Tag Archive for: Electric Vehicle Industry

Automotive Industry

With over 100 years of history, cars may be considered ‘legacy technology.’ They are everywhere, so everyone in the automotive industry should know how to develop them…right?

History and Future of the Automotive Industry

Cars have come a long way in the last 100 years. The first patented gas-fueled motor wagon of Carl Benz dates back to 1886. Electric Vehicles (EVs) date even earlier back to the 1830s. Although EVs disappeared between 1935 and 1960, they are back today while the internal combustion engine (ICE) will likely vanish in the future. There are obvious signs that the best times for ICE cars are over. Governments all over the world are paying subsidies for alternative energy vehicles and setting more restrictive greenhouse gas targets for the future. In Europe and Asia, cities are already restricting access to ICE vehicles. As a result, companies like GM, Ford, and VW are going all-in on electric now to assure their future growth.

Customer expectations are also shifting. Next-generation customers are expecting, for example, a connected, smartphone-like user experience. A McKinsey study shows that 36 percent of customers would willingly change brands for better digital and connected services. Another important point to mention is that flexible ownership and mobility services will likely replace traditional car ownership. For example, Tesla has a master plan to dominate the (automotive) world with robotaxis, and an army of startups are raising money to join the battle for future mobility. The rise of the mobility industry with buzzing Mobility as a Service (MaaS) might even make cars a commodity in the future.

New Revenue Models, New Technologies, and New Entrants

Automotive is a capital-intensive and small-margin business. What does capital-intense mean in this case? You need $1 billion to develop a car and another $1 billion to manufacture a car. So, the market is tough as a consequence. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently tweeted: “Tesla & Ford are the only American carmakers not to have gone bankrupt out of 1000s of car startups. Prototypes are easy, production is hard & being cash flow positive is excruciating.”

 No wonder the industry is aiming for a continuous revenue stream rather than a one-time sale. It’s apparent that technology is an enabler for new services and creates additional revenue sources in the industry. Connected car services, features on-demand, and upcoming automated driving subscriptions are examples of additional revenue sources.

Today’s most influential automotive technology is the electrification of the powertrain. It’s changing the industry because an electric powertrain is less complex than a combustion engine powertrain with all the moving parts and a catalytic converter system. Now EV entrants don’t have to catch up with 100 years of ICE development and have the advantage of a less complex and low-maintenance electric powertrain. This provides new EV entrants a lower barrier to enter the industry.

RELATED POST: The Importance of ISO 26262 in Automotive Development 

Today’s Automotive Industry Challenges

Most automotive industry players face distinct challenges caused by the ongoing changes. Here are the major challenges and struggles that key players experience in product development today.

Legacy OEMs

The development process in the automotive industry is still hardware-driven, resulting in a two- to six-year development cycle. To increase profitability and achieve a competitive advantage, OEMs are speeding up the development cycle. Because of the increasing number of features defined by software, this hardware-driven development process reaches its limitations. Shifting to an Agile development process with a shorter cycle is challenging for most OEMs because it needs a properly tailored Agile process for automotive. Another point to mention, there is often a disconnect between engineering, marketing, and customer expectations, or even resistance within the management to introduce features customers are looking for. As a consequence, legacy OEMs are struggling to switch to a more user-centric approach and prioritize features customer value.

Tiered Technology Supplier

In the past, OEMs wrote specifications for E/E systems and Electric Control Units (ECUs). At the next step, tiered suppliers developed the ECUs and verified them against the specifications. In the last step, the OEMs integrated ECUs from different suppliers and validated the system. That’s about 30-70 ECUs for a modern car, and it is quite a challenge. Today the cooperation model is changing, OEMs are challenging their suppliers to step up as technology partners. OEMs are now expecting system and technology co-development with partners to get a leaner process and save costs. As a consequence, suppliers are struggling to grow from a components supplier to technology partners and the related tackle for technology lead.

New Automotive Industry Entrants

New entrants in the industry join a capital-intensive and knowledge-intensive industry as described before. Besides, new entrants often develop E/E systems, domain controllers, and software in-house to differentiate their offering. This has its advantages, but one big disadvantage is the missing automotive engineering review by an external partner. Even if the executive management is aware of this challenge, they often have a hard time finding automotive experienced managers and developers for the required knowledge transfer. As a consequence, new entrants often struggle with implementing the quality and safety standards in the industry and the proper execution of the related automotive engineering methods.

Take Away

The automotive industry has changed a lot in the last few years, and this transformation is speeding up even faster today. Key drivers are changing regulations, new technologies, new revenue models, and new industry entrants. Connected vehicles, autonomous driving, the electrification of the power train, and shared mobility are mutually reinforcing developments in the automotive industry. Combined, these developments are changing the industry – some even call it the perfect storm to disrupt the industry.

To sum it up, the future of the automotive industry looks bright. Nevertheless, technology like autonomous driving, will bring new challenges like increased product complexity and safety concerns. It would be wise for all participants to use proper automotive engineering methods and tools.

To see more information specific to the automotive industry, we’ve compiled a handy list of valuable resources for you!

Electric Vehicle Industry

Editors Note: 2020 is a year we’ll never forget. But amidst a sea of setbacks, companies across the globe continue to rise to the challenge and push forward with innovative product development. Teams who have the right tools and processes in place especially across distributed teams are able to improve collaboration and speed the time it takes to deliver new, innovative products.

In our spotlight series, we highlight companies who are doing extraordinary things in the product development space, and showcase the ways that their innovations are changing the world as we know it. In this post, we applaud the work that Analog Devices is doing to move the electric vehicle industry forward, reducing the environmental impact of commuters worldwide.

This post originally appeared as a press release on Analog Device’s website, www.analog.com.

Analog Devices Introduces Automotive Industry’s First Wireless Battery Management System for Electric Vehicles

Analog Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADI) today announced the industry’s first wireless battery management system (wBMS), which enables automotive manufacturers increased flexibility to scale their electric vehicle fleets into volume production across a wide range of vehicle classes. This is the first wireless battery management system available for production electric vehicles, and it will debut on General Motors’ production vehicles powered by Ultium batteries.

The implementation of ADI’s wBMS eliminates the traditional wired harness, saving up to 90% of the wiring and up to 15% of the volume in the battery pack, as well as improving design flexibility and manufacturability, without compromising range and accuracy over the life of the battery.

ADI’s wBMS includes all integrated circuits, hardware and software for power, battery management, RF communication, and system functions in a single system-level product that supports ASIL-D safety and module-level security building upon ADI’s proven industry leading BMS battery cell measurement technology. By delivering high accuracy for the lifetime of the vehicle, the system enables maximum energy use per cell required for best vehicle range and supports safe and sustainable zero-cobalt battery chemistries, such as lithium iron phosphate (LFP).

RELATED: The Top 5 Challenges in Automotive Product Development

“The transition of battery packs from wired to wireless connectivity enables automotive manufacturers to scale their electric vehicle platforms across multiple vehicle models to meet growing consumer demand,” said Patrick Morgan, Vice President, Automotive at Analog Devices. “Our wBMS solution not only simplifies manufacturing, but also allows new systems to be built on wireless data, accelerating the entire industry towards a sustainable future. We are honored to bring this breakthrough system innovation to market with General Motors.”

Additional system features enable batteries to measure and report their own performance, increasing early failure detection, and enabling optimized battery pack assembly. The data can be monitored remotely throughout the battery lifecycle – from assembly to warehouse and transport through installation, maintenance and into a second-life phase.

RELATED: Your Guide to Selecting the Right Automotive Development Platform 

ADI and General Motors recently announced a collaboration, bringing the wBMS technology to General Motors’ Ultium battery platform. The ADI technology helps ensure scalability of the Ultium platform across General Motor’s future lineup, which will encompass different brands and vehicle segments, from work trucks to performance vehicles.

“We are pleased to collaborate with ADI to take the wBMS technology to production as part of our ground-breaking Ultium battery platform,” said Kent Helfrich, Executive Director, Global Electrification and Battery Systems at General Motors. “ADI’s wBMS technology enables the more widespread electrification of our fleet, and we look forward to a continued collaboration with ADI to deliver innovation in safety, quality, and performance for the future.”

To learn more about how Jama Connect for Automotive can help your team simplify compliance, streamline development, and speed time to market, download our solution overview.