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Evolution of the Electric Vehicle (EV) Component Market

The electric vehicle (EV) market continues to attract investors and manufacturers around the world. Record U.S. sales in 2018, thanks in-part to the popularity of Tesla’s Model 3, started a race to see which automakers could design, assemble, and roll out their own electric vehicles the fastest.

Traditional automakers like Ford, GM, and Toyota have all pivoted to capitalize on EVs in a big way. And even more electric vehicle startups like Rivian, and Lucid Motors are betting their investments will pay off.

With the EV boom came a need for high-quality components that were, in some respects, more demanding and more specialized than those of their gas-powered counterparts. However, not every EV startup or traditional automaker wants to or can manufacture every single component that goes into their vehicle. Understandably, many EV companies partner with outside manufacturers to provide the components they need.

Manufacturers like AirBoss see the opportunity to adapt and fill a unique niche in this evolving supply chain. As a result, we’ve worked with industry-leading automakers to bring their EV innovations to life.

The EV Supply Chain Explained

The electric vehicle supply chain generally includes battery assembly, vehicle manufacturing, sales and service, and component recycling. The main difference from traditional automotive manufacturing is mining raw materials and assembling EV batteries, which occurs before a vehicle is manufactured.

Battery Assembly

There are a few different types of batteries that power electric vehicles, but the majority of EVs are powered by a lithium-ion battery. Regardless of the particular technology employed, all batteries for electric vehicles involve mining raw materials, battery cell manufacturing, and battery pack assembly before the EV battery is ready to go into a vehicle.

Vehicle Manufacture

he manufacture and assembly of electric vehicles is similar to that of traditional autos. EVs still need a chassis, a motor, windows, tires, and all the in-betweens. Plus, economists are predicting that electric vehicles will cost the same as traditional vehicles in the near future, so automakers are keen to adapt their manufacturing lines and supply chains.

This is where manufacturers like AirBoss enter the picture. As automakers require more specialized components for their electric vehicles, outsourcing to specialized manufacturers like AirBoss is a cost-effective alternative to manufacturing automotive components in-house.

Often, everything from molded plastic or rubber components to more complex, multi-piece assemblies are created and provided by third-party manufacturers. Manufacture and assembly of EVs spans the spectrum of the largest windshield to the smallest rubber bushing.

Sales and Service

After assembly, the vehicle is marketed and sold to consumers. Electric vehicles are used and marketed as commuter cars, public transportation alternatives, and even part of the supply chain as electric semi-trucks. Certain manufacturers are even proposing that electric vehicles could serve as a backup power supply for homes.

Component Recycling

Like traditional autos, many of the electric vehicle components and materials can be recycled and repurposed. From smelting metals to recycling plastics and rubbers, EVs can be broken down to their most basic elements to be used elsewhere. Even lithium is being recovered from recycled batteries, which can, in theory, go on to start the EV supply chain all over again.

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Providing Components for An Expanding EV Market

Accounting firm and market strategists PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are quick to point out that while electric vehicles are “radically simpler in mechanical terms,” they’re “much more complicated in other ways.”

And it’s true. Electric motors have fewer but more complex moving parts than combustion engines, and things like the chassis and internal components are similar to traditional autos’. This means that EV companies are unique because they need both specialized parts to support their new systems and traditional-but-customized components to support legacy systems.

That’s where AirBoss shines. Manufacturers like AirBoss work with EV companies to refine processes and create new components that support both legacy and modern innovations. We have adapted existing rubber compounds to withstand greater vibration and temperature tolerances, and have also created new custom parts specifically for certain electric vehicles. As the EV market expands, AirBoss continues to look for ways to innovate in this space and partner with industry-leading companies along the way.

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