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Hannes Prenn, President and CEO, Marelli Electric Powertrain
No one had imagined that electric vehicles, one day, would become this mainstream. The world is reaping several benefits of it, while several governments worldwide subsidised electric cars to boost customer interest. Despite the popularity and serviceability, the adoption of EVs has been slow-paced, and the general public is yet to accept it as a viable replacement for conventional vehicles. Several companies are actively developing solutions that will make EVs more accessible, and adapt to the current trends in the automobile industry.
Competitive Landscape of EV Industry and Impact of the COVID-19
Compared to the past few years, the EV market is highly competitive today, owing to its massive popularity. It is unsurprising that every business person now wants to have a piece of it. To stand out from the crowd, companies are investing and innovating to develop the best technologies. I, too, believe the ideology that technology is the key to become successful. The market is evolving fast, and automobile manufacturers need to catch up with the pace. This is the prime manifestation of the fourth industrial revolution.
Compounding this scenario is the Digitalisation that caused several game-changing disruptions that accelerated the growing adoption of electric vehicles. The COVID-19 pandemic only aggravated the situation, and companies immediately embraced digitalisation as their only option to survive in unprecedented circumstances. There also has been significant development in these technologies, owing to the demands by environment activists, climate control policies, and regulations by governments. One also witnessed people’s attention shifting to sustainability, which has resulted in a socially responsible population that prioritises the planet over profits.
This shift was also intensified by the pandemic, as people reflected upon the current conditions prevailing around them and the impacts of fossil-fueled transportations. Though the future of electric vehicles seems promising, there are many challenges that the industry faces today, and we at Marelli, develop the solutions for several of those.
Lack of Efficient Batteries and Charging Infrastructures
The range of today’s electric vehicles is only sufficient for commute within cities; the range is not acceptable for intra-city transport, the reason being the lack of efficient batteries and charging infrastructures. An EV requires charging after covering large distances, and charging stations are not as ubiquitous as gas stations, reducing its range. Even with stations available, EV owners have to wait for long periods until the batteries are fully charged. This gives rise to fear in people’s mind that they might get stuck outside cities and not make it back to their homes. The advancements in the industry are slow-paced, thus creating a psychological factor against EV adoption.
As a prominent member of this industry, we believe that manufacturer must listen to their customers and understand their issues, which is a key to developing solutions to these challenges.
"Customers are looking for affordable products, and at the end of the day, customer satisfaction is what matters the most"
The automotive industry needs to innovate batteries that are highly efficient and charge faster. Silicon Carbide has been widely used in the industry due to its unique switching speed, but currently, the world needs a revolutionary substitute. Gallium Nitride is an excellent option for that. We have a partnership with automotive brands to develop devices that have higher efficiency and performance. We have a strong engineering team that constantly evaluates the market to identify trends and convert them into efficient products. We listen to our customers and anticipate their requirements, implementing those even before clients come to us. We are always ready for the next step in evolution, prepared for the next step in technologies. We also ensure that the products are delivered to our clients on time as enabling our customers to have a disruption-free operational workflow.
Recently, Marelli formed a joint venture with PUNCH to develop and manufacture electric vehicle’s e-axles for full-electrification systems. With this, Marelli would be able to manage the complete energy flow in cars. This will enable us to develop solutions that will result in better efficiencies and better colling. Another crucial aspect that we focus on is the cost. Customers are looking for affordable products, and at the end of the day, customer satisfaction is what matters the most.
Marelli aims to revolutionise the EV industry since it offers a vast range of benefits. These benefits are why our team diligently works to innovate solutions so that electric vehicles largely outclass fossil-fueled vehicles.
One Solution, Several Benefits
The popularity of electric vehicles is at its peak today because it is environmentally friendly, convenient, and cost-effective. It benefits not just EV owners but also cities and the local populations. EVs could improve the grid stability of cities by fostering the use of storage facilities that could benefit from the increased availability of efficient batteries. EV owners could also use their car battery to store power that could be used for their household requirements, reducing the pressure on the local supply chain. In future, there could also be a decentralised transaction system, were excess energy could be sold back to the grid. Today, businesses and governments are turning to EVs for their transportation needs, reducing their dependency on foreign oils. Electric ones are slowly replacing conventional vehicles, and this Green Shift is expected to generate 15 million new jobs, according to a UN report published in 2020. Many international organisations have encouraged the adoption of electric vehicles, citing that this would lead to environmental sustainability. This would also boost economies across the globe as electrification of major transports would boost the electric and electrical sector as well as R&D, along with boosting the renewable energy sector.
Electric Vehicles help individuals, communities, countries, and the world negotiate the various crises in today’s time. With innovative energy storage technologies and charging infrastructures, EV manufacturers and OEMs could attract even larger crowds, giving the travellers the peace of mind that they need while exploring the new and the confidence that their choices are not compromising the future of the next generation, and that is what we, at Marelli, do.