By Eva Ames, Vice President, DSV
Eva Ames is the Vice President of DSV’s Electrification & Mobility Competence Center (EMC2), leading the strategic development of lithium battery and mobility offerings in DSV. Eva joined DSV 2 years ago after a career in roles ranging from design engineering to logistics & operations at both established and startup passenger car OEMs, and she is a former US Department of Transportation Federal Regulator.
Change has been one of the only constants through the chaos of the last few years – changing priorities, changing lifestyles, changing mindsets and most certainly changing supply chains. Prior to the pandemic, environmentalists and the automotive industry were on a collision course. However, as with many industries, the pandemic was a catalyst for pronounced change and accelerated a shift from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) to electric vehicles (EVs).
The automotive industry can learn more from the technology supply chain than just the requirements for handling lithium-ion batteries.
The pandemic and subsequent growth of e-commerce have irreversibly changed consumer behaviour and expectations. We have now come to expect the speed and visibility of e-commerce order fulfilment in everything we buy, both personally and professionally. New urban planning promises 30-minute cities with micro-mobility commuting allowing residents to travel across town quickly and easily. At the same time, futurists speculate about whether we have reached ‘Peak Car’, the maximum number of miles travelled per capita in a personal vehicle. All these factors are combining to have a significant impact on the future of the automotive industry and their supply chains.
From chaos comes opportunityBusiness leaders are now searching for new ways to stabilise production in this time of radical change in the industry. Particularly as they try and traverse “the new normal” of unpredictable capacity, labour and fuel rates by placing greater emphasis on their logistics and supply chain requirements. As such, there has never been a better time to make logistics a key strategic advantage within the auto industry. But how can we be faster, smarter and more efficient amidst current unpredictability and uncertainty?
Innovation across automotive supply chains has become an absolute requirement to meet the changing industry landscape
Innovation across automotive supply chains has become an absolute requirement to meet the changing industry landscape. At first glance, it may seem that the EV supply chain is merely adding batteries to the existing ICEV, but it can and should be so much more. The lithium-ion batteries used in today’s EVs share their roots and supply base with those from technology consumer electronics and cars and are fast becoming the hardware used to showcase the latest software for features like autonomous driving and the in-vehicle personal assistant.
The automotive industry can learn more from technology supply chains than just the requirements for handling lithium-ion batteries as Class 9 Dangerous Goods. In many cases, these “consumer electronics on wheels” have service needs for their software, as well as physical repairs in the traditional automotive sense. As the fast-moving, high-volume technology supply base crosses over into automotive, it brings with it the normalcy of immediate over-the-air software updates to fix bugs and the option to purchase new software upgrades. This familiarity resonates with consumers who increasingly want the latest and greatest as soon as it is available instead of making a 10+ year investment in a single-vehicle.
Additionally, the volume of lithium-ion batteries in consumer electronics pales in comparison to the overall volume of lithium-ion cells in passenger vehicles. Thus far, there has not been enough economy of scale within consumer electronics alone to grow the battery recycling industry. Still, with the increasing number of used batteries from vehicles and the additional demand from both regulators and automakers for battery recycling, solutions are already emerging. And all of this comes before second-life opportunities for vehicle batteries, but the circular economy discussion is a story for a different day.
The lines between the automotive and technology industries get blurrier every day. We should embrace the baseline knowledge and experience that both bring to the table, growing in sync with one another as the supply chains converge.
Meeting the challenges of future trends
In order to achieve this, DSV designs, implements and operates comprehensive global automotive supply chain solutions for individual parts, components, subassemblies and finished vehicles for OEMs and their suppliers. From the world’s largest automotive manufacturers to start-up electric mobility manufacturers (EMC2). The EMC2 team supports customers involved with products that use batteries, electrified mobility and future mobility concepts.
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