"Because EV hoses generally operate in a far less rigorous service environment, some manufacturers are experimenting with different materials, with a special focus on lightweight materials," Andrasik said.
With the seemingly unavoidable heavy weight of an EV battery, auto makers are looking to reduce weight elsewhere in the vehicle.
"This move toward lightweighting has affected material choices for EV hoses, especially those that run the entire length of the vehicle," he said. "Many of these hoses are being made with nylon or thermoplastic elastomers in order to reduce overall weight."
Testing a fluid transfer system that runs the entire length of a vehicle can pose problems, depending on the size of testing equipment that a firm might possess.
Andrasik said Smithers has been able to customize its testing protocols to meet these challenges.
"Each product's testing ... will be customized based on its service environment and any critical industry or OEM specifications," Andrasik said, adding that virtually all hoses and fluid transfer systems are subject to some type of pressure, vibration and temperature testing—commonly referred to as "PVT."
Other common testing methods at Smithers include burst testing, fluid compatibility testing and accelerated aging. Abrasion, corrosion, flex, torsion, tear and puncture resistance, and chemical characterization are other types of hose testing.
Like ICE drivers, EV drivers tend to be creatures of habit, with average commutes making up a majority of the drive time.
But since some EV markets (especially those in other countries) are dominated by ride share vehicles, hose makers must take longer run times into consideration when developing products "to ensure that every component in the vehicle can handle many consecutive hours of operation without showing premature signs of wear and tear."
"Our product test engineers are extremely familiar with existing OEM and industry specs, and we've developed hundreds of custom test protocols over the years," Andrasik said. "As a result, our OEM clients often turn to us for guidance when developing their internal specifications for hoses, assemblies, and accessories.
"We're incredibly proud to have contributed to the development of OEM specifications."