Electric Vehicle Technology

Autocluster.NRW took a close look at today’s battery electric vehicles (BEV), analysed supply chains and found out what competences and capacities might be needed for mass production of BEV in Europe.

The BEV has the simplest drive train configuration for electric driving. The mechanic drive train is reduced to an electric motor that drives the wheels directly or through a differential gear box. The electric motor is able to deliver a constant and high torque over a broad range of speed and so most BEV do not need a reduction gear box.
Due to the limited energy capacity of batteries BEV are expected to succeed in urban traffic and densely populated areas. BEV can be used as commuter vehicles and for urban supply. For the analysis Autocluster.NRW focussed on small vehicles of the sectors A - mini (e. g. Smart), B - small (e.g. Fiesta) and LCV (light commercial vehicles e.g. Transit Connect, Caddy). The specifications of the currently dominating design for BEV are laid down in the table below.

Analysis of the supply chain for BEV, compared to ICE
Two major criteria can be analysed if predictions on the design of the supply chain for BEV have to be made. This is value added in production and consumer value. Value added for the production of BEV is different from those of ICE. Most obvious for the consumer is the significantly higher price of the EV, due to the cost for the battery.

A BEV comes along with ~ 63 % higher value added, which is mainly generated at the supplier for the battery cell. About 75 % of the ICE drive train production value falls away. This is an important and not surprising message for the suppliers.
Important for the OEM is the combination of value added in production and customer value. In general this is the basis for a make or buy analysis. In simple words, the higher the value added and the customer value, the more important it is for the OEM to produce the component. This reflects the core competences of the OEM.

For the BEV we expect most OEM to produce engine management, integration of batteries and electric systems, thermal and battery management. Suppliers will develop and produce transmission, battery calls, power electronics, high voltage wiring and comfort/safety/infotainment components.

For this we anticipate new supply chains, capable of high quality mass production. Presently an OEM of BEV deals with hundreds of small direct suppliers. In the future, structured supply chains similar to those for ICE, have to be build up. Production figures will depend on the speed of the process which integrates new players in automotive supply chains into existing structures.