Electric and hybrid vehicles must become more affordable for consumers and more profitable for producers, according to GKN.
For that to happen, suppliers must find new and better ways to make electric propulsion more economically viable.
GKN Automotive’s technology roadmap focuses on reducing the premium for e-mobility, while maximising the benefits. Lower costs, optimum efficiency, NVH refinement, and effective all-wheel drive (AWD) system integration will be critical success factors for programs.
Progress on electrification is already being made as manufacturers commit to electrifying their fleets and a growing number of products become available. GKN Automotive has played a significant role in this process, applying its driveline and all-wheel drive expertise to scale up production of systems that support e-mobility.
“NVH issues will be critical to the success of e-mobility programs and brand reputations, ” says GKN white paper on the future of EVS.
The process will accelerate over the course of the next decade with forecasts all pointing to fundamental shifts in key markets. By 2026, one in every 10 vehicles sold worldwide will be a battery electric vehicle. China sees a huge potential payoff in being the technology leader in this field, and will account for a third of the total world car production by 2030.
Regulation is the main driver there and in Europe and the US, with CO2 penalties providing a powerful financial incentive for automakers. Changes in consumer preferences are further increasing the competitive pressure on vehicle manufacturers.
In Europe, the market’s shift from diesel to gasoline engines is resulting in higher fleet average CO2 emissions and is making the short- and medium-term outlook more fluid and difficult to predict. To avoid higher penalties, automakers must expand and accelerate their electrification plans.
More models are offering e-mobility and electric driving ranges are increasing. For the last generation of plug-in hybrids, an electric range of around 20km was typical. A new generation is increasing this to more than 45km and some applications are already offering 60km.
The continued high cost of batteries mean the economics of e-mobility remain challenging. Batteries will continue to be the highest cost item in an EV for some time. With battery prices of around €150 per kWh, the energy storage can add €9,000 to the vehicle’s price. As a result, the current cost-gap between EVs and ICEs can be thousands of dollars – with many sold at a loss.