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Technology experts and thought leaders at influential companies gather in these plenary sessions to discuss the most important market disruptors of the last year and what they expect to see in the years to come.

EV Growth: A Need for Infrastructure

Electric vehicles are gaining momentum in the marketplace, but many experts believe that rapid growth won’t happen until more charging infrastructure is put in place. EVs, they say, need to be charged more easily and quickly for broad adoption to happen. This distinguished panel of industry experts will discuss the issues of infrastructure — charging speed, availability, grid considerations, cost, and more. Led by moderator Ellen Hughes-Cromwick of the University of Michigan Energy Institute, the group will weigh the effect of infrastructure on vehicle design, and will consider the approaches best-suited to the long-term success of the electric car.

EV Sustainability: When Will Automakers See a Profit?

Virtually every mainstream automaker is now building a battery-electric vehicle. Profitability, however, is another matter. Most are said to be selling their BEVs at a loss. We have convened a panel of expert industry analysts to examine the phenomenon of electric car profitability. The panel, moderated by actor and author Ed Begley, Jr., will discuss the current obstacles to OEM profitability, especially the high cost of batteries. They’ll examine economies of scale, the cost of raw materials, and growth of consumer acceptance, and consider whether those and other economic forces can bring long-awaited profitability to the battery-electric vehicle.

Solid State Battery Feasibility: When & How Will We Get There?

Lithium metal batteries show great promise for increased range for EVs and longer battery life for cell phones. But the lithium metal foil used for the solid state anode is susceptible to the formation of spikey dendritic crystals on the metal surface during charging. These crystals can grow through liquid electrolytes to become large enough to short out the battery and cause a fire. Replacing a liquid electrolyte with a solid or semi-solid electrolyte can prevent the dendritic crystals from forming, but cycle life and long term performance are not where they need to be yet and the manufacturing may require different techniques. A panel of solid state battery experts, led by moderator Dr. Kevin Clemens, Senior Editor at Design News, will explore the technology, manufacturing, and timing that optimists say will be 2–3 years, and pessimists say is at least 10 years out.