Automotive World Online - Co-opetition - the Secret to Lower Cost Hydrogen FCVs
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Automotive World Online - Co-opetition - the Secret to Lower Cost Hydrogen FCVs Document Transcript

  • 1. Login Join Email Alerts Contact Search... CVs Electronics eMobility Manufacturing OEMs Powertrain Safety Suppliers Research Megatrends Co-opetition: the secret to lower cost hydrogen FCVs? 07 Mar 2013 by Mark Morley, GXS Posted in: Comment, eMobility, OEMs, Powertrain Over the past few years, the electric vehicle industry has received its fair share of news coverage, both positive and negative. Despite their size, EV start-ups Fisker and Tesla have been particularly prominent in recent news reports, with battery supply issues QUICK LINKS and likely change of ownership occupying Fisker’s attention, and Tesla defending its technology, ambitious plans and charging network roll-out. As well as OEMs, governments play a key role, and one such example is the recent announcement by the UK government of a significant investment in the country’s charging infrastructure, to encourage greater adoption of EVs. But can a change in ownership of a leading EV manufacturer and broader access to charging sockets help to reignite interest in the market? Interestingly, in EV development, many OEMs have continued along their own path, only deviating to partner with suppliers of key components, such as lithium-ion battery packs. In fact, many car manufacturers have made strategic battery supplier announcements in order to guarantee the supply of one of the more important parts of an EV, investing heavily in building new battery plants close to EV factories. However, if the aim of the car manufacturers is to obtain broader acceptance of their EVs amongst today’s fastidious consumers, then why haven’t more OEMs decided to collaborate to achieve this common goal. Interestingly, in EV development, many OEMs have continued along their own path, only deviating to partner with suppliers of key components, such as lithium-ion battery packs Running parallel to battery EVs (BEVs) in the development of zero emission cars are hydrogen-powered vehicles, which, unlike their electric counterparts do not require an equivalent charging infrastructure. However, safety and development cost related concerns have really slowed down the introduction of hydrogen powered vehicles into the market. And, even though some hydrogen refuelling points have been introduced at more traditional filling stations, it will still take time and money to introduce these on a wider basis. Hydrogen vehicles certainly appear, on the surface at least, to be more practical than BEVs . However, the ability to fill up your vehicle at a hydrogen filling station, then drive for miles for relatively little cost and produce nothing but water from the exhaust, has to be seen as the Holy Grail of car production. But how will fuel retailers feel about installing numerous hydrogen filling machines on their forecourts, knowing that these vehicles are likely to eventually eat into the profits of their more traditional gasoline and diesel based fuel sales? For the time being at least, forecourt retailers are not too worried about this prospect, perhaps because they assume hydrogen vehicles will not enter the mainstream any time soon – but is that about to change? One can only imagine where the EV industry would be today if OEMs and suppliers such as Panasonic, Toshiba and Sanyo had all worked together to develop a common battery pack News Releases Analysis Research eMagazines Webinars Conferences Contact Us
  • 2. At the end of January 2013, just weeks after BMW and Toyota signed sustainability agreements, Ford, Daimler and Nissan announced that they would be working together to develop a next generation hydrogen fuel cell. The aim is to combine resources by working together to develop a hydrogen fuel cell that can be installed within their respective vehicle platforms. Which again begs the question why has this not happened sooner? One can only imagine where the EV industry would be today if OEMs and suppliers such as Panasonic, Toshiba and Sanyo had all worked together to develop a common battery pack. Even though the automotive industry is highly competitive, there are occasions where combining both technical and financial resources can help the industry to move in new directions. The Ford/Daimler/Nissan announcement is a great example of co-opetition, and the alliance has made clear that the joint aim is to bring the next generation hydrogen vehicle to market within four years. Given that many OEMs are starting to introduce global car platforms to help reduce development costs, how long it will be before other key car systems are essentially commoditised and co-developed by different car manufacturers? If this particular hydrogen vehicle alliance is a success, then it is highly likely that the co-opetition trend will continue. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd. Mark Morley is Automotive Director at GXS The AutomotiveWorld.com Comment column is open to automotive industry decision makers and influencers. If you would like to contribute a Comment article, please contact editorial@automotiveworld.com About | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Copyright Information | Site map | WebjectS. © automotive world ltd. all rights reserved.