Cost and the range which electric car able to travel are still the challenges of electric cars. Automakers currently are figuring out how to put the biggest capacity battery packs with the lowest price into their electric cars to make them more attractive to the customers. This raises a question of whether battery supplier will become the lead actors than the automakers themselves.
LG Chem is working together with General Motors to supply batteries to the upcoming 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV. This partnership gives opportunity for both companies to design other component parts such as drive motor to instrument cluster which some designed by GM while others designed in-house by LG Chem. This partnership is also one of reason of GM able to launch its 200-mile electric car by the end of this year. Bolt EV was shown as a concept car back in January 2015 in Detroit Auto Show and it is planned to go to mass production before this year end.
Panasonic, on the other hand, provides both cash and technical expertise for Tesla’s lithium-ion cell “Gigafactory” in Reno, Nevada. Apart from collaboration with Tesla, the company is also planning to enter China’s electric-car market through partnership with Dalian Levear Electric Company. As Chinese automakers normally rely heavily on foreign input, therefore, it is interesting on knowing how this collaboration will turn out in the future.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ CEO, Sergio Machrionne thought otherwise. He said in January that electric powertrains would lead carmakers to cede control of basic vehicle design to suppliers. Automakers should still control the internal combustion powertrains design of a car and a switch to electric powertrains would erase that. Battery suppliers should be able to sell battery cells and other components to new, non-traditional automakers.
Electric powertrains also make it easier for Apple to enter automotive industry.
Some other examples of companies which electric car automakers need to note of are Faraday Future, which trying to compete with Tesla, Dyson, a Bristish vacuum manufacturer as well as Samsung which is selling cars that are presently rebadged versions of Renault products under its own brand in its home market, Korea.