Electric vehicle (EV) development has received a $1.2 trillion investment from the global auto industry, creating a great opportunity for new suppliers to secure contracts for everything from battery packs to motors and inverters.
Startups that specialize in batteries and coatings to protect EV parts, as well as vendors who have historically served the Formula One (F1) racing industry or niche motorsports, have been vying for EV contracts. Platforms for automobiles are created to last ten years, allowing high-volume models to generate significant profits for years.
The introduction of the following generation of EVs is anticipated for approximately 2025, and many automakers have asked for assistance in filling knowledge gaps, opening up a window of opportunity for new suppliers.
According to Nick Fry, CEO of F1 engineering and technology company McLaren Applied, “We’ve gone back to the days of Henry Ford when everyone is wondering how do you make these things operate properly?”
That presents a big potential for businesses like ours.
Private equity firm Greybull Capital acquired McLaren Applied in 2021, and McLaren Applied converted an effective inverter created for F1 racing for EVs. Electricity flowing to and from the battery pack can be managed with the aid of an inverter.
The silicon carbide IPG5 inverter can increase an EV’s range by more than 7% while weighing only 5.5 kg (12 lb). According to Fry, McLaren Applied is collaborating with about 20 automakers and suppliers and starting in January 2025, high-volume luxury EV cars will have the inverter.
The undisclosed German automaker will use a Rimac battery system in a high-performance model with an annual production of around 40,000 units starting this year, according to Croatia’s Rimac, an electric vehicle manufacturer that also provides battery systems and powertrain components to other automakers and is partially owned by Germany’s Porsche AG (P911 p.DE).
According to Mate Rimac, CEO, “We need to be 20% to 30% better than what they can do before they work with us.” We must produce a 130-kilowatt pack in the same size at the same price if they can produce a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack.
EV pioneer Tesla has longstanding partnerships with some suppliers, such as Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Actnano (TSLA.O).
Actnano created a coating that shields EV components from moisture, and the enterprise has expanded to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and other automakers like Volvo (VOLCARb.ST), Ford, BMW (BMWG.DE), and Porsche.
A totally automated, flat, and simple-to-install “flex harness” has been created by California-based startup Cellink in place of a wire harness to the group and direct cables in a vehicle.
Cellink’s CEO Kevin Coakley said the company’s harnesses have been put in almost a million EVs but did not name specific clients. That scale is unique to Tesla.
According to Coakley, Cellink collaborates on battery wiring with a European battery manufacturer as well as American and European automakers.
Others, like the UK startup Ionetic, are concentrated on low-volume manufacturers and create battery packs that are too expensive for smaller businesses to manufacture themselves.
According to CEO James Eaton, it is currently too expensive to electrify, which is why some manufacturers are delaying the launch of their electrification projects.
Swindon Powertrain has been creating potent motorsports engines since 1971. However, it has since created battery packs, electric vehicle powertrains, and e-axles and is currently working with about 20 clients, including automakers and a producer of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
Raphael Caille, managing director, remarked, “I realized if we don’t accept this, we’re going to end up working for museums.”
However, the clock may be ticking.
According to Mate Rimac, major automakers rushed to introduce EVs during the past three years and now have strategies in place for the most part.
I don’t know how long the window of opportunity will be open for individuals who haven’t signed projects, he said.