Spanning more than a century, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have been building vehicles equipped with ICEs. Over this period these manufacturers have forged relationships with specialist suppliers well versed in the systems, technologies, standards, and regulatory requirements of traditional car manufacture.
This has unintentionally led to long and costly development cycles that are placing legacy manufacturers under pressure from their new “avant-garde” tech-sector competitors.
Challenges facing the rapid rollout of Extreme Fast Charging EVs
Electrification has changed the status quo. No longer can the OEM rely only on its traditional supplier base for the unique components required to power all-electric vehicles.
In a rapidly evolving industry driven by CASE technologies (Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electrified), non-traditional high-tech and start-up companies frequently offer the best value proposition for the nascent technologies required to power EVs - albeit without an established track record as a supplier to the industry.
A good example of this is the all-important battery that underpins the EV. This critical component not only has to meet customer requirements but plays an important role in brand differentiation, and in the case of the Extreme Fast Charging (XFC) battery, quelling consumers’ range and charge anxiety.
Despite the importance of the battery pack, requirements and specifications are at an early stage of development and are therefore not fully understood or described in context of the battery development lifecycle. Many aspects of the battery - from the cell, to module assembly and the pack itself – are evolving at lightning speed.
For EV battery suppliers, new to the automotive industry, this adds several hurdles to an already challenging product development cycle, including:
- Meeting the wide array of functional specifications that are often non complimentary/diverging (e.g. fast charging versus high energy density).
- Aligning the supplier’s product development objectives, pathway and timeline with that of the OEM’s (XFC capability of the battery cell with the rollout of a DC high-power fast charging network).
- Accommodating the many “minor” specification updates that may be required during the product integration in the engineering phase of the development adds time to the development cycle and adds costs. Seemingly simple changes, such as changing the form factor, require significant financial and human investment – often not planned for in the development lifecycle budget.
- The time and resources required to ensure compliance of each iteration to the original product performance and safety specifications, such as a change to the form factor, requires a different cell architecture which could impact other performance and design parameters, such as energy density or the construction of the electrode.
Under these unfamiliar conditions and unburdened by decades of traditional business and development practices many young technology companies are speeding up the industry’s transition to eMobility through agile business and engineering solutions that reduce the time to market without compromising quality or performance. In so-doing, iterative development costs for both the OEM and supplier are reduced significantly.
Early cooperation between agile OEMs and suppliers is key to the success of Extreme Fast Charging EVs
To minimize disruption to the development process of long lead-time components, such as XFC batteries it is vital that OEMs communicate and include specialist technology providers earlier in the process. By consulting with suppliers at an early stage components can be successfully integrated into complete systems from the outset, reducing the time and costs of reactive iterative development.
By adopting an agile approach to the evolving eMobility landscape, OEMs can position themselves to best take advantage of the latest technology without compromising the quality, reliability or safety, assosciated with automotive components.
What is more, in an environment where new technology companies, such as Tesla, have adopted a “startup” mindset, legacy manufacturers need to develop a structure that is agile in its approach to product design and development to respond to changing market requirements.
By clearly laying out the priorities and objectives early on in the process development time and costs can be optimized. This is particularly important in battery development where uncertainty surrounding the priorities can lead to lengthy delays while the technology is adapted from, say, a low-cost chemistry to one where a fast charge rate of four or five C takes precedence.
To further eliminate unnecessary delays in the product’s time to market OEMs need to reassess and, where necessary, adapt protracted and rigid test procedures that were developed to evaluate and confirm traditional components’ functionality, to meet the needs of the new generation electric-powertrain components.
StoreDot’s value proposition
To effectively address a complex challenge such as reducing the time to charge and/ or increase range demands cooperation across a wide range of competencies – from the vehicle’s onboard power electronics, to the charging infrastructure, and of course the battery.
By closely collaborating with XFC battery technology leader, StoreDot, manufacturers can save both time and money in product R&D while differentiating their brand from those of their competitors.
Collaborating with XFC battery technology leader, StoreDot, OEMs can unlock the following benefits:
- The XFC EV battery based on existing and scalable production techniques and facilities simultaneously addresses two of the major obstacles in the rapid adoption of EVs – range anxiety and consumer demands for faster charging.
- By largely utilizing existing production processes and equipment, additional CAPEX is not required.
- The silicon dominant technology does not come with any significant on-cost – despite its excellent energy density, lifespan and extreme fast charging capability. StoreDot’s silicon dominant technology is versatile and flexible, allowing for the technologies to be rolled out in all existing cell form-factors.
- StoreDot has a proactive development timeline that recognizes the future developmental direction of the EV powertrain and assosciated charging infrastructure. This is explicitly iterative to best utilize resources whilst building on existing development history.
With the escalating costs of R&D required by CASE technologies, OEMs can significantly reduce their spend while future-proofing their EVs by forming strategic partnerships with technology leaders, such as StoreDot.
Collaborative cooperation with tech innovators, such as StoreDot, affords agile OEMs the opportunity to speed up the cost-effective development of important and innovative battery cells, packs and vehicle architectures that allow the manufacturer to differentiate its product offerings from the opposition.