Is Detroit asleep at the wheel? Canadian battery company expands presence in China

November 05 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Transportation   Year: 2013   Rating: 2

Yesterday, Canada’s Electrovaya announced the signing of three Memorandum of Understanding MOU’s with Chinese manufacturers of electric cars, trucks and manufacturing equipment including Chana International Corp. which has joint ventures with both Ford and Mazda. Electrovaya’s announcement comes less than a month after signing a strategic partnership with India’s TATA Motors to sell cars in Europe in 2009.

Where is Detroit?
Detroit’s Big Three (GM, Ford & Chrysler) are distracted by short-term challenges. Their ‘legacy costs’ associated with building cars around the combustion engine could keep it from leapfrogging into a new era of vehicle manufacturing and design based on electric motors.

Could we be witnessing a classic ‘low end disruption’ strategy evolving in the global auto industry as Asia grabs reigns on future of electric vehicles powered by batteries, fuel cells and capacitors?

How?

Global automakers figure out that the revolution is how you build cars, not how you fuel them that matters. (Oil is not the problem, the problem is the combustion engine.) The key to building low cost high performance electric cars revolves around energy storage systems. If it is cheaper to build energy storage systems in China than Ohio and Michigan, than the Rust Belt might struggle to grow cleantech jobs.

Electric car industry is going global, quickly!
Now that the US election is over, the tone of conversations could change significantly to reflect more pragmatic policies. One policy vision that could be destroyed is the notion of ‘energy independence’ via electric cars. This rhetoric could fade quickly as it becomes more clear that both the auto and energy industries are very global, and will likely continue to become more globally integrated in the post-combustion era.

We have featured dozens of stories of the globalization of the electric vehicle industry including Warren Buffets equity stake in Chinese energy storage company BYD, Korea’s push into energy storage manufacturing with General Motors, and Tata’s intention to sell electric cars inside Europe.

Energy Storage key to Accelerating Change
The key to electrifying the world’s transportation fleet is to advance and integrate energy storage systems around batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and capacitors.

Detroit’s future might depend on how the value chain unfolds around global energy storage systems. If Asia appears to be the lowest cost manufacturing hub for energy storage systems it could reinvent the world’s auto industry.

Image Credit Sludgegulper Flickr CC License

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