Supply chain implications of making affordable electric vehicles

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Bordeaux (2024)


Most U.S.-based automakers struggles to make electric vehicles at a profit. The legacy automakers face several challenges that pure-play EV producers do not:
• They need to balance getting to efficient EV manufacturing scale while managing the loss of scale on the internal combustion engine (ICE) side of the business; pure-play EV makers need only concentrate on achieving efficient EV manufacturing scale.
• As volumes decline—so, too will the number of available suppliers for ICE components and legacy automakers may see costs increase as remaining suppliers gain monopoly power.
• They need to meet more stringent emissions and fuel economy regulations whereas pure-play EV manufacturers’ products will already meet the emissions requirements by nature of their products.
• Legacy automakers started making EVs by adapting existing internal combustion engine vehicle platforms that have design features that EVs do not require (such as NVH measures) and need time and investment to transfer to purpose-built platforms (and software-defined vehicles). Pure-play producers begin with an optimized platform and SDV.
• At the same time, the clean sheet approach has allowed pure-play EV producers to move quickly to utilize new manufacturing approaches such as gigacastings that lower costs and investment requirements.
• Propulsion supply chains are undoubtedly impacted by the shift to EVs, but the advent of gigacastings and “unboxed” manufacturing will have implications for body & chassis suppliers as a single casting will now replace many individual parts, fasteners, and welds.
This paper will first explain the different approaches to making EVs, describe how purpose-built EV platforms and software-defined vehicles are changing the competitive landscape, and review manufacturing changes that could upend the U.S. industry (i.e., unboxed manufacturing). The research will also explore the outlook for U.S. automotive parts suppliers as EVs rely on fewer parts and potentially more non-traditional sourcing.

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