19 - 22 June 2024

Giant Automakers and the Transition from Gasoline to Electric Engine

 

• In recent years, the automotive industry has adopted many changes to meet the growing demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation due to rising concerns about climate change and green trends.

• Major automakers, which have traditionally dominated the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle market, have had to pivot to electric vehicles (EVs) as a way to stay competitive.

 

 

This article explores how major automakers that produce gasoline-powered vehicles are changing and adapting to the era of electric mobility. From being the leaders in the automotive industry, many of them are now chasing after competitors like Tesla, BYD, Geely, and many more that started out as electric car manufacturers from the beginning. In order not to fall behind in this competition, each company has adopted various strategies as follows:

 

Strategic change and investment in electrical technology. Major automotive companies have adjusted their strategies by investing heavily in electric vehicle technologies. Companies like General Motors (GM), BMW, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Volkswagen, Volvo Cars, Nissan, Honda Da, Toyota, and many others have allocated a large portion of their resources to R&D. They focus on battery technology, electric drive system and charging infrastructure. For example, Honda aims to build a world-class battery electric vehicle (BEV) production system that can produce more than 2 million vehicles per year by 2030, and targets 100% of their global sales to come from electric cars and fuel cell vehicles (FCV), such as hydrogen, by 2070. Another example, Volvo Cars, announced its commitment to become a fully electric car brand by 2030.

 

Expanding the electric vehicle product portfolio. One of the most noticeable changes among traditional automakers is the expansion of their electric car lineups in response to consumer demand and regulatory pressure. Many manufacturers have launched fully electric cars alongside traditional cars in the market. This variety makes it possible to serve a wider range of consumers and compete for share from the growing EV market. For example, Mercedes Benz launched the EQ (Electric Intelligence) brand, which is designed specifically for electric cars. Under the EQ group, the company plans to develop several types of electric cars, including the SUVs, sedans, and compact cars.

 

 

Cooperation and alliances. To accelerate the transition to EVs, many automakers have formed various strategic alliances and partnerships with existing automakers, emerging electric car companies, and tech companies. This practice is becoming more common because it allows for the sharing of expertise, technology, and resources while also promotes rapid innovation. For example, BMW has established a joint venture with Mercedes Benz to operate a high-energy charging network in China. It is expected that at least 1,000 high-power charging stations and approximately 7,000 charging poles will be installed on the mainland by the end of 2026. Also, in 2024, Honda will launch a fully electric SUV called Prologue model, while Acura (Honda's luxury brand Marketed in the United States) will launch the "ZDX", both of which were jointly developed with GM.

 

Adopting sustainable practices. In addition to the shift to electric mobility, major car companies have also begun to focus on sustainability in their production processes by sourcing environmentally friendly materials and adopting energy-saving production methods. Right now, automakers are taking another step towards reducing their overall carbon footprint. This change is in line with the goal to create a more sustainable and environmentally conscious automotive industry.

 

Marketing and Consumer Education. Automakers have acknowledged the importance of consumer awareness regarding the trend of electric vehicles. Therefore, they are actively involved in marketing and education initiatives. Apparently, traditional automakers are promoting the benefits of electric cars, dispels myths and addresses concerns related to range anxiety and charging infrastructure to create confidence for consumers and facilitate a smoother transition to electric mobility. A case in point is Volvo Cars which has built the first public electric vehicle charging network at Starbucks chain in the United States. This network is powered by ChargePoint, the leading provider of charging stations. An initial 60 fast chargers will be installed at 15 Starbucks stores, and charging locations will be installed every 100 miles (about 160 km), which is within the battery life range of most electric cars to create the necessary infrastructure for current electric car drivers and those considering to make a switch to electric cars. The project will connect 1,350 miles (approximately 2,173 km) of trails from the Denver area to Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.

 

Government regulations and compliance. As governments around the world introduce stricter emissions regulations and incentives for electric vehicles, major automakers have had to adapt to meet these changing standards. Companies that were once focused solely on gasoline-powered cars are now implementing electrification strategies to meet regulatory requirements and take advantage of incentives that encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.

 

 

The transition from gasoline to electric-powered cars is a key moment in the history of the automotive industry. Major automakers have expressed their flexibility and adaptability by embracing electric mobility, investment in technology, creation of strategic partnerships, and prioritizing sustainability. As consumer demand continues to shift towards environmentally friendly alternatives, these automotive giants are not only keeping up with the changes, but are shaping the future of transportation.

 

If you are looking to delve deeper into the EV industry as well as various trends in the automotive and automotive parts industries, then keep up with our future blogs. Also, mark your calendar for Automotive Manufacturing 2024 – the 19th edition of ASEAN's Most Comprehensive Exhibition on Automotive Parts Manufacturing Technology during 19 - 22 June 2024 at BITEC, Bangkok.

 

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