Electrifying Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

­With so much going around the world, the year has flown in. For a news junkie like myself, it has been fascinating, and often horrifying, watching everything unfold. As for the industry, it has been very mixed. The rate of innovation doesn’t seem to be slowing any, but the overall market conditions look as if they are deteriorating. Inflation is currently soaring and is forecast remain high, as least in the short term. The Bank of England has predicted recently that the UK may go into a recession that could last for up to two years. Other countries are looking at similar situations. Globally, things have never seemed so uncertain.

Industry analyst, Gartner now predicts that the semiconductor market will fall 2.5% next year. Ironically that forecast just comes at a time when much of the manufacturing capacity upgrades that were planned during the pandemic chip shortage are coming online. In the longer term, the move to renewables and the electrification of our transport systems should mean that the future is brighter for power electronics than some other areas. In fact, in the same forecast, Gartner also predicted double digit growth over the next year for semiconductors in the automotive market.

Most people instantly think of electric vehicles when the electrification of transport is mentioned, but in fact it has a much wider scope that takes in the infrastructure and other types of vehicles such as trucks, motorcycles, drones and other types of aircraft, and shipping. It is in those areas that electrification can have a real positive effect on cutting carbon emissions. Aviation is responsible for around 2% of global CO2 emissions, and 12% of CO2 emissions from transport. Add in shipping, which is responsible for 2.5% of all CO2 emissions and rail at 0.3%, and over a quarter of emissions from transport come from sources other than the road, despite carrying a much lower percentage of passengers and goods. Maybe, if the world does move to a more multipolar model of trade, as I wrote about in my ViewPoint column last month, there will be less need to transport large quantities of goods around the world, which could help matters, but in the meantime, that is still the case and innovation in the electrification of transportation is critical. Our special report this month looks at transportation. The articles in that section will look at how companies are trying to make all types of transport more efficient and reliable, while adding extra features. The power electronics industry is at the centre of this innovation, and the products that it produces will be critical to its success.

As well as our special report, we also have more general technical articles that affect power electronics in our Technical Focus section, along with the latest views and news from the industry. I hope you enjoy.


Best Regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD