Europe has caught up considerably on e-mobility
Salzburg/Paderborn, October 31, 2019. Benteler wants to target suppliers in the area of e-mobility and traditional vehicle manufacturers with its Electric Drive System. Benteler manager Marco Kollmeier also wants to involve partners in providing the service for such platforms.
Mr Kollmeier, is the rolling chassis you developed in cooperation with Bosch particularly attractive for new suppliers in the area of e-mobility or do you also want to offer it to the traditional vehicle manufacturers?
The BENTELER Electric Drive System, a rolling chassis, is attractive for any customer who wants to access the market quickly and who is looking for a scalable modular solution without reinventing the wheel. This is the current approach of the new, highly agile vehicle manufacturers. Using our BENTELER Electric Drive System, they can save several years of development and test cycles, and enter series production much faster.
So it is really aimed at the new suppliers in the area of e-mobility?
No, a platform solution like this also suitable for traditional vehicle manufacturers. We can see some manufactures going exactly this way and developing their own platforms. We are convinced that platforms for battery electric vehicles are the architecture of choice. This applies to traditional manufacturers and new suppliers. Our cooperation with Evergrande and Automobili Pininfarina confirms this approach: Both companies will use the system as the basis for the chassis architecture of future electric vehicles.
Where would the rolling chassis be built?
In this respect we are very flexible. We can produce the components and subsystems of the rolling chassis ourselves and supply them to our customers. In this way, our customers can take advantage of our extensive materials expertise, as we have more than 140 years experience in the processing of metals such as steel and aluminum. At the same time, we are a system integrator, as we install products from Bosch in the rolling chassis such as electric drive, sensor technology, brakes and steering. Alternatively, customers can obtain a license from us so that they can build the rolling chassis themselves. With our engineering expertise, we are also happy to offer support.
How big is the market for the rolling chassis and what share would you like?
We foresee great potential for such platforms in the area of shared mobility. The degree of interest shown by customers such as Evergrande or Automobili Pininfarina shows that we are on the right path. We are convinced that we will secure a relevant share in the market with our BENTELER Electric Drive System.
Do you think that China will be the biggest market for such platforms?
The Chinese market is, of course, the driving force: We have the greatest momentum there, facilitated by effective state funding. The Chinese market currently accounts for about half of the demand for e-mobility worldwide. But then there is the other half: Europe has caught up considerably on e-mobility. The West Coast of the US also shows potential. We consider e-mobility to be a global issue.
How much does the area of e-mobility contribute to turnover at BENTELER?
This area does not currently generate much turnover, as not that many vehicles are being manufactured yet. But the market is rapidly changing. This is a great opportunity for us. 85 percent of our product portfolio is independent of the type of vehicle drive. Already today our components and modules are to be found in virtually every car throughout the world. Our expertise in the processing of metals, for example in lightweight construction, will continue to be in demand – for CO2-reduced, environmentally friendly vehicles.
Will BENTELER increase cooperation with other companies?
Definitely. Today the subject of shared economy is gaining ever more importance. The approach of developing everything in-house is becoming a thing of the past. Partnerships make us faster and more efficient. Our partners complement our own expertise. The development cooperation with Bosch is an excellent example of this: Bosch complements the BENTELER Electric Drive System with electric and electronic components and subsystems as well as software and system integration.
Would you consider becoming a joint manufacturer of such shuttles with Bosch or do you see yourself exclusively in the role of the technology supplier?
We will definitely not manufacture complete vehicles. Irrespective of this: The question as to whether the manufacture of people movers is an OEM business has not yet been decided. There are no particular brand characteristics for people movers. This takes away an important criterion of vehicle manufacture. These days, people do not care which taxi they take, they simply want to get quickly and safely from A to B. The same applies to a people mover – it is simply a commercial vehicle. The question is how a typical vehicle manufacture can position itself in the market when it manufactures people movers.
Do you also aim to offer a service?
The subject of aftersales service is an important component. Manufacturing and selling a vehicle is one thing. Providing customer support for five, six or seven years is another. An electric car also needs servicing. Therefore, it will be necessary to provide a service network like our partner Bosch. This also underlines the importance of partnerships.