Engt5220 Low Impact Manufacturing Answers Assessment Answer



(Lipson & Kurman, 2016) in their article inferred that several CEOs won’t make any U-turn until they are satisfied that most road automobiles are electric. The quote underwent restate by Tesla Motor’s CEO, which is known for mass design and production of electric vehicles (Colella, 2000), Despite standing with the previous quote, the truth is the future seems not bright with more production of this electrical monsters. In the face value, the electrical scooter is seen as a greener approach of commuting since it reduces your carbon footprint, but in reality, some of its components are known environmental pollutants especially the lithium which is a major component of its battery circuitry (Tso & Chang, 2003). Conrad Luttrop once EcoDesign main goal s to provide a sustainable approach of design and production of various products. Putting this words into perspective, it is clear that there is no solution considered easy nor is there an easy answer to environmental pollutions. The report tries to bring out the benefits of employing the circular economy in the production life cycle contrary to the traditional linear economy with an aim of recycling various scooter components to reduce environmental degradation(Chou & Hsiao, 2005a).

Electrical Scooter: Parts

According to the Navigant Research Leaderboard report [9], on matters electric scooter, it is evident that Europe’s market share is 2%. What is conspicuous as outlined the report is that Asia Pacific and  Western Europe are the giant market share holder. The report further highlight that the Asia Pacific market share stands at 99% of the global sales. The only challenge to be able to operate in the Asian market is come up with scooter which are competitive (Weinert et al., 2007) The second upcoming market is the Western Europe. For one to succeed in the European market, the electric scooter must have more functionalities and more reliable in matters performance. The green nature of the electric scooter play a vital role in the European market hence the scooter must be a low environmental pollutant emitting less noise (Tso & Chang, 2003). The figure 2.0 below a snapshot of the figures of the manufacturing report for various global markets.

The design differences in the various manufacturers is as shown in the figure 3.0 below,

Some differences also exist in other components such as the technology used in braking technology, the energy recovery models, the distance range it can cover, etc. Generally such specifications differ from manufacture to manufacture,(Weiss, Dekker, Moro, Scholz, & Patel, 2015). The only peculiar differences are in the electricity circuitry part especially the battery. Those who use lead battery ensure the price is lower but less performance is achieved. The aim of the report is to give advice on the best case scenario for low cost production with less environmental degradation, the European market is the most preferred design to be implemented. (Chan, Pun, & Selden, 2013) This technology give more attention to competitiveness of the technology other than price. To give a clear picture of the various performance and cost analysis between the European models and the conventional models, the following figure illustrate the comparison in details.

Components and Design Differences

This part of the report defines in details the electric scooter in terms of the mechanical system and various components. This part is important for the critical analysis of various compositions that can be recycled as proposed the life cycle assessment report. It worth to illustrate the fundamental components of an electric scooter bearing in mind how the circular economy model can be applied to reduce the cost of its manufacturing (Khateeb et al., 2004).The functional components are put in four based on whether it part of the electrical and electronic, the motion, the structure and or the powertrain. In close look, the various groups are linked and without one the other can’t move the scooter effectively. The electrical and electronic arrangement component entails the electrical system, the power stock which in record cases is a lead or lithium the battery. The main use of the electrical system is to manage the electrical devices e.g as the indicators LED turn lights, beeping horn sound, the lighting system, etc. The motion system mainly deals with the kinetic energy applied in steering the system, the wheel motion, suspension and the system used to apply a brake, the transmission, and their various subsystems. The structural system includes but not limited to all the structural components that enhances the solidity of the scooter as a reliable mean of transport. The fundamental parts include polymeric parts of the body, the framing of the steel, the chassis ad the comfortable seat. The pictorial of the parts is illustrated below.

The functional summary of the above parts is as shown in the figure below

The last component represents the powertrain thermal component. It the component which take power supply to motion group. Its subcomponents are the engine, tank, and silencer. From the research, the report proposes some changes in some of the various components to enhance low productivity while minimizing the environmental degradation by encompassing components that could be recycled and benefit from the circular economy model(Reddy et al., 2010).

Innovative Components Proposed: Lithium Based Battery

The very first battery based on the metals Lithium-ion was sold by Sony in the early 1990s. Years on, this technology has been advanced thanks to the advancements in technology, this technology is briefly described in the subsequent paragraphs. Reference is made to the Dingguo ad Xia works (Reddy et al., 2010). The battery is described in the following subheadings,

  • The electrochemical process
  • Components
  • Performance and its comparison.

The electrochemical circuit diagram below summarizes the process as shown in figure 5.0 below

The main player in the electrochemical processes is the three components name; the cathode, the anode, electrolyte. During utility time of the battery, Li+ , transports current from the negative section of electrode to electrolyte and the separator. Li-ions are made to change course and go opposite direction of the positive terminal of the electrode when some external electric source is applied. Discharge occurs when the electrode becomes oxidizes and this leads to a reduction in the number of negative electrodes (Zhang, Xu, & Jow, 2003). The opposite is true during the charge period. Graphite is the material of choice in the anode since it has a good conductivity of electrodes. The cathode should be made of a material that has high energy efficiency ratio, high capacity to store lithium, good cyclability. Some manufacturers have opted for LiCoO2  (Layered Oxide), LiFePO4(Polyanion) and LiMnO2 (Spinel) (Taberna, Mitra, Poizot, Simon, & Tarascon, 2006). The following table shows the pros and cons of the different technologies









· Making is easy

· Higher capacity of over 140 mAh g-1


· Relatively Expensive

· Poses Ecological hazard




· Relatively Lower volume under 120 mAh g-1

· Higher temperatures lead to storage lose


· Relatively Environmental friendly

· Relatively cheap



· Relatively Lower conductivity


· Higher capacity 170 mAh g-1

· Nontoxic

· Stable temperature

· relatively cheap

· Relatively higher accessibility of the metal Iron

The market is generally shared among the three technologies, However, the third and even the second technology will get their space in the future models, since they are relatively less expensive and poses less environmental hazards. The separator main function is to act as an impermeable membrane separating the two terminals of the electrode submerged into the electrolyte, this prevents the contact of the two terminals. It also acts as a medium of the passage of the free ions from one terminal to the other. The peculiar material used for this purpose is the synthetic polymers.

The work of the current collector is to link the current from the electrodes to the external current circuitry. Aluminum is largely ideal as a current collecting material due to its proven mechanical durability, a good conductor of both electricity and thermal energy. Copper can act as next best choice(Etacheri, Marom, Elazari, Salitra, & Aurbach, 2011).

The Proposed Components: Electric Motor

The electric scooter gets its power from the electric motor component. This unit encompasses other subcomponents such as the control unit and the various power electronics. The best suitable motor for this kind of circuitry is the brushless DC motor. What makes this motor ideal is its ability to provide a specific power. By definition, great specific power is hereby used to mean a relatively light motor once its power is reached and decided (Larminie & Lowry, 2012). The motor is essentially AC type of a motor but got its naming of DC since it required alternating current to vary its frequency, this power is supplied by the DC. Figure 6.0 shows the functional principle of these motors.

Circular Economy: Scooter Recycling

The circular economy has been suggested as the best alternative model to be used in the most productive line. A lot of pitfalls have befallen the traditional linear economy which ends with the product being taken to waste for disposal. Such activities have led to environmental degradation since most of these products are non-biodegradable. The electric scooter can benefit from this approach by ensuring some of its components are taken to recycling plans thus reducing the cost of manufacturing due to reduced cost of materials. This enhances the low cost of production while maximizing profit. Such components that can be recycled are discussed hereinafter. To effectively consider a subcomponent for recycling after scooper life cycle, the following algorithm is established to aid in decision making (Hsien & Lee, 2001),

The above algorithm shows the electric scooper has some components that are too important to be disposed of and should be considered for recycling.  This includes,

Lithium Battery Waste Management

Several directives and regulatory bodies are in place to set up standards that should be used in the management of battery. This includes the regulations in the management of used lithium-based batteries. The regulatory body has put on the spot the producers to take due care to ensure their properly comply with the regulations. European Union has collectively set their own collections centers of wastes but the bar starts and stops with the manufactures to run the collection system and ensure proper disposal. The new battery based on the lithium technology is relatively somewhat new technique, however, the collections systems for the waste are in place. Their counterpart treatment plants are however not evenly distributed. A country like Italy still lacks a plant for treating the lithium-based accumulators. The destination points of most collected wastes are Germany or Switzerland. To effectively achieve a circular economy, the company should consider enrolling with one of the treating plants so as to recycle them (Castillo, Ansart, Laberty-Robert, & Portal, 2002). There is generally no standard for recycling the disposed lithium-based batteries but the standard process all over the globe is summarized in the table below,





Technology Used














Steel, Ni,










Al, Cu, Co










Steel, Cu,


The main driving force in the high need to recycle the components is the residual value of the values from the recycling plant. The price of most lithium battery with a cobalt-based cathode, is about 4000-6000€/ton (Castillo et al., 2002). It is estimated that 80% of the cumulative price is essentially cobalt metal, which is estimated to have a market value of 3000-4000€/ton. The company therefore will make some money from the procedure which can be used to boost production.

Table 1 Composition of Lithium Battery

Battery Component


Casing 9Alumium)








Copper Electrode foild


Alumiuum electrode foild




Results and Discussion

The report has been used to explain the various recycling options in the production of the electric scooter and discussion on their merits and demerits have been discussed. Various countries have unanimously agreed to set up some of the recycling plants in the greater European union to help various manufactures to effectively and efficiently recycle of the potentially hazardous components of the electric scooter. Despite the enormous environment conservation, this recycling technology in its self a circular economy model where the various manufacturers can obtain some of the components used in production as taken back to the supply chain making a circular continuous supply of inputs (Schroeder, 2011).

The circular economy model is being advocated by various regulatory bodies all over the globe in a bid to keep the promise to conserve the environment from known pollutants such as the lithium used in the electrical component of the most electric motor. The company shall have a sustainable production using the circular economy approach with a reduction in the cost and logistics of always buying new materials to assembly an electric scooter. Countries like the western Europe reward well such manufacturers who take due care to ensure their collect the disposable electric motor and take to the various recycling plants located in various countries like Germany. This overall will enhance environmental conservation (Ekvall, Assefa, Björklund, Eriksson, & Finnveden, 2007).


The report had the aim of first elaborating the various components of the electric scooter with an aim to identifying various components that are potential for recycling. This is important keeping the green nature of the electric scooters compared to their carbon-based components with a huge carbon footprint. The report has inferred that the recycling of some of the various components especially the electric circuitry has a lot of merits to both the company and the environment. The company shall reduce the cost of purchasing new materials since most of the components shall be derived from the recycling plants. The company shall also be in compliant to some of the environmental regulatory authorities who insists that the electric scooter should be recycled rather than disposed of as proposed in the circular economy model. The report therefore recommends the company to abandon their linear approach to production which ends with disposition of wastes rather than disposing of them.


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