Electric Vehicles Technology Roadmap for the Brazilian industry

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2019)


Brazilian automotive industry, Electric Vehicle, electromobility, Roadmap


The electrification of the automobile industry is gaining traction rapidly: the global stock of electric cars reached nearly 3 million in 2017, representing an increase of 57% in comparison to the previous year (IEA, 2018). China is clearly pushing the electrification wave. The number of electric cars on the road in this country exceeded 1 million in 2017, accounting for around 40% of the global electric car fleet. European Union and the United States accounted for about a quarter of the global total each. Norway is the most representative case of electric vehicles diffusion, presenting the highest share of electric cars in its vehicle stock (6.4%). We built on the premises that technical progress, social demands and environmental pressure are promoting the reconfiguration of the transport sector technological trajectory. This changing landscape (GEELS, 2002) and the notion of new technologies able to threat incumbents creates windows of opportunities for companies and nations, which, if well exploited, imply endogenous development cycles and establish virtuous trajectories in a "new" industry (LEE; MALERBA, 2017; PEREZ; SOETE, 1988). The opposite is also true: not taking advantage of this great upturn may lead territories and companies to a non-competitive peripheral condition. As regards the e-mobility discussion in the Brazilian auto industry, the federal government and the automotive industry have not taken a position regarding the participation of local firms in the e-mobility segment (CONSONI et al., 2018). A new national program, ROTA 2030 Mobilidade e Logística, was launched at the end of 2018 as a set of regulations and incentives aiming at enhancing both, the transport system competitiveness and the logistic design, as well as to promote assistive technologies in the country. The program also considers the promotion of innovative activities related to biofuels, a traditional segment in the country, as well as to new technologies for propulsion, including those related to electric vehicles (EV). However, the EV technologies are not addressed in this regulation in terms of specific targets, nor have they been promoted based on local planning production. There is also no clear indication of how the future for this industry would look like in the country, which hinders the actions that could be taken by the government and stakeholders interested in the diffusion of this kind of technologies in the Brazilian territory. Such lack of a “future vision” for the EV segment in the country constitutes the main motivation for this research. In this paper, we will summarize the methodological procedures and results of a technology roadmap (TRM) carried out in 2018 for the potential EV industry in Brazil. The main objective for the TRM was to construct a scenario until 2033 - aligned to ROTA 2030 cycle -, wherein local firms may have participation in the assembly of electric/hybrid cars, as well as in their component development. For that purpose we firstly design a framework that helps us to analyze the electric car as an e-mobility artefact, based on the competence bloc concept, as described by the Technological Innovation System (TIS) literature (CARLSSON et al., 2002; CARLSSON; STANKIEWICZ, 1991; ELIASSON; ELIASSON, 1996). This framework resulted in the Electric Propulsion System (EPS) specification, which served as a guide to separate the different components that make up an electric car, as well as to identify the stakeholders related to each of those components (i.e. powertrain and batteries and its components). We then conducted a prospective methodology based on energy roadmap guides (IEA, 2013; INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY (IEA), 2009; PHAAL, 2004). This methodology was applied to set the electrification future vision up to 2033. In order to construct the future vision and proposed scenario, we: (1) collected insights from stakeholders and experts, (2) analyzed the global path/trends of technology and (3) conducted a foresight study through local experts. Based on this approach, we identified the main barriers and opportunities that a potential EV industry may face, which allowed us to suggest actions to be taken by local government and stakeholders. We focused on the supply side (i.e. R&D activities) and considered two possible trajectories: (i) one that combines and merge new propulsion technologies with the well-established pathway followed by the local industry, represented by the internal combustion engine fueled by biofuels. This is the hybridization case, in which we considered all the range of electrification degrees (micro, mild, full hybrid); (ii) another that focuses in confronting the incumbent paradigm and promotes the development and diffusion of pure electric vehicles and fuel cell systems. Main results highlight the first trajectory (i) as potentially advantageous for Brazil to become an important player in some e-mobility segments. We identified a local vision for promoting the development of hybrid vehicles with flex fuel systems, taking advantage of the country’s competences already accumulated by the biofuels sector. Concerning the barriers and opportunities analysis, we outline as main opportunities the country’s competences in technologies related to: electric powertrain (in the development and manufacturing of the different technologies that compose it), charging infrastructure (in the development of electric vehicle supply equipment and charging stations), energy accumulators (in packaging and software for batteries). In addition to these opportunities, we identify barriers that could block the advance of these technologies. The main examples of blocking mechanisms are related to the difficulties observed in the local industry for the development of batteries and the little engagement of the multinational automakers to connect with local components suppliers. Practical implications demonstrate that the roadmap process engaged stakeholder from different spheres (government, academy and industry) and served as a platform to think and design national science and technology policy, becoming a strong driver for promoting innovation towards electrification in Brazil. For this purpose, it’s imperative that future vision reached have to be fully connected and coupled into the government strategic planning and also by the market actors related.

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