’s looks essentially intact, and swapping in electric power. 

Read on for a breakdown of how well the Electrified G80 holds up in the growing luxury EV market.

Published in CAR REVIEWS
Saturday, 06 January 2024 16:12

Kia EV6 GT is a standout rocket of an EV 

The road to an EV-focused lineup is going more smoothly for some automakers than others, and one of those having a strong performance as of late are the Hyundai-Kia family of EVs.

Both brands are seeing strong demand for their recent EV offerings, and I recently spent some time behind the wheel of one of the most impressive options, the Kia EV6 GT. (Note: I tested a 2023 model of the EV6, but the 2024 model sees no major changes)

After the EV6’s initial debut in 2022, it was time to ramp up the power for 2023 and beyond, and that’s what the GT model does, unleashing a massive 576 horsepower to deliver massive acceleration and a driving experience you won’t be able to equal in most cars on the road — EV or otherwise.

Competing most directly in the EV space against Ford’s Mustang Mach-E and the Tesla Model Y (as well as its in-house rival, the Hyundai Ioniq 5), the EV6 GT is a force to be reckoned with. Read on to learn more about how it stands up against the EV competition.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

The world's first mass-market electric vehicle has secured its place among some of the world's greatest transport innovations, according to a survey conducted by Nissan to mark its 90th birthday this week.

Since the company was founded, on 26th December 1933, Nissan has established a storied history of pioneering electric vehicles, legendary performance cars and revolutionary crossovers that demonstrate its own daring spirit of innovation over the last nine decades.

From the 1947 Tama electric vehicle, via the LEAF – the world's first mass-market EV in 2010 – to recently revealed future EV concepts like the Hyper Punk and Hyper Urban, the company strives to enrich people's lives with thrilling journeys and pioneering technology that help to create a cleaner, safer and more inclusive world.

Published in NEWS

As all automakers work to step up their game in the EV sector, Nissan is finally growing its EV presence with the new Ariya SUV.

An early adopter with the Nissan Leaf EV being on sale for more than a decade, Nissan has now delivered a strong second EV entry. All new for 2023, the Nissan Ariya delivers a bold look unlike anything else in the Nissan lineup, and expands the brand’s EV footprint beyond the long-running Nissan Leaf. 

The Ariya represents a logical step into the EV world for fans of the top-selling Nissan Rogue SUV, as the Ariya is sized similarly to the Rogue.

I spent some time behind the wheel of a 2023 Nissan Ariya Empower+, and I’m back with a full report on how it holds up in a growing and competitive EV market with offerings from Tesla (Model Y), Kia (EV6/EV9), Hyundai (Kona), Ford (Mach-E Mustang), Volkswagen (ID.4), Chevy (Bolt EUV) and more.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Subaru of America, Inc. today announced that its parent company, Subaru Corporation, reached an agreement with Tesla, Inc. to adopt the North American Charging Standard (NACS) for the charging ports of its battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to be launched in North America beginning in 2025.

To provide customers with access to the extensive Tesla charging network, Subaru will adopt NACS ports on certain Subaru BEVs launched in North America beginning in 2025 and will continue to advance NACS adoption for its subsequent BEVs to be launched after that.

Additionally, Subaru plans to provide access to an adapter enabling NACS charging from 2025 for customers owning or leasing applicable Subaru BEVs equipped with the Combined Charging System (CCS). Customers of NACS-compatible Subaru BEVs will gain access to more than 15,000 Tesla Superchargers across North America, significantly enhancing charging convenience.

Under the new management structure established in June 2023, Subaru has announced a goal of “aiming for 50% of total global sales to be BEVs in 2030” to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality.

— Press release courtesy of Subaru

Published in TECHNOLOGY

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – The first ever BMW XM Label—the company’s most powerful production vehicle to date with 738-horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque on tap—set a new record for hybrid electric SUVs at Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs on September 21, 2023, during an officially certified course run.

Following a previous attempt for the race day record in June during the 101st running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, BMW driver Matt Mullins returned to take on the course last month aboard the range-topping BMW XM Label with support from Rhys Millen Racing. Reaching the summit in 10:48:60, Mullins outpaced the previous race day record by nearly a second and a half.

To provide a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into preparing both man and machine for such an extreme challenge, BMW had a camera crew follow Mullins and team during each stage of the endeavor. The result is an emotional two-part short film that exposes the heartbreaking lows of a failed first fun, followed by the exhilarating highs of success atop the mountain. Both parts are available online at the @BMWUSA official YouTube channel.

Published in NEWS

In the SUV business, where competition is increasingly cutthroat, a brand has to have as many tools in its arsenal as possible.

For Hyundai, its Santa Fe midsize SUV has been around for over two decades, and currently offers just about every variant you can imagine — from ICE versions, to standard hybrid, to plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

Of note is that the Santa Fe is wrapping up its current design before its radically different, brand new 2024 version goes on sale early next year. As is the case when any redesign occurs, the opportunity may arise to catch a price break on 2023 Santa Fe models that dealers may want off the lot.

I recently tested a 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV — which competes mainly with plug-in hybrid options from Ford, Toyota, Kia and others —  and I’m back with a full report.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS
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