Tony Lynch, managing director and senior leader in the North American Automotive Industrials Group of Alvarez & Marsal, details the dynamics of the electric vehicle market, including how original equipment manufacturers and suppliers are pivoting to support the product of EVs.
The electric vehicle market is heating up in a big way, as manufacturers and suppliers adjust their supply chains to meet the growing demand for EVs. “We see tremendous amount of activity from OEMs [original equipment manufacturers], as well as lots of new entrants,” says Lynch.
Batteries are a particular area of focus. All OEMs are forming partnerships with battery manufacturers (with the exception of Tesla, which makes its own batteries). General Motors has partnered with LG to build a pair of battery factories in Ohio and Tennessee. “There’s a whole range of co-manufacturing partnerships going on in the battery space,” Lynch says.
The surge in EV sales is prompting manufacturers all along the supply chain to reorient their areas of focus. Some are divesting themselves of units that become obsolete in the transition to EVs, such as fuel, exhaust and power train systems. At the same time, they’re looking to make acquisitions in growing markets such as power electronics. Which types of companies end up cornering the electronics market on behalf of OEMs remains to be seen.
Battery technology is itself in a state of flux. Lynch believes that the lithium liquid batteries now in use will eventually be supplanted by solid-state models, which are lighter, cheaper and potentially safer, and will result in longer range for vehicles. They will also reduce the need for minerals and chemicals that could be in short supply as the EV market grows. Lithium-based batteries, he says, are “just a step to solid state. It’s not the endgame — it’s the middle of the play.”
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