Caroline Guest, Innovation Manager within WMG, University of Warwick, provides us with her insight into what the future holds for ATFs when it comes to EVs.
So, are you ready? This is the question we are asking companies on a daily basis and unsurprisingly the responses are varied. There are those that have already seen huge growth on the back of exploiting new opportunities and others that are still trying to understand the changes and whether there are even opportunities for them, or just threats. The awareness level and preparedness varies greatly across the supply chain, particularly within the smaller companies further removed from the vehicle OEMs.
In answer, we are hearing questions such as:
- What exactly do we need to be ready for?
- When do we need to be ready?
These highlight two of the key challenges. The first is around awareness, understanding the very different technologies being introduced, but is also due to the lack of maturity of these technologies and the standards and legislation that goes with them. Will, for example, the battery chemistries being used now, still be in new cars sold in five years’ time? Do companies invest in working to existing standards or potentially invest more to hedge their bets against future standards and legislation? Time is also a factor in terms of deciding when to invest, what volumes should ATFs be ready to handle, and when? To plan and secure investment, clear market signals are needed, and although we know the rate of uptake of EVs is increasing, it is the details that are critical. We have also found that some of the challenges aren’t really about electrification they are about sustaining a business, looking beyond the day-to-day issues and focussing on their vision, where do they want to be in five years’ time, do they have a plan?
The shift to electric vehicles creates huge commercial opportunities within the UK automotive supply chain, but also huge potential risks if not exploited properly. It is encouraging to receive so many questions from those wanting to understand it better, this is key to success. Our focus is on building this understanding and enabling realisation of these possibilities.
The WMG High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, at the University of Warwick are running a programme called Ready for Electrification, aiming to help UK manufacturing do just that. We are focusing on supporting those slightly lower down the chain, across all stages, from materials extraction and manufacture to end of life processing and recovery. This programme is designed to help UK manufacturers overcome some of these challenges, building awareness and knowledge through networking events, masterclasses and one-to-one support. There is the opportunity to work with our automotive experts in electrification, via tailored strategic and technical support and guidance.
About the author:
Caroline is an Innovation Manager within WMG, University of Warwick, supporting manufacturers across the UK supply chain to innovate and adapt to capitalise on the paradigm shift occurring in vehicle manufacturing. She has specialised in automotive electrification for the last four years, in both the manufacture of products and maximising their value at the end of life. She previously worked at Ford Motor Company, a career spanning over 20 years and across all areas of the business, including vehicle launches throughout the world.