From concept to mass product: automotive industry leaders boost commercialization of electric vehicles.

Until recently, many believed that the slowness of automotive majors in electrification was caused by fears for their own future due to their inability to adapt to new market realities. For example, last spring, Daimler top managers reported a reduction in profits in the medium term due to the abandonment of gasoline and diesel engines. In turn, this will affect the incomes of many enterprises involved in the supply chain.
At the same time, using the example of Volkswagen, we can see how the plan for launching the electric version for each of the mass-produced models is subject to revision and requires more expenses than expected. Previously, the company predicted that the cost of switching to electric traction would be approximately 20 billion euros, but in an interview with the new executive director, Herbert Dis, VW's corporate edition hints at revising the initial assessment towards an increase: managed to move on. "
The new material, Financial Times, examines in detail the challenges that the German automotive industry, which has a long history and serious importance in the European economy, will have to cope with. According to experts, for most of them the Tesla script is impossible, starting from scratch and dedicated to electric cars, otherwise you would have to cut 800,000 redundant jobs, since they will inevitably disappear after ICE.
Although BMW, VW and Dimler invested billions of euros in electric vehicles, their approaches differ significantly: some create rechargeable models on the old architecture, others develop individual platforms. “It is the choice of strategy that will determine the leaders in terms of profitability. Those who take the most difficult path will eventually become more successful than others,” said Volkswagen top manager Christian Senger.
With its large industrial potential, Volkswagen takes full advantage of this advantage by signing a contract for the supply of lithium-ion batteries worth 20 billion euros, thanks to which 50 full electric models will come out on the conveyor until 2025. Thus, the course taken in 2013 with the start of sales of e-Golf and e-Up, created on the basis of conventional gasoline cars, will continue.
"To create a full-fledged electric car, just start by arranging a battery pack between the axles of the wheels," continues Dis. "So, now you have thought out an effective management system, calculated the power reserve, and have great freedom in developing an external design and a much larger internal space with the same volume parameters." (By the way, these words reflect the installation of Tesla's chief designer Franz von Holzhausen, expressed by him back in 2011).
Hatch Neo will be the first product of VW, built on such principles, and after it will see the light of new cars sub-brand ID.
But BMW, apparently, is a completely different concept, involving the use of a special architecture with traditional, hybrid and electric power plant options to choose from after 2021. "We can not afford to stand idle several plants," - said the CEO Harald Kruger. "Thanks to a flexible philosophy, you can distribute the load on production capacity. But what to do with the old system if you immediately switched to the new one? What should you do with living people?"
Daimler stands apart, in parallel developing a qualitatively new electric EQ line with re-equipment of its plants for all types of engines. “We have ordinary and rechargeable hybrids, electric cars, and unmanned taxis may appear tomorrow,” comments board member Markus Schäfer. "It is rather difficult to predict volumes in the current conditions of market uncertainty, so a combined approach is most effective."
Some experts find a flexible approach too complex in terms of engineering and manufacturing. “I don’t think it is possible to combine classic platforms with electric ones, having succeeded in the range from small hatchbacks to full-size SUVs. This is incredibly difficult,” said Pelham Smithers analyst Julia Buti.
But there is another point of view: no one can predict exactly how fast the growth in demand for electric cars will be, and therefore it is reasonable to minimize the risks by diversifying supply, coupled with the consistent abandonment of the fossil fuel paradigm.

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