Electricity conversion and strategic management of supply chains

Edited by Fabio StorchiChairman of the Emiliano Romagnolo Group in the Cavalieri del Lavoro

In the automotive sector, the development of the propulsion unit in the direction of electricity, imposed by the European Parliament’s resolutions of June 2022, is setting in motion a transformation involving a significant part of the national and global production system. According to Mckinsey data from 2021, the automotive industry globally burns 44% of the demand for power transmission systems, systems produced by machine tools, for example. Since an electric car does not need drive shafts, many companies in the automotive supply chain, starting with those that produce machine tools, will be forced to move towards the production of machines and components for the electric car: neither an easy exercise. , or taken for granted.

For the impressive car production chain established in the new Italian industrial triangle, for Emilian Motor Valley (10.2% of national production) and for Turin’s car system in particular (33.5% of national production), this needs to evolve within its value chain, diversify the product into a digital key and increase the share of the built-in service.

All of this imposes and presupposes national industrial policies designed to strategically manage the entire automotive supply chain.

Given the changes in the market for powertrain-related components and the attempt to understand what the likely consequences for suppliers will be, three key messages are inferred.

The first is that electrical mobility is at a turning point. Stricter rules for CO2 emissions, consumer preferences increasingly oriented towards “clean” transport solutions, reduction of the weight and cost of electric batteries and implementation of the power supply infrastructure (columns) will lead, as already happens, to a faster spread of electricity. vehicles in the major markets of the world.

The second is due to the fact that the mix of propulsion technologies that will be adopted depends and will depend on a diversity of factors that will vary from country to country, see e.g. the extension that Brussels is giving to the supercars of the Motor Valley. Regulations, technology, charging infrastructure, operating costs and consumer preferences will be the driving forces that will affect the speed of adoption of alternative engines over the next five to ten years. As a result, the mix of vehicles sold will also change from country to country with hybrid or fully electric solutions followed by the fuel cell power solution.

The third message is the dramatic change from the technical content of the entire driveline. The difference in engine types actually leads to a significant change in the content in terms of quantity, technology and value share in relation to the vehicle. Suppliers of the entire supply chain must understand these changes and set themselves two goals: one party knows how to – instantly – identify the objective (market) and subjective (business) technical growth areas driven by electrification; on the other hand, they must identify – immediately – the stagnant or declining components associated with the technology of the conventional internal combustion engine driveline.

The market for driveline components is therefore expected to retain a significant importance in mechanics, but with a fundamental change in value creation that will go from mechanics / mechatronics to electrical and electrochemical.

In the automotive sector and in the medium term also in the segment of off-highway industrial machinery, suppliers will have to manage their portfolios by deciding where and how they will participate in the growth of electric traction. This will lead to high R & D costs to enter the already highly competitive market for alternative engines, but with a strong growth potential.

This radical technological development would require the intervention of the regulatory authority to lead and financially support the enormous efforts that national producers must make to keep up with the ongoing transformation.

Leave a Comment