Trend to electric forces automative industry to collaborate

The development and evolution of the EV industry has forced several competing companies to begin working together and sharing their technology.

09/02/2011


In recent weeks, several tie-ups have been announced impacting the global hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) market:

  • In mid-July, Bosch and Daimler announced plans to establish a 50:50 joint venture to develop electric motors for EVs.
  • Ford and Toyota recently announced that they will collaborate as equal partners to develop a new hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs.
  • GM and LG announced that they will jointly develop future electric vehicles, building on the relationship already developed through LG supplying battery cells for the Chevrolet Volt. 
  • Most recently, Volvo and Siemens AG have announced a joint program to develop electric drive technology, power electronics, and charging technology for use in Volvo’s C 30 electric car.

This trend to collaborate is key to the development of the EV industry.

Developing hybrid and electric vehicles is expensive, and isn’t without risk: are consumers going to buy them? Will governments and businesses roll out the necessary infrastructure to support them? In short, will vehicle manufacturers see a return on their investment?

Partnerships lessen the risk, and provide much needed ‘cross-pollination’ of technological development. Many of the technologies needed for hybrid and electric vehicles (battery design/management, electric motor control, vehicle charging) are highly specialised and have not traditionally been areas of expertise for the vehicle OEMs. The automotive industry will benefit by seeking external expertise and clearly the above companies have recognised this.

Not only does I expect to see more partnerships of this nature, but I would actively encourage them. They are essential for the successful future development of the hybrid and electric vehicle market.



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Water use efficiency: Diminishing water quality, escalating costs; Lowering building energy use; Power for fire pumps
Building envelope and integration; Manufacturing industrial Q&A; NFPA 99; Testing fire systems
Labs and research facilities: Q&A with the experts; Water heating systems; Smart building integration; 40 Under 40 winners
Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.